Bridgnorth’s unique Dracup’s Cottage will host an art exhibition of the former owner’s work

Karolina Harte and husband Jason bought Dracup’s Cottage in 2019

The chalet opened to guests in April 2021 after owners Karolina and Jason Harte purchased the Railway Street property in 2019.

Mr Dracup, who moved into the house in the 1980s, spent years excavating a sandstone cave at the rear of the property and integrating it into the main building.

The rest of the house is filled with her unique artwork and designs, her spirit being felt in every room, Karolina said.

Karolina Harte, owner of Dracup’s Cottage, in the house’s unusual sandstone cave

The couple worked with Anthony’s son, Dennis Dracup, last year to put the finishing touches on the property and Dennis is now returning to help the couple mount an exhibition of his late father’s work.

“We actually thought about having an exhibition like this from the start, but it was just a passing idea,” Karolina said.

“One of my guests actually left us a comment saying if you ever organize anything about Anthony Dracup’s work, I’d love to know.

“It was the push I needed to organize this. People are obviously interested in Anthony and his work in this house.”

Dennis Dracup, spending time painting some of his father, artist Antony Dracup’s Old House, at Dracup Cottage

As well as leaving his creative mark on every house he lived in, Anthony Dracup also used his time to paint scenes from the areas where he lived, including Bridgnorth and other parts of Shropshire.

This work will be on display when the chalet is turned into a free gallery in April, when the couple will also raise money for the mental health charity Mind.

“Anthony generally left a mark on every house he lived in,” Karolina added.

“But he was also a very passionate painter and used to paint landscapes and landscapes of whatever area he lived in.

Karolina and Jason Harte with their son Joseph at Dracup’s Cottage

“This exhibition will focus primarily on his paintings from his time in Bridgnorth and Shropshire and will be presented by Dennis, Anthony’s son, and there will be prints available to purchase.

“The cottage itself is quite well known in Bridgnorth as many people have heard of the ‘house with the cave’ but may not have visited it so this will be a great opportunity for them.

“A lot of people don’t realize he was an artist either and they want to know more, what this exhibit can do. We want it to be a big event for the local community.”

Despite the pandemic and the restrictions of the past year, Karolina and Jason have passed the first 12 months successfully.

Karolina Harte, owner of Dracup’s Cottage, in the house’s unusual sandstone cave

The appeal of quirky and unique self-catering accommodation, and recently advertising on larger sites like Airbnb and Booking.com, has helped boost the business.

“For a first year under these circumstances, we have been very busy,” Karolina said. “The start, when we opened in May, was completely dead, with people who weren’t sure about traveling, I think.

“It really took off a few months later and we had pretty much non-stop guests. The first guest came to stay in April 2021 and the guests have generally been a bit mixed.

“Our very first guests were from Telford, the wife was a professor of interior design at Telford College. They really wanted to see it. Since then we’ve had quite a few interior designers come to stay, as well as architects, but for most people come because it’s different and unusual.”

The exhibition will take place from 22nd to 28th April, more details will soon be available on dracupscottage.co.uk

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