Following her residency at Holkham Hall, Laura Carlin has creatively responded to both the house and its grounds with a mirror and a series of one-off ceramic pieces. Having been inspired by her time with Mac Graham, Holkham’s historian and librarian, and Jake Fiennes, head of conservation, she felt it was only right to honour both in her work. These two characters from Holkham’s present brought the place alive for Laura and impressed on her how the past feeds into what is happening today at Holkham.
Laura has aimed to capture the beautiful atmosphere of the wetlands in a mirror and with her ceramics has encountered the same themes that Thomas Coke himself wanted to challenge in the curation of his works of art. “There is so much more going on at Holkham than meets the eye, and I’d like to help remind us of this.”
During her tour of the estate with Jake Fiennes, Laura found breathtaking the abundance of wildlife, birds and animals. Thanks to Holkham’s forward-looking, innovative outlook, with sustainability and conservation at its heart, species such as the Spoonbill have reclaimed their old haunts on the wetlands after 400 years of absence. The increase in birds is perhaps the most spectacular change in the ebb and flow of Holkham’s wildlife and so Laura has sought to capture the busy yet serene scene of birds nesting, bathing and feeding around the water’s edge. She has used the mirror to reflect the water and celebrate the birds living around it.
The creative process behind the mirror, a first for Laura, started with a series of drawings, mainly observational, of the different birds at Holkham. She then began to form these using Fimo,working in black to try and reduce the pieces down to character and silhouette, and not relying on colour or fine detail. Once she was happy with her method of making, she started to curate the characters around the mirror frame, “striking up conversations and narratives between the different birds”. To finish, Laura has collaborated with the Castle Fine Arts bronze foundry to expertly cast individual models and the frame in patinated bronze.
For her series of ceramic pieces, Laura has responded to the nature in which Thomas Coke curated his art collection, especially in what seems like “a pattern of opposites”. Her vases and bowls will draw on the themes found in the paintings and statues collected by Coke and positioned in conversation with another.
Explore the whimsical new works from Laura below or book an appointment to view the pieces at our Mayfair showroom.