Lucy + Jorge Orta: Gazing Ball 2018

Gazing Ball was originally commissioned for The National Trust’s Folly! programme, in which artists create responses to re-imagine lost follies at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, North Yorkshire.

Particularly fashionable in eighteenth-century estates, follies were decorative talking points along walks, acting as a place for people to pause, take in views or to sit and converse. Gazing Ball now sits within the Bretton Estate, another landscape designed in the eighteenth century and which has a number of existing follies, and also some that have been lost over time.

Framing the views beyond, Gazing Ball has differently shaped geometric windows within its open structure that offer varied outlooks onto the landscape, observed from a central seat, and relates to the historic trend for emphasising special or far-reaching vistas. Cradled at the top, and providing another way of seeing, is a large mirrored sphere that reflects and distorts the lake and surroundings.