Bridgnorth’s unique Dracup’s Cottage to host art exhibition of former owner’s work

By Charlotte BentleyBridgnorthAttractions Published: Jan 26, 2022

The former home of 60s artist Anthony Dracup in Bridgnorth, recently converted into accommodation as Dracup’s Cottage, will host some of the iconic artist’s works in a new exhibition.

Karolina Harte and her husband Jason bought Dracup's Cottage in 2019
Karolina Harte and her husband Jason bought Dracup’s Cottage in 2019 

The cottage first opened up to guests in April 2021 after owners Karolina and Jason Harte bought the Railway Street property in 2019.

Mr Dracup, who moved into the house in the 1980s, spent years carving out a sandstone cave at the back of the property and integrating it into the main building.

The rest of the house is filled with his artwork and unique designs, with his spirit being felt in every room, Karolina said.

Karolina Harte, owner of Dracup's Cottage, in the house's unusual sandstone cave
Karolina Harte, owner of Dracup’s Cottage, in the house’s unusual sandstone cave

The couple worked with Anthony’s son, Dennis Dracup, last year to put finishing touches to the property and Dennis is now returning to help the couple put on an exhibition of his late father’s work.

“We actually thought about hosting an exhibition like this from the beginning but it was just a passing thought,” Karolina said.

“One of my guests actually left a comment to us saying if you ever organise anything about Anthony Dracup’s work I would love to know about it.

“That was the push I needed to organise this. People are obviously interested in Anthony and his work in this house.”

Dennis Dracup, spending time painting some of his father's, artist Antony Dracup, old house, at Dracup Cottage
Dennis Dracup, spending time painting some of his father’s, artist Antony Dracup, old house, at Dracup Cottage

As well as leaving his creative mark on every house he lived in, Anthony Dracup also used his time to paint scenes of the areas he lived, including Bridgnorth and other areas of Shropshire.

This work will be on display when the cottage is turned into a free gallery in April, when the couple will also be raising money for the mental health charity Mind.

“Anthony generally left a mark on every house he lived in,” Karolina added.

“But he was also a very keen painter and used to paint landscapes and scenery from whichever area he lived in.

Karolina and Jason Harte with son Joseph at Dracup's Cottage
Karolina and Jason Harte with son Joseph at Dracup’s Cottage

“This exhibition will mainly focus on his paintings from his time in Bridgnorth and Shropshire and will be displayed by Dennis, Anthony’s son, and there will be some prints available to purchase.

“The cottage itself is quite well known in Bridgnorth as many people have heard of the ‘house with the cave’, but may have not visited, so this will be a great opportunity for them.

“Many also don’t realise that he was an artist and they want to learn more, which this exhibition will be able to do. We want it to be a big event for the local community.”

Despite the pandemic and restrictions over the past year, Karolina and Jason have had a successful first 12 months.

Karolina Harte, owner of Dracup's Cottage, in the house's unusual sandstone cave
Karolina Harte, owner of Dracup’s Cottage, in the house’s unusual sandstone cave

The attraction of the unusual and unique self-catering accommodation, and recently advertising on bigger sites like Airbnb and Booking.com, has helped boost the venture.

“For a first year in these circumstances we have been quite busy,” Karolina said. “The beginning, when we first opened in May, it was absolutely dead, with people unsure about travelling I think.

“It really took off a few months later though and we’ve pretty much had guests non-stop. The first guest came to stay in April 2021 and guests have generally been a bit of a mix.

“Our very first guests were from Telford, the woman was a teacher in interior design at Telford College. They really wanted to see it. Since then we have had quite a few interior design people coming to stay, as well as architects, but for the most part people come because it’s different and unusual.”

The exhibition will take place April 22-28, more details will be available soon on dracupscottage.co.uk

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