1 June 2010


Barrington Court, Nr Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0NQ
June – November, 2010

Scion was a programme of contemporary visual art, developed by Beacon and the National Trust, at Barrington Court, Somerset. This project was supported by Trust New Art, a programme to connect more people to National Trust places through contemporary art and craft.  www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trustnewart

Intervention and not interruption was at the core of the curatorial vision for Scion our aim was to deliver a a structured and accumulative project that enabled an engaged visitor experience of the house, one that is subtly enhanced by the artistic interventions.

The Scion programme was:

June – Nov 2010

Lyndall Phelps, Andrew Bracey, Gerard Williams, Louise K.Wilson, Catherine Bertola

Each month an artwork was installed at Barrington Court, each artwork was selected on the basis of their suitability to the architecture and history of Barrington Court. Each month the featured artist gave a lunchtime talk about the work followed by a question and answer session.


Lyndall Phelps

Gently Enticing, 2010

Lyndall Phelps’ Gently Enticing was a re-working of Drift, 2005, a site specific installation for the rotunda of the Great Eastern Hotel, London, commissioned by Commissions East. Lyndall Phelps worked with Cole & Son to produce white flocked wallpaper in 12 background colours. The floral design of the wallpaper echoed the common plants favoured by Jekyll and the graduation of colour replicated the drifts of colour used in her planting schemes. The title is a quote from Jekyll's Colour Schemes for the Flower Garden, first published 1908. Isolated from its original text, the quotation becomes sexually suggestive, hinting at out of sight activities. The selection of this artwork introduces the feminine, the decorative and the nature already present in Barrington’s Jekyll inspired gardens into the masculinity of the paneled interior.

Lyndall Phelps is an Australian artist living and working in Ely, Cambridgeshire. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including recently The Pigeon Archive 2010, a commission by Milton Keynes Gallery touring to the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool and King’s Lynn Arts Centre, and a residency at the Natural History Museum, London.


Andrew Bracey
Clout, 2003-06

Clout is a collection of miniature paintings, each painted onto the heads of roofing nails. These included a vast range of images culled from the internet, holiday snaps and newspapers. The collection consisted of over 5,000 paintings. A selection of these paintings were discreetly displayed on the walls of the rooms and corridors of Barrington Court. As visitors walked around, these paintings were encountered in unexpected places and spaces.

Andrew Bracey was born in Bristol (1978). He studied at Plymouth College of Art (1996 - 1997), Liverpool John Moores University (1997 - 2000) and Manchester Metropolitan University (2000 2001). His exhibitions include Frienlage (Firstsite, Colchester 2006), Social Work (Cornerhouse Projects, Manchester 2006), Post notes(ICA, London 2005), The Rudiments of Ornamental Composition (LOT, Bristol 2005), and John Moores 23 (Liverpool Biennial, The Walker Art Gallery 2004). He is a lecturer at Lincoln University and a visiting lecturer at Wolverhampton and Salford University. Future projects include Small Mischiefs(Pumphouse Gallery, London) and solo shows at Transition Gallery (London) and Wolverhapmton Art Gallery (2007). He currently lives and works in Manchester.


Gerard Williams
Arundel, 1993

The starting points of Gerard Williams’ work are varied but are very much part of our everyday world. This sculpture is an enlarged standard British moulding profile used in mass produced wooden skirtings, architraves, picture rails etc. that adorn our homes. It has been meticulously crafted using wood, veneer and fabric. One of a series of sculptures, all the titles used are the names of historic British towns: Dover, York, Chepstow, Monmouth, Caernarfon. The fabrics used in the series range from cheap nylon to hand woven silk. Sited in the spartan surroundings of the kitchen Arundel Offered an unusual perspective upon these common architectural features, inviting us to look at the world afresh.


Louise K. Wilson
Weep O Mine Eyes, 2005

This video of a solo singer is from a recent project, A Record of Fear, the artist made for Orford Ness once a top secret military testing site now looked after by the National Trust.


Catherine Bertola
Thought for the Week, 2010

This is one of an ongoing series of embroidered text drawings taken from a series of inspirational quotes emailed to the artist weekly from a life coaching website. These delicately laboured objects reference needlepoint projects traditionally given in women’s magazines. Their particular detail illuminates the process of endeavour for self-improvement as a domesticated female.

Underpinning the work is a desire to look beyond the surface of objects and buildings, to uncover forgotten and invisible histories of places and people. The domesticated nature of the artwork invited reflection on the role of women within the history of Barrington Court where the evidence of meticulous male labour and workmanship in the panelling is so evident.

18 September–23 November 2010

Lyndall Phelps
Archival Scenarios, 2010 (installation detail)

The artist Lyndall Phelps was commissioned by Beacon to produce an artwork in response to Barrington Court. From June to August she worked with staff and volunteers to research and develop her ideas, the results of which were seen in the exhibition on the top floor of Barrington Court.

Archival Scenarios paid homage to Colonel Arthur Lyle, Barrington’s former tenant. A methodical man, Lyle worked closely with labourers to install the panelling.  His rigorous documentation of the panels’ history and installation was sent to London during the 1940s for safekeeping, but is now lost. Consequently no archive exists for Barrington Court’s panel collection. Such lack of historical fact provides Barrington Court’s uniqueness, offering more questions than answers.

Entering the top floor was like entering a film set from CSI. Archival Scenarios was an artist’s archive of recorded and analysed data from the 2,349 wooden panels lining the walls. Dividing the area into sections, Phelps referenced data collection processes used by forensic scientists, archaeologists and museum professionals, who create scenarios from little evidence. Hence the use of objects more commonly associated with these practices, such as evidence markers. Since the original documentation is missing, the authenticity of the panels in the Long Gallery cannot be guaranteed. This uncertainly offered the possibility of another scenario, inviting us to reflect on ‘facts’ and ‘fictions’ in our own everyday scenarios. The artist divided the attic into 8 sections, centered around a stone window sill. Each section was marked with a forensic evidence marker, the design of which was based on crime scene photographic markers.

On the window sill in each of the 8 sections archival data sheets were positioned, on which the artist had meticulously drawn and recorded the number and sizes of wooden panels in each section. Directly referencing the house's former owner, Arthur Lyle, the central window sill displayed 8 laboratory standard glass specimen jars etched with a measuring scale from 100 to 500. Each jar, labeled Section 1 to 8 was filled with Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup, to the number on the scale that related to the number of panels in that particular Section.

Finding Your Way Day 20 October 2010

This was an opportunity for Somerset based artists to widen their networks, share feedback and get advice on practice and projects. It was programmed to coincide with ‘Artist Led’, an exhibition that explored artist led initiatives in Somerset at The Brewhouse in Taunton 16 Oct - 20 Nov 2010.

Drawing Together 24 November 2010

This was a one day event that explored the practical application of sketchbooks and drawing with children and young people. It provided an opportunity for artists and teachers to explore contemporary arts practice together in the context of Barrington Court.

Scion was made possible with support from the partners below