A HORSE once again occupies the splendid 18th Century stables of a Northumberland stately home.
And the horse now in residence at the National Trust’s Seaton Delaval Hall has a history.
The rocking horse was carved earlier this year by sculptor Tom Newstead, from nearby Seaton Sluice, as the county’s gift to Prince William and bride-to-be Kate Middleton.
It was politely declined but no matter. It is now one of the many pieces from a decade of work by Tom in what is his first major exhibition.
The display in the hall’s stables is underpinned by a maritime and mining theme – both key influences in 65-year-old Tom’s life.
His great grandfather was a master mariner from Seaton Sluice and his father was a miner at Hartley pit near Seaton Delaval.
Tom started his working life as an apprentice at a boat building business in Wallsend, followed by a spell at Swan Hunter’s shipyard.
There followed 11 years as a ship’s carpenter in the merchant navy and time as an antiques restorer before his return to his Seaton Sluice birthplace and life as a full-time artist.
Tom, who also teaches yoga, sources much of his wood from the forest floor and the natural shape often provides inspiration.
The exhibition includes carved wooden miner’s clothing and equipment, shoes ranging from football boots to high heels and a wooden loaf and bread slices.