Speke of The Future
FRIDAY 23 SEPT – SUNDAY 27 NOVEMBER
11am – 4:30pm CLOSED [Mon – Tues]
Following a two month residency at Speke Hall, artist Alice May Williams presents a new commission that draws on the hall’s Arts and Crafts heritage. Taking William Morris’s ‘News from Nowhere’ as a starting point, Williams imagines the potential futures of Speke Hall and the National Trust in the year 2200.
“By bringing contemporary art installations into historic buildings such as Speke Hall, we hope to add a new and exciting layer to our visitors’ experience” says Hannah Pierce, the Trust’s Contemporary Art Programme Manager. “It also enables young, dynamic artists to create new work in spaces which wouldn’t normally be accessible, which can inspire and challenge their creative process. We are delighted to welcome Alice May Williams in her role as Artist in Residence to Speke as part of the Bluecoat’s off-site programme. Alice was selected from over 90 UK-wide applicants by a panel which included guest selector Marie-Anne McQuay, Head of Programme at Bluecoat.”
The installations map out a fictional future of the house by illuminating the patterns of the past, not only those visible to us, such as the William Morris wallpapers and tales of Adelaide Watt, but lesser known characters such as the Whatmores, caretakers of the house in the 1930s.
“Whilst thinking about the project, I was inspired by William Morris’s 1890 utopian fantasy ‘News from Nowhere’ which imagines London in 2102” says Alice. “In it, he sees a vision of a future ideal society as being a return to a pastoral era, where money has ceased to exist, everyone is healthy, happy, and cities have turned once more to countryside”.
Installations based on artefacts of the future will be spread around the ground floor of the house and the home farm area. Including the Morning Room as frequented by Adelaide Watt, the Great Hall, the Morris decorated Estate Office or ‘gun’ room where Ms Watt’s companion Miss Lee-Steere once kept her gun, the scullery where a young Tom Whatmore used to fix his bike, and the Oak Parlour, home to the stained glass Watt family crest, which is the only visual reference to the house’s historical links to slavery and the sugar plantations in Jamaica.
FREE to view and enjoy with normal admission to Speke Hall.
Free admission to National Trust Members and 5 years and under.