Madeleine Bessborough is the director of The New Art Centre in Wiltshire. She founded the original gallery in 1958 in London’s Sloane Street. The arrival of an art gallery made her a complete newcomer on a predominately domestic street with butchers and flower shops. Nevertheless her gallery was highly successful giving the likes of Andrew Logan and Derek Jarman their first shows in the 60s. The gallery was active until the early 90s, when due to gentrification she relocated to the country side, picking Roche Court as a location close to her country home. The expansion in space combined with her lifelong interest in sculpture gave way to creation of a sculpture garden which since then has turned into one the most successful and interesting sculpture parks in the United Kingdom, representing various Artist Estates including Barbara Hepworth. An educational program that was launched in 2001 around the sculpture park has given rise to the creation of The Roche Court Educational Trust, which opens up various opportunities to help students and teachers to experience contemporary sculpture first-hand, and the international ARTiculation competition, speaking about art for sixth-formers, held at venues such as The National Gallery and Cambridge University in the UK, and abroad at the Venice Biennale and Moscow.
For more than half a century Madeleine has kept true to herself, not being comprised by either limited resources, her gender or the current art establishment. Her success as an art figure can be partly explained by her life-long drive to show artists and art that personally interests her and not listen to what is currently en vogue.