The history of Maiden Bridge Art Study Centre

Many artists have a dream to control their own environment but when David and Hannah Davies discovered a traditional farmstead located high in the beautiful Bowland Fells with extensive views over the Lune Valley, the famous Three Peaks and the distant Lakeland Mountains, they knew that they could make this vision a reality. And so began the story of Maiden Bridge...

Here on this ancient site ( ‘mai dunn’ is Celtic for ‘great hill’ ) David and Hannah Davies have created their own stronghold, not only in their physical development of the buildings and surrounding landscape but also in a partnership project which has created both a unique exhibition space and a multi-faceted business promoting the arts and design.

Prior to this project, David’s background as a product designer/artist and Hannah’s international success as a weaver and textile designer had enabled the couple to build up a successful consultancy in product and interior design. However, an increasing number of clients in the North of England encouraged them to seek a new location for their business. When they discovered Maiden Bridge in 1988 they instantly realised its potential for development. Although the main house had been sympathetically retained, the opportunity to renovate two additional barns and a cottage offered exciting possibilities. Together the couple set about restoring the collection of buildings around the cobbled courtyard, systematically developing their own living/work spaces, exhibition areas and also the surrounding four acres of land.

Living and working together from home meant the couple had to be very clear about their priorities. For example, Hannah’s Scandinavian background meant that conservation of heat was a key consideration. Accordingly, floors were insulated and all the external doorways benefit from additional secondary glazed doors. David started his career as a designer of lighting and so he has ensured that as much natural light as possible filters through the buildings. Particularly charming touches have been the addition of two large double-glazed doors forming the entrance lobby and the glazing of the numerous barn air vents.

The couple share a wonderfully light and spacious studio which extends seamlessly towards the outside space of the sculpture garden and tree conservation area beyond it. The adjoining room, one of the former barns which opened up the main living area of the house, is effectively the couple’s exhibition space for their own eclectic collection of art and artefacts. This includes favourite examples of David’s paintings and Hannah’s textiles and a specially commissioned cabinet to house an amazing and renowned collection of pebbles. But to argue that this interior is a feast for the eye and complements the buildings would detract from its integrity. More importantly, it is a statement offering an insight into the vision of this unique couple - to make accessible to everyone the highest standards in art and design, weather in fine art or in beautiful, well designed objects for everyday use.

Text by Pauline Ashton.

News


The Maiden Bridge Gallery 2017 Exhibition

Sat 20th May 2017 continuing every Saturday and Sunday including 30th July, 11am - 5pm A spectacular exhibition featuring the best of northern British artists plus award winning Scandinavian artists.

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The Maiden Bridge Gallery 2016 Exhibition

Sat 4th June 2016 continuing every Saturday and Sunday including 31st July, 11am - 5pm A spectacular exhibition featuring the best of northern British artists plus award winning Scandinavian artists.

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Hannah Smeds-Davies awarded silver medal from TAITO

Hannah Smeds-Davies has been awarded a silver medal and certificate from TAITO, Finland’s design and arts organisation for her lifetime contribution to textile design and art.

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