My art practice has always been influenced by the home and one’s experience of the nurturing, protective and yet restrictive boundaries that are inherently created from domesticity.
At Tatton Park I was given the freedom to investigate and respond to a new place; a family home on a much grander scale than any of my own experiences of the domestic environment. I was able to delve into the histories and the closed doors, roam from the hidden cellars to the dilapidated attics, from the old store cupboards to the converted offices – I was even permitted to stand on top of the mansion roof.
As one walks through the state apartments of the mansion one is almost always aware that there is an outside through the large windows. This external space is not the local community and the world at large, but a huge skirt of landscape that has been groomed and tilled, layered and shaped to the aesthetics of the occupants. The estate acts as a great buffer to the real outside world, like a wrapping of cotton wool. The parkland is a series of protective layers, just like the careful covering that goes on to conserve the precious artefacts within the mansion. I was particularly drawn to this process of covering furniture and objects by the staff with tailor-made shrouds to protect them from deterioration and harm, and which inevitably hides the beauty and finely crafted details of the artifacts.I have created a visual language that reflects on the nurturing and protecting, the hiding and restricting, the recording and the remembering.
“The natural situation of a place must direct how far the interference of art may properly be employed, and I consider it the business of my profession, not only to adapt those expedients which seem best suited to the situation, but to assign reasons for an opinion which ought not to be the mere effect of fashion, custom or caprice” Humphry Repton, 1791.
Ceramic plates. 2005
This series of plates surreptitiously smuggles the grandiose landscape of the Italianate Gardens indoors, offering the opportunity of escapism to an imaginary set of servants.
Cherry wood, marquetry, brass. 2005
This piece was conceived and handcrafted as a response to the collation and conservation of records and stories relating to the generations of people intertwined with the history of Tatton Park.
Row three and four photographs by Helen Jacobs
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