Unravelling...

The Manor House

In 2010 Unravelled launched its first project Unravelling the Manor House, at Preston Manor in Brighton. The exhibition opened at Preston Manor, part of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove in May 2010.

The start of the show coincided with The Brighton Festival and ran for 3 months from 1st May 2010 to mid July 2010. Unravelling the Manor House saw twelve artists and makers using or subverting the notion of craft in extreme and conceptual ways. Eleven of the twelve artists developed new artworks specifically for the exhibition. The work responded to the house and brought the existing collection at Preston Manor to life.

We included a broad cross section of artists working in a variety of media and at various stages of their careers and provided them with a high profile showcase for contemporary artists and makers and the opportunity to engage with historic houses and stimulate practical craft activity and debate.

One of the five sites under the care of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton and Hove, Preston Manor evokes the atmosphere of an Edwardian gentry house both ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’. Dating from c.1600, rebuilt in 1738 and substantially added to in 1905, the house and its contents give a rare insight into life during the early years of the 20th century.

Visitors can explore more than twenty rooms over four floors, from the servants’ quarters, kitchens and butler’s pantry in the basement to the attic bedrooms and nursery on the top floor. The Manor also has walled gardens and a pets’ cemetery

The Unravelling the Manor House artists explored many different stories, discovered during their research, that informed their work. These included a fantastical story about the odd job man, the parties and affairs conducted by family members, the upstairs downstairs ways of life and the suspected murder of a nun at the house.