House Steward, Mottisfont
Volunteering for the National Trust brought about an unexpected but welcome career change for Sue.
After studying for an undergraduate degree in History and Philosophy I went on to work in the financial services industry for 10 years, carrying out very lengthy pension calculations. After the project I was working on came to an end I needed a change, but didn’t know what, so I worked in various roles including several at Hampshire County Council.
The most interesting of these was a temporary role in the Arts and Museums Service where I looked after their large collection of contemporary art. Around this time I was looking for a role as a volunteer and came across the advert for house and gallery guides at Mottisfont.
I started volunteering as a guide and then, very quickly, also became a member of the art gallery team, helping to install the exhibitions. Not long after this I went on to accept a post as a Conservation Assistant – first in a seasonal capacity and then as a permanent member of staff.
I have now been here for 5 years and alongside my work in the house I have also carried on being a part of the art gallery team. I love the focus on art within the house and the added attraction it brings for our visitors.
Amongst my current projects are the formation of a light plan to help limit damage to the house and collection and the improvement and enhancement of our condition reports to ensure that every object in the showrooms has a complete record.
Get to know a little more about Sue…
Favourite thing to do at work? Anything to do with the paintings and anything hands on – I recently spent a very happy week up the scaffold helping to put up the new picture hanging rail which runs all around the top of the West Corridor.
Favourite pest commonly found in historic properties? The Golden Spider Beetle. I know it’s a pest but it’s so beautiful.
Favourite book? Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I probably read it on an annual basis.
Favourite object at Mottisfont? This is very difficult – I love the entire Derek Hill Collection but I suppose if I could take one home it would either be Composition, Abstract Squares by Ben Nicholson or House by Alfred Wallis. Art collection aside, I love the Bedfont tray in the Study – both for the beauty of the object and for what it stood for.
Favourite tipple? Tea or G&T – depending on the time and place.