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The White Lady of Toddington, aka 'The White Cathedral of the Cotswolds', aka 'The White Cathedral of the Vale' (of Evesham) (see its fuller history in the Guest article here), is one of artist Damien Hirst's most audacious and conceptually accomplished works. Toddington's early Victorian manor is wrapped in white shrouding which is visible for miles across the flat Evesham plain, and from the surrounding hills.

As a monumental environmental piece, the White Lady is designed to interact with the changing of the seasons and the cycle of night and day to spring new surprises each time it's seen. If you can only see it once, choose a bright summer's day, when it is laid out against the splendid green lawns and manicured trees of the Toddington Estate; or come upon it by surprise at clear dawn when it catches and plays with the colours of a new day being born.

But if you can come more than once, make one visit in high summer, when the trees are in bloom and the white towers are hidden; come again in late autumn or deep winter, when the trees have been stripped back to their skeletal frames and the White Lady is revealed gloriously triumphant through the lace of their branchings; and visit  again in full Spring, when the flowers and buds unfold and Nature hides the Lady in another veil for another year; like an immense sundial of the seasons, marking the passage of time.

Best of course, as with all works of great art, is to encounter it afresh each day, at different times of the day, in different weathers: to be startled, and soothed, and drawn deeper into the underlying conversation of the Lady with Time, with Nature, and the fundamentals of human being.



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