Anouk Mercier’s new artwork Caprice is now installed and on view to public at National Trust’s Stourhead.

Caprice is the culmination of a yearlong commission for Trust New Arts which has seen Anouk deliver a programme of engagement including artist residencies, talks and events as well as this artwork in response to Stourhead’s Art Collection and Spirit of Place.

Caprice’s full title is ‘Caprice featuring Temples, Pantheons, Pyramids, Columns, and Other Architectural Fragments arranged around a Viridian Lake (After the Stourhead Collection)’ . The title refers to the painting genre of the Capriccio, made popular in the mid 17th century Rome, which was used to describe an architectural fantasy; combining architectural elements and archaeological ruins in fictional and often fantastical arrangements, interspaced with figures. Wealthy landed gentry commonly collected capriccios during Grand Tours and the Hoares of Stourhead were no exception to this fashion; their collection features several fine examples.

To realise this artwork Anouk individually hand printed reproductions of 47 capriccios and other landscape paintings, prints and drawings from Stourhead’s collection. She then reassembled hundreds of fragments of these digitally, combining them with pastel-coloured clouds and surreal horizons to create a fictional, ‘collaged’ mise-en-scene. This was finally reprinted onto fabric using a combination of traditional and contemporary printing techniques, referencing both tapestries and theatre backdrops.

Although clearly influenced by Romanticism, the scene presented deliberately escapes definition; purposefully disrupting obvious references to the past and complacent idylls by hinting at sci-fi, futuristic propositions. Heroic monuments are contrasted with derelict pillars and elements of decay, symbols of the tension erupting from these subtle contradictions. Contradictions echoed by the multiple, and at times conflicting, histories and architectural styles inherent to the design of the garden at Stourhead.

Caprice, which in French means whim/ sudden will, ultimately celebrates the potential for Art and Landscape Design to influence and shape one another. It acknowledges the parallels existing between Landscape Designer, Gardener and Artist; a common desire to shape and curate a fictional scene, offering up a number of possible narratives and ‘journeys’ to the viewer. It honours the folly and determination involved in doing so.

We would love to hear what you think about the artwork – so do tag us in posts or drop us a line at

@AntlersGallery // @Anouk_Mercier // @ntstourhead

1 September – 25 November 2018

Temple of Flora
Stourhead Estate
BA12 6QD

National Trust admission prices apply

Free entry on 6 October 2018 for Big Draw.

Photo © Max McClure // @maxmcclure


Installation Photos