Vanbrugh Croquet

Small child holding a croquet mallet against an architectural croquet hoop
Grey, white and black architectural sculpture in a green landscape.

Colourful baroque architectural sculpture in an outdoor setting

Small child on their hands and knees looking through the doorway of an architectural sculpture


'Vanbrugh Croquet' is an architectural outdoor art installation inspired by Vanbrugh's architecture of Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland. The work was a commission for the North East Emerging Artists Prize that was exhibited in the grounds of National Trust Seaton Delaval Hall.

Vanbrugh Croquet is an outdoor game for all ages which is simple and fun to play. The game involves hitting wooden balls with a mallet through a series of architectural ‘hoops’ that are inspired by Sir John Vanbrugh’s Seaton Delaval Hall architectural models. Vanbrugh Croquet was located on the lawn where the South East wing of Seaton Delaval Hall stood before being destroyed by the great fire. The layout of the game recreated this lost architecture in a miniaturised and interactive artwork. The architectural artworks were constructed using digital fabrication from sustainable wood materials and finished using a colourful palette.

Vanbrugh Croquet proved to be a great success for public engagement and was re-exhibited at Seaton Delaval Hall as part of the National Trust's Summer of Play 2023 and will is due to be re-exhibited Summer of Play 2024.

The prize really builds on that rich historical tradition the Hall and its family have of supporting artists from a variety of disciplines, including painting, theatre and writing.  Seaton Delaval Hall became a place of drama, theatricality and extreme playfulness.  We want to continue to encourage that spirit and artistic expression in the region with the North East Emerging Artist Prize.

Emma Thomas, Seaton Delaval Hall General Manager

Image credits

VANBRUGH CROQUET, 2023, Cabinet of Curiosity Studio, outdoor art commission

Photos: The House of Hues Photography and Edmond Salter


Northumberland, UK
25 May - 11 June 2023, 24 July - 3 September 2023, July - September 2024