This exhibition at Orleans House Gallery by the river in Twickenham is showcasing modern pieces of art and design inspired by the Georgian era, linking the modern day to the gallery building’s Georgian links. And it is a lovely exhibition, full of interesting and fun pieces.
Ideas about the Georgian era often centre around theatricality, fancy costumes and a heavy dose of showmanship, and this exhibition features many pieces that reflect this. For instance, costume is a key focus, with collars and bodices made out of feathers, wigs and ceramic shoes all on display.
This theatricality makes for a rich display, with your eyes diverting to each new piece they catch a glimpse of, meaning that a superficial quick look round is rewarding in itself, but can be made even more rewarding if you take time to look closer and read about the influences behind each piece.
For instance, Mary Done’s papier mache King George III and Queen Charlotte; two pretty quirky heads that invite further inspection to discover they were made this year by a retired lady with an interest in Kew and the Georgians. In deed, most of the exhibits on display are very recent works and were brought together for the exhibition through a submission process.
Other pieces are more explicit in their contemporary twist on the Georgian era. For instance, Laura Bennett’s All The Single Ladies features the title of Beyonce’s 2008 song about men’s commitment issues and marriage, while using the kind of traditional sewing techniques that any accomplished lady of the Georgian era would be expected to master if they were to secure themselves a husband. And although the Married Women’s Property Act may no longer be in force limiting married women’s ability to own just about anything, the issue of how to secure yourself a husband is still on the mind of many a single lady today.
This is a lovely exhibition that is playful and light, but with enough to keep you interested and wanting to find out more about each piece.
Until 27 July 2014
Orleans House Gallery, Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ
Summer hours (April to September):
Tuesday – Saturday 1pm – 5:30pm
Sunday and Bank Holidays 2pm-5:30pm