Once-in-a-lifetime chance to see historic paintings

9 July 2015

Visitors to the new Chorley Flower Show will get a unique opportunity to see paintings in the historic Astley Hall like they have never seen them before in a specially commissioned exhibition on 1 and 2 August.

The ‘Up close and personal: portraits from the Great Hall at eye level’ exhibition will be a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to view the paintings from a different angle before they return to their usual elevation after the conservation work at the Hall has been completed.

The pieces are major oil paintings showing historical figures with connections to Astley Hall, including the Charnock, Brooke and Townley-Parker families. The exhibition also includes portraits of King Charles I and Oliver Cromwell who have also had an influence on the Hall’s history.

Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “We’re starting to see a lot of interest in the flower show and one thing we’re keen to do is make the most of what we’ve got in the park to make it different to the other shows.

“We’ve got the fantastic grounds of the park, including the Walled Garden, and Astley Hall is one of the most well-known landmarks in the region.

“As you know it has been closed for conservation work this year but will re-open specially for the show and it will look amazing decked out in floral displays, and there will be a unique opportunity to see paintings that are usually elevated high in the rooms.”

Thousands of people are expected to flock to the inaugural Chorley Flower Show, organised by Chorley Council and sponsored by Botany Bay, which will feature a top line up of gardening and horticultural entertainment.

The two-day event, held on 1 and 2 August in Astley Park, will include:

  • The Grand Marquee featuring gold-medal winning entrants from some of the country’s biggest shows
  • A chance to see Chorley’s award-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show exhibit ‘The Evaders’ Garden’, which will be unveiled to the public at the show
  •  Meet celebrity gardeners David Domoney and Bob Flowerdew who will be answering your questions in the gardening theatre
  • Horticultural trade stands offering the best quality in garden products
  • An amateur marquee incorporating flower and pot plant classes and floral art
  • Enjoy a picnic on the beautiful lawns with plenty of entertainment throughout the day including a Victorian fairground and children’s entertainment stage

“When we held the Astley Illuminated event last year we attracted over 4,000 visitors because it was an opportunity to see the Hall in a different light,” said Councillor Bradley.

“The fact that we’ve got this one-off exhibition and the opportunity to see the Hall decorated in floral displays is a great addition to the show and will be something that you can’t see anywhere else. For those interested in the arts and culture we will also have a special ‘blooming’ display in the Astley Farmhouse gallery.

“Tickets are now starting to sell so I’d urge people to get theirs in advance so they don’t miss out – as it’s our first show we are keeping the admission fees lower than other shows making it a great opportunity for people in the region to see some of the best exhibitors in the country and the unveiling of our award-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden.”

Tickets are now on sale priced £4 adults, £2 children and £10 for a family ticket – you can buy them online now at chorley.gov.uk and wristbands will be available in Chorley Council’s Union Street offices, Malcolm’s Musicland, on Chapel Street, Café Ambio, in Asltey Park, and Botany Bay from Monday 13 July.


Pic caption: Preparation work taking place to set up the new ‘Up Close and Personal’ exhibition.

For further information, contact Communications Manager Andrew Daniels on 01257 515265.

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