Historic Royal Palaces got in touch inspired by my alter ego’s sculptures with found objects and memories. They commissioned bespoke installations for the exhibition on the life and reign of Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901), Victoria Revealed, in Kensington Palace. I was asked to create the exhibition displays showcasing the objects that had once belonged to the Queen and Prince Albert. Reminisences was the room I was given, the last one in the exhibition, acting as a summary of the showcase and the Queen’s life.
My task was to bring the couple’s story to life, visually. I was asked to represent different chapters of their biography, displaying their belongings and creating storytelling scenarios that tell the history without words. I was given seven cabinets, each referring to different stages in their life. I had complete creative leeway, so my biggest challenge was working around extremely strict conservation regulations. I had to find new ways of creating, using very specific materials that wouldn’t damage the precious historical items.
I created scenarios combining their fine belongings with bespoke pieces I crafted: porcelain figures and illustrated paper constructions. I chose to work with porcelain for its purity and high standard, as in history it’s known as white gold. I had to learn to work with the material while I was busy on the commission. In this process, the talented ceramicist Jo Davis became my mentor and technical consultant.
I combined the white sculptural shapes with paper constructions that added further possibilities of storytelling. I decorated them with intricate ink drawings, keeping the colour palette to gold, burnt orange and black.
Working with Kensington Palace, along with the exhibition designers, OPERA Amsterdam, was an exceptional opportunity. The project was a great learning curve, and a challenge my creativity and technical skills.