A new arts venue for Dorset is on its way after the restoration of a Grade 1 listed building in Sherborne.

Sherborne House in Newland will be reopening its doors as The Sherborne after being brought back to life through a meticulous and sensitive restoration project, which is close to completion.

The restoration has received guidance from Historic England and other conservation and heritage groups, as well as support from the Friends of Sherborne House.

The project made possible by The Cannon Foundation will see a regularly changing visual arts programme in the house and grounds, as well as a restaurant, bar, retail and workspaces. 

Dorset Visual Arts is the chosen lead arts partner and has initiated a programme of high profile exhibitions to run through 2024 featuring the best of Dorset artists and makers.

Paul Newman, creative director for Dorset Visual Arts, said: “Dorset Visual Arts is thrilled to be the lead arts partner for The Sherborne, and at the heart of a thriving Wessex arts scene.

"This provides a welcome platform for Dorset artists and makers, with a unique model for exhibiting and displaying work, alongside other cultural activity on site.

"Dorset’s talented community of creatives will be at the heart of the cultural programme here, with a carefully curated range of exhibitions celebrating and championing contemporary practice in the arts and providing a wealth of experiences for inquisitive audiences.

"As the programme builds, there will be education and workshop activity as well as talks, films, tours and other events to excite and engage - watch this space.”

The Grade 1 listed Georgian building is home to the nationally-important Thornhill Mural, which has also been restored.

The work has seen the construction of a brand new Pavilion, which will host a variety of events, including film screenings.

The terraced grounds and courtyard areas will feature sculptures as well as outdoor performances.

New and recent works by south west artist Paul Jones will form the first exhibition from March 1 until April 6.

Ancient sites, landscape and coastlines from Dorset have been the source material for much of his work.

This inaugural exhibition is only viewable by booking limited spaces on one hour tours on Fridays and Saturdays from March 1 to April 6, ahead of a public launch and a new exhibition curated by Amanda Wallwork in late April.

It will give visitors an opportunity to see the house as the restoration nears completion and to see the Thornhill Mural and hear more details about the forthcoming programme.