A Brighouse student has had his work selected to go on display among a unique plant collection in North Yorkshire

Sir John and Lady Ropner with Brighouse student Nick Hartley (second from right)
Sir John and Lady Ropner with Brighouse student Nick Hartley (second from right)

BRIGHOUSE furniture-making student Nick Hartley has been offered a unique opportunity to display his work at Thorp Perrow Arboretum in North Yorkshire.

Nick, aged 31, was one of four students from Leeds College of Art who won art commissions as part of their course. They showed their work to Sir and Lady Ropner, owners of Thorp Perrow near Bedale, at the college in January and their designs will be installed among the five national plant collections at the arboretum on April 1, in time for the Easter holidays.

The other students are Jason Winder from Bradford, Craig Brown from Whitley Bay and Ollie Tonks from Staffordshire.

The college is working in partnership with Thorp Perrow for a second year, offering students on the furniture-making course a great opportunity to have their work shown in public.

Nick created a piece called Wild Creatures, a carved playbox for the children’s playground which includes a scripted poem. He said: “The playbox is in the style of an animal carrier crate. Children love big animals and this allows them to hide, to play and to let their imaginations run riot.”

Lecturer Richard Jones said: “I have been taking students to Thorp Perrow for many years to ensure they learn about the materials they will be using in their natural form.

“Last year we placed the commissions from the college at various locations throughout the arboretum for the first time and they worked so successfully that another four students were commissioned this year.

“It is a great project for our students. They have had to adpt their ideas to the needs and requirements of the Ropner family and the spaces available in order to design a piece which can be a fully functional piece of art.”

The 85-acre arboretum and gardens is home to five national plant collections - walnut, ash, lime, laburnum and cotinus - as well as one of the finest private collections of trees and shrubs in the country.

Lady Ropner said: “We love working with Leeds College of Art as the students are extremely creative and passionate about their work. They put 100 per cent into the pieces they present to us and it’s a shame we can only choose four pieces. I am looking forward to welcoming the students to Thorp Perrow later this year.”