If Pairing Were Power at Dudmaston

Dudmaston if pairing were power mannequin tree trsut new art

If Pairing Were Power is a brand new contemporary arts exhibition at Dudmaston which has been shaped by visitors and made by artist Faye Claridge. The artwork takes us on a journey of intrigue and emotion in this most loved home, lived in by the same family for almost 900 years.

If Pairing Were Power is inspired by the pairing of two objects from Dudmaston's collection. Siblings Faye (aged 7) and Jack (aged 10) Holland paired a 17th century Dutch painting of Two Unknown Girls with Barry Flanagan's Boxing Ones (1981), a modern sculpture of two boxing hares. The objects inspired the children to think about their own relationship as brother and sister. 

" These objects are about the power of two - together or fighting. We spend most of our time getting along or fighting...there is no middle ground."
- Faye and Jack Holland
The Power of Two: The Boxing Hares and the 17th century painting of the Dutch Flower Girls.
dudmaston shaken and stirred boxing hares tulip girls
The Power of Two: The Boxing Hares and the 17th century painting of the Dutch Flower Girls.

Artist Faye Claridge worked with visitors, volunteers and residents at Dudmaston to shape the exhibition, which has been made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England, as part of the National Trust's programme for contemporary arts.

Step through the front door of Dudmaston Hall and you might begin to notice some unusual photographs. All feature a pair of children, dressed identically like sisters, in old-fashioned dresses. 

Siblings Faye and Jack Holland who provided the source of inspiration for the exhibition
Dudmaston trust new art faye claridge costume if pairing were power
Siblings Faye and Jack Holland who provided the source of inspiration for the exhibition

The costumes are metal and fabric replicas of the dresses worn in the painting Two Unknown Girls. Faye worked with The Costume Project at Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust to bring the dresses to life, combining their costume-making expertise with Faye's printed aluminium design.

Rachel Labouchere, Dudmaston's last owner and relative of the Darby family, campaigned for the preservation of the industrial heritage of the Severn Valley and served as president of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust for fourteen years. If Pairing Were Power strengthens the existing family relationships between the two heritage sites.

Take the stairs up to the Yellow Bedroom in the Hall and listen out for birdsong. Stay quiet, someone's softly sleeping. Gaze out of the bedroom window, who's there?

Ranger Mike climbed the Cedar tree in the garden to put the mannequin in place.
Dudmaston if pairing were power tree mannequin
Ranger Mike climbed the Cedar tree in the garden to put the mannequin in place.
" If Pairing Were Power is led by children’s perspectives and is a chance to think about family relationships in all their complexity. The artwork asks us to reflect on the power of two and consider the pairings in our own lives that have led to more than the sum of their individual parts."
- Faye Claridge
Rowan and Emmett Chambers in front of the Iron Bridge
Dudmaston trust new art faye claridge costume if pairing were power
Rowan and Emmett Chambers in front of the Iron Bridge

If Pairing Were Power is about unity, togetherness and the power of two. The exhibition has been a collaborative project from the beginning, and we need you to help us continue our collaborative ways of working.

Dress up in Gallery One
Dudmaston if pairing were power costumes gallery one
Dress up in Gallery One

Pose for your own portrait in Gallery One. Try on one of the costumes and share your photographs with us on Instragram @NTDudmaston, using #IfPairingWerePower. Tell us your thoughts about the exhibition or respond to the questions and prompts on the message table.