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Last Updated June 19, 2021

Trish Morrissey: a certain slant of light

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Website: Visit website
Address: Francesca Maffeo Gallery
No 284 Leigh Road
Leigh on Sea
Telephone: +44 (0)1702 474300

Starts: 23 June, 2018
Ends: 28 July, 2018
Opening times: Mon-Tue by appointment only; Wed 1000-1430hrs; Thu-Sat 1000-1700hrs
Genre: Fine Art

Francesca Maffeo Gallery is pleased to present ‘Trish Morrissey: a certain slant of light’, the second exhibition in our ‘Season of Women Photographers’. Comprising of thirteen photographs and two films ‘Trish Morrissey: a certain slant of light’ responds to extensive research into archive material gathered about the last two female residents of Hestercombe House, a stately home and gardens in Somerset, England.

This body of work is a playful and rigorous enquiry into the lives of Elizabeth Maria Tyndale Warre (1790 -1872) and The Right Honourable Mrs Constance Portman (1854 -1951), using archive materials as ‘points of departure’ to develop interpretations of these two formidable women. Living under the shroud of a patriarchal society, both women ran the estate independent of men which was unusual for the time and as such adds more texture to the work and their characterisation. ‘Trish Morrissey: a certain slant of light’ eloquently puts flesh on the bones of dry history.

‘Miss Warre of Hestercombe’ and ‘Mrs Portman’ as they were known respectively were both eccentric in different ways. Miss Warre who never married, had a very personal take on fashions of the time and would cause a stir whenever she went out in her nineteenth century home made clothes and bonnets, with her hair tossed up any old how, fastened with a comb. She was a great beauty in her youth, but rebuffed all suitors and was a recluse from middle age, never leaving the estate. Mrs Portman became widowed early in her marriage and was devoutly religious. She forbade the house servants from looking her in they eye, looking out of the window, or going into the garden. She liked her lady’s maid to stroke her feet with a feather to help induce sleep. Mrs Portman allowed the servants to listen to the gramophone on their afternoon off, but she chose the music.

Crossing the disciplines of performance and photography, Morrissey drew on extensive historical material such as photographs, drawings, newspaper clippings, letters and testimonies. Combining fact, fiction and fantasy, and playing all the roles herself, the films and photographs are based on her interpretation of the lives of these extraordinary women. Morrissey touches on a broad range of themes that span past and present, including class, gender and role-play, body and gesture, the language of photography, and the uncertain, ambiguous relationship between public and private.


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