Friday, 23 October 2015

Elizabethan Embroidered Casket

I visited Newark Park again on Wednesday to gather photographs of the Tudor kitchen. My idea had been to produce site specific work by creating full scale thread drawings of Tudor cooking pots that would be suspended in the fire place.

Tudor Kitchen, Newark Park

Whilst I love the sense of history, stillness and life lived, I couldn't help but wonder if my work would become small and and not seen in the space shown. Also, the work would only be seen during kitchen tours due to the very worn steps leading from the house that require escorted guides for health and safety reasons.

Once back in the house I mentioned to the very helpful staff that I was also interested in the fabulous Elizabethan stumpwork casket. To my surprise, they allowed me to have the box uncovered, moved into the light and gave me plenty of time to take a series of close up photos. The box was then measured and carefully placed back under its viewing case. 

Elizabethan Casket, Newark Park

Close up of casket with worn areas

Close up of casket with worn areas

These caskets were often produced by young girls and involved stump work - a technique that involves padded appliqué, and fine needle work using three dimensional elements. The detailed work often told contemporary stories.

My idea: could I reproduce an image of the casket in 3D? The new image would copy the worn and damaged areas as well as the better preserved parts. Damage and repair would be happening but on this occasion, the damage I am starting with is already beautiful.

The work will take many hours and require obsessive attention to detail; the beauty of the very fragile Elizabethan casket will hopefully continue but the form will be new.