The Small House - Art Installation by Richard Woods

Southwark Cathedral has commissioned a major art installation, entitled The Small House, by the artist Richard Woods

Richard’s work appears across the UK and at various sites globally. “The Small House is a simplified facsimile of a normal terraced house. It is a 2D cartoon depiction of a terraced house, the architecture of everyday. Standing at 7.5 metres tall and positioned directly in front of the magnificent Great Screen of Southwark Cathedral, The Small House aims to spark up a conversation with the transcendental architecture of the Cathedral. I see it as a meeting of the architecture of the everyday and the grandeur of the Gothic architecture that is something beyond the everyday,” said Richard.

The installation is generously supported by grants from Westhill Endowment and Frazer Trust.

The Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, said, “Ask a child to draw a house and they will probably draw something that is similar to the house that all of us have drawn.  Our images of a house are iconic.  But whilst we will draw such a house few of us live as comfortably, with a smoking chimney, a picket fence, outside space and roses round the door.  ‘The Small House’ invites us to think about our concept and fantasy of house and home and to ask the serious questions about why so many live in sub-standard housing or on the street.  Richard Woods’ ‘The Small House’ sits in the big house, the house of God, iconic in its own right – the abiding with us God, who opens the door of the divine house and invites us in to find a home.”

Opening times are 9am – 6pm daily. 

Saturday 6 August to Wednesday 31 August.

Admission is free.


The Artist

Richard Woods was born in Chester, England, in 1966 and graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, London in 1990, where he trained as a sculptor. Woods is well known for his architectural installations and re-surfacing of structures that propose an absurd twist on the cult of home improvement and DIY aesthetics. His works are characterised by cartoon-like decorative surfaces, bold patterns and vibrant colours.  

Woods most recently executed a 86,000 sq ft drawing of a house on the main lawn in a solo exhibition at Houghton Hall and completed a major architectural commission in South Korea for the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, designed an interior for the Comme des Garçons' flagship store in Osaka, orchestrated the mock Tudor overhaul of a private residence in New York and transformed the interior of Cary Grant's former Hollywood residence for its new owner, Jeffrey Deitch. In 2003, his re-paving of a cloistered courtyard was the centrepiece of The Henry Moore Foundation's exhibition at the 50th International Venice Biennale of Art.

Other recent exhibitions and projects include ‘Small , medium and Large , Grosvenor Gardens 2020 , Frieze Sculpture, London (2018, 2013); Chelsea Space, London (2017); Folkestone Triennial (2017); Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2016); Festival of Love, Southbank Centre, London (2015); Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff (2015); Albion Barn, Oxford (2015); Bloomberg Space, London (2012) and Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2009).

His works are held in major collections including the Saatchi Collection, London; Arts Council England, London; Victoria and Albert Museum; London; British Museum, London and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Richard Woods lives and works in London.

Instagram: richardwoodsstudio


Art Installations at Southwark Cathedral

The Art Installation at Southwark Cathedral is usually unveiled at the start of Lent, but because of the pandemic and continued uncertainty this Spring both artworks, please Believe These Days Will Pass and The Small House were pushed back to Summer dates for 2021 and 2022. Now in its 11th year, its purpose is to give people access points to the Cathedral, through an exploration of unconventional materials and mediums.

The intention is to bring new contemporary art to those who may not otherwise access it. The 2022 Art Installation aims to bring new audiences to the Cathedral and to make the Cathedral a more stimulating and interactive environment where visitors and members of the congregation can respond to a number of themes through engagement with the artwork.

Previous installations

2012 David Mach RA - Die Harder
2013 Nic Fiddian Green - Christ Rests
2014 Angela Wright – 40 Days / Edmund de Waal - another hour
2015 Angela Glajcar - Within the Light
2016 Peter Burke - Earthworks
2017 Liz Harrison - corrodere
2018 Susie MacMurray - Doubt
2019 Alison Clark – Footfall

2020 Michelle Rumney – Pilgrimage

2021 Mark Titchner – Please Believe These Days Will Pass

2022 Richard Woods – The Small House