A Certain Slant of Light by Trish Morrissey


From Morrissey’s first visit to Hestercombe – once a grand estate, then occupied by Army, Fire Brigade and County Council and now being restored by an independent trust – it was the stories of the house’s last female occupants that compelled her to make work here.

Consulting documents and photographs in the Hestercombe and Somerset Archives, she researched the lives of Miss Warre (1790-1872) and Mrs Portman (1854-1951), breathing new life into them `by diving into their world and then pulling them back with her into the present’. In her photographs and films, Morrissey embodies these characters, sometimes playing multiple roles, distilling her interpretation into a series of gestures and poses. She likens this methodology to historical fiction, which aims `to bring the past out of the archive and relocate it in a body’.


Morrissey has borrowed the exhibition title from a poem by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) that describes the transformative effect of winter twilight, when `the landscape listens’ and `shadows hold their breath’, and it is in Hestercombe’s empty rooms and gardens that she finds and locates her characters. Using what Freud called `the arsenal of the past’ to reinvest Hestercombe with its history, the work opens up an indeterminate space where Morrissey explores identity and self.

14 cm x 18.5 cm
Published by Hestercombe & ICVL Studio

2 in stock