Guggleton was purchased, converted and opened in December 1995 by Isabel de Pelet BEM, a well-known figure in Dorset circles and particularly known for her promotion of artists in Dorset, especially the young and up-and-coming. Isabel returned to her childhood love of art after her children had fled the nest. She took a foundation course at Yeovil College, requiring she take related A-levels and then went onto Bristol University of Wessex where she graduated with Honours (Art & Social Context). In December 2014, Isabel received a BEM for her services to the arts.
Guggleton’s principal gallery had been a carthorse stable and the smaller studios were lean-to-calf stalls. Whilst the buildings were converted by Isabel, she made sure that they, and the yard, were sympathetically modernised and still retain their recognisable features, so that locals could remember when/where the herd of cows came up Station Road for milking twice a day.
Over the last year the building that housed the milking parlour has been turned into a further, larger, gallery space; with scope to take works on a bigger scale.
Guggleton was started to allow newly graduated artists to have studio space for working, supported with guidance and help.
Isabel believes “that artists working alongside and within an active community create a positive way…and…enrich and stimulate all those who involve themselves”.
Isabel has tried to involve the village and local people of all ages with special rates available for Stalbridge children.
Since its inception, Guggleton has undertaken many projects but principally its courses and classes focus on painting, drawing, printmaking, stone carving, sculpting. Others are listed in Workshops & Talks.
Guggleton has received interest from all over the UK and overseas. Isabel is on the Arts Committee of the Royal Bath & West Show – furthering her belief to link artists to their community.