Dorset artists on what they love about Durlston

PUBLISHED: 15:55 07 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:55 07 May 2014

Frances Hatch sketching outdoors on the Dorset coast

Frances Hatch sketching outdoors on the Dorset coast


A cliff-top castle on the Jurassic Coast near Swanage provides a wonderfully dramatic backdrop for two artists in residence during this year’s Dorset Art Weeks

Situated at the eastern end of the world famous Jurassic Coast, Durlston Castle not only offers fabulous panoramic views of the sea and coastline but also a wonderful exhibition space in the Fine Family Foundation Gallery, where there will be two artists in residency during this year’s Dorset Art Weeks.

The exhibition space and the residency represent two important strands of Dorset Visual Arts’ broader ambitions for the future: finding new ways to bring artists and audiences together in a rural context where there is a lack of major public galleries; and secondly developing opportunities for talented artists at the launch of their careers.

One of the two artists working ‘live’ in the gallery to produce new work is Robin Mackenzie, winner of last year’s Dorset Visual Arts prize awarded to a graduate of Arts University Bournemouth. The other artist is Frances Hatch, well known locally, Frances is now building a national reputation for her work. Also showing their work at Durlston during Dorset Art Weeks is designer maker Caroline Parrott and silver jewellery maker Wendy Nutt.

Frances Hatch

Known for her work in the open air, Frances regularly working in extremes of weather and increasingly making work from pigments made of the immediate terrain – essentially mud! In the last ten years Frances has worked in Antarctica and north of the Arctic Circle. However her most recent body of work has been based on an intense study of South Beach, near Studland. Here, her studio was the old, unheated coastguard lookout hut which she rented for the winter months. Innovations in her work were developed using a bursary award to learn on-site and in museums from geologists and material conservators. Understanding what happens to the landscape through time has added a degree of scientific knowledge to her highly creative inquisitive and reflective spirit. Excitement about the place she finds herself in almost always results in very vigorous, physical works driven by a desire to get to know it intimately and get under its skin. See more of her work at

Robin Mackenzie

As a young, skilled printmaker Robin is committed to working in the traditions of wood engraving and linocut. Robin was recently commissioned to make site-specific prints for the Print Room in Bournemouth. His masterly fine drawing skills allied to a commitment to printmaking since he was a boy have resulted in an extensive portfolio of intricate works celebrating traditional folk songs and tales from Britain and America, as well as Dorset landscapes. Watch this space, Robin is going places! See more of Robin’s work at


Robin and Frances are each running a family and an adult workshop at Durlston Castle during Dorset Art Weeks. For details see and to disover the story behind Dorset Art Weeks phenomenal success click here.


Durlston Castle Exhibition and Artists in Residence

When: 24 May - 8 June (Open daily 10am – 5pm)

Where: Durlston Castle, Durlston Country Park, Lighthouse Road, Swanage, BH19 2JL

More details:


Humphries Kirk Champions of Dorset Art Weeks

Solicitors firm Humphries Kirk LLP has been sponsoring artists in Dorset since 2006. Their consistent support has been a huge benefit to Dorset Visual Arts and has allowed Dorset Arts Weeks to broaden its vision, develop their ambitions and support more artists.

This year Humphries Kirk is focusing their support on the Durlston Castle exhibition. James Selby Bennett, Senior Partner at Humphries Kirk said: “We are thrilled to sponsor Dorset Arts Week’s Durlston exhibition and hope that you visit many of the wonderful and talented artists who will exhibit their work there. Spending time chatting to the artists and perusing their work is only half the fun. Discovering the delights of the Dorset countryside is a delectable whole.”

Humphries Kirk LLP provides legal expertise to private and commercial clients, with offices in Parkstone, Poole, Bournemouth, Dorchester, Crewkerne, Swanage and Wareham. For further information please visit


What is Dorset Visual Arts?

Dorset Visual Arts (DVA) is a membership organisation and, as well as organising Dorset Art Weeks, it aims to develop an increasing variety of opportunities for artists, designers and makers working across the spectrum of the visual arts. In the last two years it has initiated Dorset Art Trails and the Dorset Art Fair. Currently, thirty members of DVA are involved in a project entitled ‘Interrogating Landscapes’ a project that contributes to the Dorset Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s 2014 programme, ‘Drawing Inspiration’. For more information visit

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