Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sutton House and Mock Tudor

I'm into all things Tudor at the moment, in no small part inspired by the TV series The Tudors (which I know is a tad trashy but I love it). I visited Hampton Court a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it - it is just the right side of the line of unacceptability which so many museums have crossed when it comes to making history more interactive and enjoyable. I am also reading Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall which focusses on Thomas Cromwell (not to be confused with Oliver) who was very much part of the Henry VIII story and was eventually executed by him. Today I visited Sutton House which is Hackney's only link with The National Trust and apparently the oldest surviving house in East London. I have been before but not for ages and had forgotten how nice it is - really quiet and intimate. What I hadn't realised was that the house was actually built by Ralph Sadleir who was a kind of apprentice to Thomas Cromwell and I have just been reading about him. Weird synchronicity.

The result of all this Tudor stuff is of course an exhibition which is called Mock Tudor and is a Transition Gallery offsite project, opening at 60 Ravenscourt Road in west London on 17 June. I'm making a series of Tudor inspired portraits. Mock Tudor is of course a derogatory term for the kind of suburban houses that have black wooden beams added as a decorative feature. Our interpretation is definitely more of a tribute than a critical annihilation. There is also going to be a FAKE themed issue of Garageland to further examine the themes of pastiche, copy, mock, original, authenticity etc etc.

Ralph Sadleir

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