'Eye am She' by Lorna Brown
In 2018 we were joined by Herefordshire artist Lorna J Brown as she told the story of Ann Bangham (first lady of Berrington) in an entirely new way and she brought us her artwork 'Eye am She'.
In 2018 the National Trust is running the theme ‘Women and Power’ to commemorate 100 years since women received the right to vote. This is designed to offer properties the chance to demonstrate the stories of the women behind these special places. We have taken this on board and have worked with Herefordshire based artist, Lorna J Brown to interpret the story of Berrington's own strong women in a new way.
Lorna J Brown has been working closely with Berrington’s history and has created 'Eye am She' with the tale of Thomas Harley’s wife, Ann Bangham, in mind. Brown has drawn inspiration from the life of Ann and the eighteenth century culture that surrounded women. She has then combined this inspiration with our current exhibition which tells Ann's story for the first time, 'A Dress Fit for a King', but added her own contemporary, artistic interpretation of this story.
Brown has drawn on what we know of Ann and used elements of it to be incorporated into 'Eye am She'. Brown said: ‘It’s quite likely that Berrington would have been a time of reflection for Ann [I have] discussed that by creating a room of reflection’. Themes such as this have been overlooked for some time, however by working with Brown we are now showing them in a new and creative way.
This mixed-media art installation offers a fresh perspective on how we as a society can reflect on the difference between our own culture, the lifestyle of Ann and all eighteenth century women and the Georgian seedlings of modern celebrity culture.
‘Eye am She’ pays homage to the female space and experience. Centred around the life of this eighteenth century woman, it explores both a factual and hypothetical narrative of the life of this eighteenth century socialite and her experience of motherhood and womanhood.
Both 'A Dress Fit for a King' and 'Eye am She' work together to create a new outlook on the life of Ann Bangham, the life of gentry women and Georgian 'celebrity culture'.
There are some other elements that Brown focuses on, which incorporate Berrington’s ‘Spirit of Place’. The artwork comprises a tribute to the ‘Secret Language of Flowers’, introduced to Britain in 1717. The display involves flowers, symbolic of motherhood and family blossom.
Also Brown pays homage to the Georgian 'Lover’s Eye/Eye Miniature', in doing this she observes both the subject and the viewer in sympathetic allusion to the woman as watched.
You can come and discover this piece for yourself on the first floor of the mansion.