Echoes of Hall Place

Artist: Stuart Smith

Hall Place has a rich history stretching back to Tudor times. Echoes of Hall Place is a fine art photography installation celebrating the history of the estate and connecting it with the present and looking to the future. The completed collection was displayed outside of the mansion’s visitor centre and comprised of 6 portraits. These were of contemporary subjects wearing period clothing. The portraits echoed the type of visitor Hall Place may have seen over the years. Inside the visitor’s centre a large mirror was placed. This was decorated with Tudor roses to reflect the history of the house and of course visitors who choose to look into it! Those choosing to use the mirror were invited to take a ‘selfie’ and share it through Social Media using #eohp2018.

The resulting fine art photographs are 6 portraits that take the viewer from the Tudor origins of Hall Place through to the Victorian era, then on to the Roaring Twenties and finally World War 2. I chose to stop at WW2 because that seemed to be the place in the history of Hall Place when it really begins to head towards its current municipal role.

Today Hall Place is somewhere the public come to enjoy the grounds, the Tudor mansion and various exhibitions and events. I needed some way of demonstrating that Hall Place, whilst steeped in history, is still very much alive and has a continuing story. Also, I wanted to reflect on how portraiture has expanded from the relatively isolated experience of the painting of nobles and the landed gentry into increasing democratization through the current ‘selfie’ via smartphone phenomenon.

To this end, I developed the concept further to incorporate a large mirror, decorated with Tudor emblems. Centrepieces’ artists, through workshop sessions I ran, created Tudor Roses to decorate the mirror. The mirror invites the public to reflect on their own role in the ongoing history of Hall Place and contribute by creating their own selfies. The Tudor inspired decorations on the mirror remind us of the long history of the estate which will continue to echo into the future through the sharing of the selfies on social media.