On 26th July we will start taking down works by 12 artists and makers from the Unravelled group that have been displayed at Preston Manor for the past three months. Since it began with the Open House festival in May, the installation has brought new life, and new visitors, to the house. The pieces on show were directly inspired by the Manor and have encouraged us to see our workplace in a new light.
The delight of Unravelling the Manor House is in how well many of the pieces blend in with the huge collection of antique treasures amassed by the family over the long years of their ownership. Some of the works give a contemporary twist on events, in other cases they are even a little bit humorous, and all of them are thoughtful. I particularly enjoy how some of the artists have given an imagined voice to people who lived and worked at Preston all those years ago.
Preston Manor is a breathtakingly atmospheric house, recreating how an upper class family and their servants would have lived and worked in the early years of the 20th century. When Charles and Ellen Thomas-Stanford, a former Mayor and Mayoress who were engaged in a variety of charitable causes, passed away in 1932 they left their home and its contents to Brighton Corporation for local people to visit.
My favourite pieces in the exhibition are Gavin Fry’s linen shirt with a monkey livery inspired by one of the servants and the publication of The Wizard of Oz, Ingrid Plum’s projection which gives an imagined insight into Ellen Stanford, and Matt Smith’s bulldog conversation piece. But don’t just take my word for it. You’ve got until 25th July to make up your own mind. We’d love to welcome you.
Read a recent review of the installation in the July/August edition of Crafts Magazine
Preston Manor is open Tuesday–Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 2–5pm.
Admission fee payable (reduced for Brighton & Hove residents)
Laura Waters (Curator – Collections Projects)[slideshow]