I love finding out about interesting projects that reinterpret and bring archives to light in imaginative ways. One local project that I am enjoying following is the work of Sarah Moss the artist in residence at Winterbourne House and Gardens.
Sarah is currently working on a series of linocuts depicting moments from the life of the Nettlefold family who built Winterbourne and lived there in the early twentieth century. John Sutton Nettlefold was a member of the prominent local manufacturers Nettlefold and Co. (later Guest, Keen and Nettlefold) as well as being the managing director of the ammunition manufacturer Kynoch Ltd for many years. He was also a local councillor concerned with social reform and urban planning; in his role as first chairman of the local housing committee he extended the slum clearance programme and established the Moor Pool Estate in Harborne. John and his wife Margaret (nee Chamberlain) were part of the interconnected group of Unitarian families in Birmingham at the time. The family archive which is housed at Winterbourne is a rich resource for understanding domestic and personal experiences of life in a middle class Edwardian family.
Each of Sarah’s images is a wonderful combination of text taken from personal accounts of the family alongside evocative scenes rich with decorative motifs inspired by the arts and crafts style of the house and garden at Winterbourne. I particularly like the use of real extracts from the letters and diaries alongside details from fashion and architecture of the time allowing the voices and experiences of John and Margaret to come alive.
You can see more of these images on Sarah’s blog along with a fascinating behind the scenes glimpse into her creative and research methods. You can find out more about the Nettlefold family and their house by visiting the Winterbourne website or visiting in person. Sarah has held several talks and workshops during her residence, her next workshop is on Sunday 02 April for further details please see the Winterbourne website.
All images in this piece are the copyright of Sarah Moss from her blog www.sarah-gathernomoss.blogspot.co.uk, we would like to thank her for allowing us to share this project here.
Archives and Collections Senior Assistant