Image: Good Taste is a Waste or Everyone Loves Poodles, Frith Kerras. Photo credit: Oskar Proctor / National Trust.
Commissioned by the National Trust, Gitta Gschwendtner has invited 5 fellow designers to create seating in response to 17th century Fenton House in Hampstead, an installation titled Please Sit. Until 4 May, you are invited to sit down, linger longer and look anew at Fenton House, its remarkable contents and the worlds they came from.
Gitta, Michael Marriott, Maisie Broadhead, Nina Tolstrup, Frith Kerr and Carl Clerkin have all selected and responded to a particular detail in their chosen room. Whether a feature of its interior or the artefacts it contains, their interpretation of it is in the form of an item of seating. From Michael’s ‘blinkered’ chair, focussing our eyes and minds on Chinese snuff bottles, to Frith’s playful comment on Lady Binning’s collectable ceramic poodles, these unexpected eruptions of contemporary design encourage a deeper level of engagement with Fenton’s collections, heritage and place.
Image: Part of the Furniture, Maisie Broadhead. Photo credit: Oskar Proctor / National Trust.
Fenton House is home to outstanding works of art and collector’s items, as well as more commonplace, whimsical and playful objects. The core of the collection was formed by a bequest to the National Trust by the last of Fenton's 22 owners and renters, Lady Katherine Binning (1871-1952). Lady Binning left the house to the Trust as a ‘museum’ and since that time many other collections have been added. Now the house is brimming with disparate collections of extraordinary things.
Commissioned by the National Trust, now Fenton’s longest occupant, a radical redecoration of the house was undertaken by John Fowler of Colefax and Fowler in the 1970s. The scheme and furniture arrangement give a relaxed, country house feel and add yet another layer to Fenton’s story.
Image: Jacob's Bench, Gitta Gschwendtner. Photo credit: Oskar Proctor / National Trust.
Talking about the Please Sit installation, Gitta said: “Fenton is unique and fascinating as it does not present a neatly packaged narrative of ownership and collection. I would like to invite people to dwell and to wonder.”
For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk