Nicholas de Rothschild, President of Exbury Gardens, was our extremely amiable and talented host at the Palais des Vaches, Exbury. The old cow shed is now the home of a studio and gallery, which is where ex-Vietnamese boat person Long Ly works.

He was discovered whilst he was working in a Blackfied pub (on the edge of the New Forest) as a chef - and displayed in that pub were two of his large sculptures. These sculptures were constructed from bits and pieces that could be anything from nuts and bolts to old hand bells, spoons, bits of bikes, cars, your old school cups, gravy boat, tin trays - or anything which happens to trigger Long Ly’s creative imagination.

The pub is the President’s local, and he admired the intriguing sculptures while chatting over the bar to the publican. He recognised the immense talent of this unusual sculptor and offered Long Ly a studio at Exbury.

Ten members of Quester 1 were intrigued, delighted and open mouthed by the vastness of the collection created from absurd and unwanted bits and pieces. We were on a private visit and both the benefactor and artist talked, explained and showed us how these amazing sculptures were created.

Long Ly’s imagination would turn a piece of “junk” perhaps into the rear end of a creature then spark off further ideas, and part of a sculpture would be started. That movement might in turn lead to thoughts of creating another section of a different sculptured body. The tactile response to various artefacts appears to stimulate his imagination, resulting in yet another bizarre but fascination sculpture.

The gallery also contains the works of other artists including Caroline and Nicholas de Rothschild and will be open during Hampshire Open Studios Week. 18 – 27th August.

Art work at Exbury
Art work by Long Ly at Exbury


Anne Bristow