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The Garden of England

The research investigates ornamentation and symbolism in textile motif to define status and signify identity. The investigation enquires into the status of women within marriage in formalised societal structures and its representation in textile. The research uses the archetypal textile motif to transform and reinvent the feminine with a collection of three large-scale artworks made specifically for the Queen’s House, (Queens Anne and Henrietta Maria’s place of reception and garden retreat) the National Maritime Museum, London, 2013. The research was the inaugural project of their new contemporary arts programme in this principle Inigo Jones building.
The exhibition evidences within a national institution, the symbolic and the expectations of lineage personified through textile. For the first time in the Queens House Kettle was invited to place contemporary artworks alongside the historical national collections. A newly commissioned portrait by Kettle of Queen Henrietta Maria (in the process of being acquired by NMM), was exhibited alongside works which include those by Van Dyke and of Elizabeth 1 (John Bettes the Younger). Two further large-scale works were shown by Kettle.
One work was realised as a public engagement project, a first for both artist and institution; with over 2000 international contributions from the public, which were assembled by Kettle into a 12m installation. A Paper was presented by the Programmes Manager NMM, Louise Simkiss, at the ‘Engage’ conference Padua 2013. ‘Garden of England’ was reviewed in Crafts, Embroidery and Selvedge magazines 2013. A linked exhibition of Kettle’s work to launch ‘Garden of England’ was held at the Knitting and Stitching Show Olympia, London 2013.

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