Little flourish as artists take a page from Tristram Shandy’s book

It was Corporal Trim, in The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, who illustrated what it was to be free by waving his stick in the air with a flourish.

The pattern it made is reproduced in the 18th century experimental novel by Laurence Sterne as a squiggle on the page. But at the timber framed Shandy Hall on the edge of the North York Moors, where Sterne lived and worked, and which is now a museum, it has taken on 100 new forms.

The curator, Patrick Wildgust, asked present-day creators to produce their own takes on the visual interventions with which Sterne peppered his nine volumes, for an exhibition, opening on Sunday, called The Flourish of Liberty. The works will later be sold in a blind auction.

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“I asked 103 artists and writers to do their ideas of liberty and freedom on a page the same size as Sterne’s,” Mr Wildgust said.

Patrick Wildgust Curator of Shandy Hall , Coxwold near Thirsk, reading a Tristram Shandy book in Shandy Hall , getting ready for their Candlelight Christmas openings.

The exercise follows a similar project a decade ago in which artists created their own version of a page in Sterne’s first volume, which was entirely black.

Shandy Hall is in the village of Coxwold, where Sterne was vicar for the eight years to his death in 1768.