Garment: Women's Boots
Materials: Paper and Thread
Inspiration: 18th century footwear; the work of two naturalists and a map maker, associated with Danny House; the work of Morgan Kenney (91), Poet (Danny House resident)
Spending time working in the Great Hall of the Grade 1 listed Elizabethan mansion Danny House I found myself contemplating the very many pairs of feet and shoes that must have walked or danced across the patterned rugs and old oak floor.
These boots are inspired by the genteel appearance of the footwear worn by wealthy women in the 18th century. Accordingly they're decorated with flora and trimmed with gold, paint and thread. I chose to sketch on the papery surface of the boots images of honeysuckle, a snail and a caterpillar copied from the large map that hangs in the entrance hall of Danny House. It is known as the Whitpaine map and was commissioned from Robert Whitpaine in 1666 by Peter Courthorpe, who acquired the house in 1653. He also bought 262 acres of the former great park, Wilcombe Farm (including a warren and sheep pasture) and Wolstonbury hill, now National Trust, all of which are illustrated on the map. Danny House also has links with Gilbert White and John Ray, both illustrious English parson-naturalists, who published important works on botany, zoology and natural theology.
On the sole of one of the boots is scratched the words of a short poem. ‘Stampede’ is by Morgan Kenney, a Canadian national who currently lives at Danny. On his wall hangs a certificate from the current Prime Minister of Canada acknowledging his life achievements and I chose this particular poem, of the many he has written, because it seemed to me both ironic and fitting. Though I don’t imagine many people have stampeded their way through the Great Hall of Danny House, I have seen photos of large crowds, taken in the room before and during WWII at social occasions. ‘Stampede’ also seems to describe the nature of the rest of the changeable world, in comparison with the long-term peaceful heart of the South Downs that Danny house has occupied for centuries now.
For more information about the retired residents of Danny House & the residency that inspired this piece please click here:
Photography by Ray Sullivan
To watch Morgan reading his Haiku 'Stampede' please click below: