top of page
Horse Power 
Somerset Rural Life Museum

Horse Power Installation

Somerset Rural Life Museum

17 September – 30 October 2022

Artist and metalworker Jacky Oliver’s largest installation to date is inspired by the history of the horse in agriculture. 


Blinkers is a sculptural installation that draws on a range of traditional metalwork techniques and processes, drawing on research into collections held by Somerset Rural Life Museum and Somerset Archives. Jacky wants Blinkers to encourage reflection about the many ways in which horses have been part of rural life in the county. As Jacky’s research revealed, horses were important not just for their role in Somerset farming. Harnessing the power of these amazing animals also gave rise to many traditional craft skills, including those of the farrier, the blacksmith, the wheelwright and the saddle maker.

She was drawn to the form of blinkers, both because of the simplicity of their geometric shapes, and the part they play in preventing the horse from being distracted, allowing it to focus on the task in hand. The linear-steel structure that Jacky is creating will be complemented by leatherwork crafted by Jessie White. The use of shadows suggests the idea of something that is no longer there – echoing a lost memory.

As well as the final outcome of Jacky’s commission, the displays in the Abbey Barn include maquettes that were part of her creative journey and which were inspired by different aspects of the history of horses in Somerset.

The large-scale kinetic artwork will go on display as part of a new exhibition, Horse Power, opening at Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury from 17 September. The exhibition features a rich display of paintings, photographs, museum objects and oral histories to tell the story of how horses helped shape the rural landscape of the county. Alongside the exhibition Jacky will be delivering two workshops where participants can learn more working with metal.

Visitors will be able to see the installation within the remarkable surrounds of the museum’s 14th century Abbey Barn – one the west country’s finest building. Jacky was commissioned to create the piece by Somerset Art Works as part of Somerset Arts Week which runs 24 September to 9 October and this year explores the theme of Sanctuary.



Horse Power exhibition: 17 September – 7 January

Horse Power Installation: 17 September – 30 October 

Workshops with Jacky Oliver: Cuttlefish Casting with Pewter 1 Oct and Wire Sculpture 2 Oct 


VENUE: Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury BA6 8DB.



bottom of page