Historic Houses announces 2021 art competition winner, Clare Charnley.


Clare Charnley, Fingernails, 2021.

Congratulations to Clare Charnley, the winner of Historic Houses’ 2021 Summer Art Competition, for her work, ‘Fingernails’. Our Co-Director Eleanor Wang sat on the panel of judges, who discussed each artwork submitted in depth before coming to a unanimous decision on a winner.


Made in response to  Temple Newsam House, Leeds, the work draws on themes of labour and the ongoing role of physical making in historic houses.

Here’s what our Co-Director Eleanor Wang thought about Clare’s work:


“When I first saw this piece by Clare Charnley I was a bit taken aback, thinking they were perhaps real nails. The grittiness and visceral reaction it prompts is probably one of the main reasons I chose it. It goes without saying that a historic house takes a lot of looking after, both in terms of general maintenance, as well as the narrative it presents to visitors. I think this thoughtful piece of painting and sculpture encompasses this and encourages us to think about all the work that happens behind the scenes, essential to keeping a historic house functioning. The unusual choices of materials evoke stories of labour and everydayness. I love how this piece, although not a stereotypically ‘beautiful’ render of a historic house and its gardens, paints it own picture of the people and actions that support the beauty.”


Read more about the artwork and what the rest of the panel had to say here