Lanacre Barn Gallery, Lanacre, Withypool. Somerset TA24 7SD
A Gallery for Exmoor
This is the story of how a derelict barn, high up on the Exmoor Hills, overlooking the Barle Valley, has been transformed into a celebration of the beauty of Exmoor.
This barn forms part of Lanacre Farm, which is nestled into the side of the hill above the ancient monument of Landacre Bridge. It is known by many as one of the most beautiful areas within the Exmoor National Park, and has been home to Jo Minoprio for more than 40 years.
Sheep, cattle and native ponies graze up on the moor, salmon spawn in the river below while ravens and buzzards swirl overhead. This landscape works its way into a person’s soul, and from the moment she arrived aged 17, Jo fell in love with Exmoor. She fell in love with the empty openness, the trees, the rivers, the peace and especially the beech hedges with their sculptural forms and distinctive silhouettes.
Jo has painted all her life. She has painted murals, houses, ceramics and canvasses with just about every medium you could name and like many other artists on Exmoor she has been inspired to paint by the stunning landscape surrounding her, primarily known for her simple representation of the iconic beech hedge.
“We think of our Exmoor landscape as being natural and wild when actually the miles of hedgerows have been unintentionally modelled by man through being cut, laid, trimmed or simply left over the years, forming quite exquisite sculptures of our time” Jo Minoprio
It wasn’t long before Jo realised that there was a need to bring together artists who share a passion for Exmoor, so they could display their work and celebrate the beauty of the area. And where better to do this than right in the heart of the moor, in an old barn which has been central to rural life for many generations?
In 2010, Jo started to breathe new life into Lanacre Barn. She carefully restored the exterior, and designed a stunning gallery space inside. Her aim was to create a centre for the growing community of artists, locals and visitors who share a passion for the art that is inspired by Exmoor. She has created a friendly and welcoming venue for every type of visitor. Right in the midst of the moor it provides a perfect location for a day trip with pubs, tea rooms and beautiful dog walks all within 10 minutes drive.
Lanacre Barn is now in its 8th year of exhibitions, attracting around 600 people during Somerset Art Week Festival.
All paintings and photographs by Jo Minoprio