Beautiful portraits of older people feature in ‘The Dreaming House’ exhibition at Newstead Abbey

Date published: 5 Aug 2015

Posted by: Joe Pick

Older people wearing lace gloves

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A selection of stunning stereographic portraits of elderly visitors to Radford Care Group form part of ‘The Dreaming House’, a new fine art textile exhibition at Newstead Abbey.

The photographs were taken as part of Lacy Days, a project run for City Arts’ Imagine – Arts and Older People programme. Artist Annabel Elliott devised Lacy Days for Imagine on behalf of Nottingham City Museums & Galleries.

Stereoscopes are created using a special camera with two lenses that dates back to the Victorian era. Two photographs are taken of the same subject from slightly different angles. When the two 2D images combine an illusion of perspective and depth is achieved making the photo appear to be 3D.

The photographs are accompanied by the older people’s memories of the world famous Nottingham lace trade:

Older person in hat

“I was a Pantographer on North Sherwood Street. It was very noisy and I worked there 18 years. I had plenty of friends there.” (Elsie, 93)

Older person in hat

“I worked in a babywear factory right in the city centre. I was a machinist and would make Christening clothes out of lace and they looked lovely.” (Ivy, 84)

Older person in hat

“My mother was a lace machinist and she worked in Radford. She used to make all my clothes.” (Jean, 94)

Older person in hat

“I worked at ‘Alan Embroideries’ in Lenton. I put cotton in the shuttles. The embroidery was for saris in the early 70s. Silver threads and gold threads.” (Ingrid)

‘The Dreaming House’ is a temporary exhibition at Newstead Abbey that pays homage to the Abbey’s history as the ancestral home of Lord Byron, where many of the personal items that belonged to the great Romantic poet are displayed.

Rather than making direct reference to Byron and his work however, the artists in The Dreaming House are interested in themes that are also present in Byron’s writing: childhood, memory, the supernatural, romanticism, ruin and decay.

Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry’s Coming Out Dress, a flamboyant party dress made for his alter-ego Claire, takes centre stage in the elaborately-decorated Great Drawing Room, whilst garments by Caroline Broadhead, Lucy Brown and Naoko Yoshimoto hover like ghosts in rooms around the house.

The exhibition will run until 27th September 2015.