Second honour for man of metal at Thirsk Hall

The legacy of the artist who helped found the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is being harnessed for the county’s latest outdoor exhibition space.

Thirsk Hall and Sculpture Park, a commercial venture covering 20 acres of parkland and woodland near the centre of the town, will build its inaugural exhibition around the monumental sculptures of Michael Lyons, who died two years ago.

In the 1970s, he was one of the leading steel sculptors of his generation, and his architectural forms commanded attention against all the landscapes in which they were set.

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He set up home and studio at Cawood, near Selby, and with Peter Murray, a lecturer at Bretton Hall College, created what would become the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Zillah Bell looks at the exhibition of Michael Lyons' monumental sculptures at Thirsk Hall & Sculpture Park. Picture Tony Johnson

The four-month exhibition of some of his larger pieces will form the opening attraction of the new site in Thirsk when it opens on May 15. The park will also host exhibitions by artists Emily Young, Austin Wright, Gerald Laing, Geoffrey Clarke and Richard Hudson in its first year, and a display of etchings of Thirsk Hall and the surrounding grounds, by the Leeds-born printmaker Norman Ackroyd.

Willoughby Gerrish, the London art dealership behind the Thirsk venture, announced last year that it would represent the estate of Mr Lyons, whose sculpture Heights of David was a centrepiece at the first exhibition in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 1977.