Art and Landscape at Sutton Hoo

A Landscape Speaks at Sutton Hoo

Two new exhibitions exploring the story of the Sutton Hoo landscape have opened. Through them we take a closer look at how people have shaped this landscape over the past 1,500 years.

The new displays of the revamped High Hall Exhibition at Sutton Hoo have now been joined by the first in a series of new temporary exhibitions. A Landscape Speaks has been developed by textile artist Annette Morgan, who worked alongside a team of National Trust volunteers to create a new 13 metre long textile hanging.

A Landscape Speaks at Sutton Hoo
A Landscape Speaks at Sutton Hoo
A Landscape Speaks at Sutton Hoo

The design has been inspired by both the Sutton Hoo landscape and items from the site archive, including plans drawn by Professor Martin Carver during excavations in the 1980s and maps dating back to the 1600s.
Work on the textile hanging began in 2018 with the team using recycled or natural fibres, including fleece from the rare-breed sheep reared at Sutton Hoo. 

Creating the textile piece
Creating the textile piece
Creating the textile piece

As well as the opportunity create a new exhibition piece, the process enabled volunteers to learn new skills, including carding and felting wool.

" I found this such an interesting project to work on, firstly amassing ideas from the Sutton Hoo landscape, old maps of the site and historical artefacts, and then working with the volunteers to make the hanging. It was wonderful to see how it started to come together with the skills of the makers and also the willingness of people to try new techniques such as feltmaking and free machine embroidery It was a joy to work on with such enthusiastic and talented people "
- Annette Morgan

A Landscape Speaks was created as part of Sutton Hoo’s major £4million National Lottery Heritage Fund supported transformation project. The team were also loaned equipment by Janome sewing machines, meaning they were able to create an artwork fitting the scale of the exhibition space as well as use a variety of creative techniques.

The second new exhibition is a series of images across the site called Pictures in the Landscape. 

Pictures in the Landscape at Sutton Hoo
Pictures in the Landscape at Sutton Hoo
Pictures in the Landscape at Sutton Hoo

Whilst the site is most famously known for its Anglo-Saxon Great Ship Burial, the landscape has been shaped by many hands including farmers, archaeologists and more recently the National Trust, who are working to conserve the numerous habitats for wildlife that exist at Sutton Hoo.

From a former owner of Sutton Hoo who kept a small herd of Friesian cows to the archaeologists who have unearthed ancient artefacts, the photographs from the 1930s to the present day have been reproduced on transparent boards and placed where they were originally captured, so that visitors can look through them to get an incredible comparison of then and now. 

A Landscape Speaks will be on show until 6th January 2020 whilst the Pictures in the Landscape installations will in place until 31 March 2020.