Normanby Hall Reception Desk Commission


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Reception Desk Commission – Normanby Hall

North Lincolnshire Museum Service is inviting expressions of interest from artists for a commission to produce a new reception desk for the entrance at Normanby Hall. Normanby Hall Museum and Country Park is located near the village of Burton-upon-Stather, 5 miles (8 km) north of Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.

The present Hall was built in the regency period between 1825–30 to the designs of Robert Smirke for Sir Robert Sheffield (1786–1862). The Hall tells the story of the Sheffield family who still own the estate and lived here from 1539 to the 1963.

The estate is now in the care of the North Lincolnshire Council and the Hall is set within a 350-acre (1.4 km²) country park, along with a restored working Victorian walled garden, a farming museum, duck ponds, a deer sanctuary, a fishing lake, a miniature railway and a stableyard.

In 2020 we are making changes to the entrance hall at Normanby Hall to make it more welcoming to visitors, improve the legibility, and to include more information about the Sheffield Family and the history of the Hall.
As part of this refurbishment, we would like to commission an artist to create a new desk for this area, which would respond to the regency architecture found in the entrance hall.


-To position a contemporary art at the heart of activity on the estate.
-To provide a contemporary response to the regency architecture
-To provide contemporary artists and makers an opportunity to create new work in a distinctive historic setting.
-To bring new audiences to the estate.
-To raise the profile of the estate as a cultural venue and visitor attraction.
-To provide opportunities to learn about the processes and methods employed by contemporary artists and makers, to audiences that would not normally engage with contemporary art,
-To work within the tradition of skilled artists, designers, architects, artisans, craftspeople and other workers contributing to the estate and the working life of those who work there.

This commission is funded by Arts Council England through the Humber Museums Partnership which is a National Portfolio Organisation.The commission The desk should be a response to the regency entrance hall. See below:

The desk can be made in any material, but must be constructed in such a way, and made of materials that will withstand staff working at it on a daily basis without it becoming damaged.The desk will provide workspace for one member of staff who will greet visitors as well as take bookings for weddings and other events as well as carry out other administrative duties while at this space.

It will need to be able to large enough so that it can house a computer including monitor keyboard and mouse, CCTV monitor and hard drive (size of large DVD player), two debit/credit card terminals, signing-in book, receipt printer and till drawer.

The artist-maker will need to consider where electrical equipment will be placed on the desk so to achieve the best management of electrical wires/plugs etc. All electrical connections will be made by North Lincolnshire Council.
We would prefer that the desk was designed in such a way so that the computer screen and CCTV monitor was hidden from public view but accessible for staff to view. There will need to be at least 3 lockable drawers to secure equipment and cash tins.

We also need an amount of storage space to include within the work area which could be incorporated in the desk or a separate cupboard behind the desk to store files/paperwork.

At least one part of the desk should have a desk height of circa 750mm – to provide optimum access for visitors who are in wheelchairs.

The artist-maker should consider Universal Design Guidelines, in particular around equitable use.

Application process:

Stage 1 – Artist-maker submissions

Artist-maker wishing to be considered for the commission should submit a short summary about their work, a CV giving information about other commissions/designs/furniture they have completed and up to 6 images of their previous work. They can also send links to access further information and images detailing their previous practice if they so wish.

Stage 2 – Design Stage

Up to four artist-makers will be offered a fee of £500 to produce a costed design for the commission.
Stage 2 artist-makers can present their design in any format but will need to make clear:
Material, size, construction methods, timetable for construction, and a robust budget, and any maintenance issues that we need to be aware of.

We would happily accept samples of materials and maquettes.

Stage 3 – Commission Stage

One artist-maker will be invited to make the desk and a detailed timetable will be agreed with them, but it is expected to be installed during 2020.


Stage 1 – Submission of work – 3rd JANUARY 2020
Stage 2 – Design Stage Deadline – 7th JANUARY – 3rd FEBRUARY 2020
Stage 3 – Commission stage – tbc 2020


Stage 2 selection fee: £500
Selected artist fee: Tbc (As part of the design stage we will require artists to put forward an appropriate budget to cover artist’s fee, production costs,  transport and installation of desk at Normanby hall).
Additional budget may be available for publicity and promotion of the commission, and in-kind services and facilities will be provided through discussion.

Click here for a full Commissioning Brief

Contact details:

For further information and queries please contact Lisa Moran, Lead Officer for Arts and Culture Tel: 01724 297259

Completed submissions should be sent to: Dominic Mason, Exhibitions Manager Tel: 01724 297070