'I Dream': Ida Copeland and the Girl Guides

Ida Copeland dressed in her Girl Guiding attire c1920

Taking inspiration from former Trelissick owner, Ida Copeland’s commitment to the Girl Guides, artist and photographer, Ilene Sterns, presents an exhibition on girl guiding, past and present.

Following on from ‘I Dare’, ‘I Dream’ presents the second of three explorations into the life of the woman who gifted Trelissick to the National Trust, Ida Copeland. ‘I Dream’ presents Ida’s commitment to the Girl Guides through various photographic and interactive exhibits in the house. The show is so-called because Ida dreamt of a bright future for girls who wished to better themselves by joining the guides.

This is a key theme which is explored by Ilene Sterns, the artist and photographer presenting the exhibition. One of her pieces is a collection of portraits of former and current Girl Guides and Brownies – the eldest subject being 93 and the youngest 7. By connecting current Girl Guides with their forebears, the exhibition illustrates how Ida saw Girl Guiding as an investment into the future lives of its members.

Ilene Sterns - Seeing Ida and the Guides through her lens

" Gardeners do most of their work quietly behind the scenes, rarely being celebrated and often remaining entirely anonymous in spite of being the heart and soul of any garden. "

"For the ‘I Dream’ exhibition, here at National Trust Trelissick, I was much inspired by the 1911 guiding badges.  I worked closely with 1st St. Breward Guides and 7th Camborne guides and their leaders, photographing them as they tried out activities that 1911 guides would have done to earn their badges.  I also shot a series of formal portraits of former and current guides to create a tangible timeline of guiding in Cornwall from the 1930s to present day."

"Modern girl guides are the perfect subjects for an exhibition celebrating Ida Copeland’s attitude and approach to life; like her, they are intrepid and forward thinking. In recognition of Ida’s commitment to the guides, I also designed and embroidered a Trelissick guiding badge."

You can now view 'I Dream' in Trelissick house until 9 September 2018. The exhibition is free, however purchase of a standard entry ticket to the house and garden is required - entrance free to members of the National Trust. 

Ilene Sterns photographs Girl Guides for the I Dream exhibiation at Trelissick

'I Dream' reviewed

Blogger 'The Cornish Bird' gives her perspective on 'I Dream' with an interview with Ilene Sterns. This link will take you to her blog where you'll find many more hidden histories of Cornwall.