Kateri Foreman, Masters Student at Kings College and Gallery Intern at the Nunnery Gallery recently visited Pallant House Gallery to see an exhibition created around Bow Porcelain works in their collection. Her post below gives us a taste of her experience, and an insight into the surprising links between Bow and Chichester:
Putting on the Made in Bow exhibit was a big task for us at The Nunnery. It required a lot of research, planning, and a growing love and appreciation for Bow porcelain by many individuals. So it was a very pleasant surprise to discover that the renowned Pallant House Gallery in Chichester not only had an extensive collection of Bow porcelain, but that it was also being displayed in a new exhibit. A few weeks back, I was able to head up to Chichester and see the gallery for myself.
I met with Emma Robertson, Head of Communications, who was able to give me some interesting background on the exhibit and history of Pallant House. Contemporary artist Bouke De Vries was commissioned to construct the exhibit, Bow Selector. It first went on display last July to mark the 300th anniversary of the original townhouses that were converted to become part of the Pallant House Gallery.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the size and scale of De Vries’ work, knowing only that it was ‘in the stairway’. But this is not just any stairway. The dark wood carved staircase is a beautiful, imposing work in its own right. Looking up from the bottom of the stairs, the display was almost lost amongst the grandeur. The porcelain is mounted on large panels, which are hung on the walls of the staircase. De Vries was inspired by interior designer Daniel Marot’s ceramic displays, which were renowned in the 1700s. It was amazing to see such a large collection of porcelain displayed so closely together – and precariously! It really made evident just how much porcelain was produced at Bow in such a short time. The top landing offered the best view of the collection and I was able to spot some pieces very similar to those being shown at The Nunnery. It was like “I Spy” for the artfully inclined.
What really set the exhibit apart was the new work that De Vries created alongside the hung display. Almost tucked away at the bottom of the stairway, under a large glass dome is ‘Still Life with Bow Teapot’. Made from fragments of a broken Bow teapot, De Vries has skillfully and delicately repurposed an item that seemingly lost its value. Bow Selector, like Made in Bow, is an intriguing juxtaposition of the historical and contemporary, forging connections between the two. As someone who never gave porcelain more than a passing glance, my work with Made in Bow and visit to Pallant House has taught me that it really is worthy of a second look.
If you are in Chichester or fancy a trip up to this lovely town and gallery, Pallant House Gallery will be hosting an artist talk with Bouke De Vries on Thursday July 18th. For more information and to book tickets, go to:
Bow Selector will be on display until Autumn 2013. For more information on the exhibition visit: