Kings, Saints and Servants

Press Release: 03/01/2014

Sophie Wiltshire, The Trusty Servant.

From Saturday 11 January until Sunday 9 February 2014 City Space at the Winchester Discovery Centre will be exhibiting work by local ceramicist and illustrator Sophie Wiltshire.

Sophie has distilled the essence of larger than life characters from Winchester’s history, such as St Swithun, King Alfred and Jane Austen, into a series of exquisite figurines that affectionately evoke the unique place their stories hold in popular imagination. She has just recently finished her Ceramics MA at the Royal College of Art and is now working from her studio in Winchester and loves to incorporate illustration, colour, and slip into her ceramics.

Sophie says

As a child growing up in Winchester, I learned a lot of local history stories at school, some including characters particular to Winchester and others that are more widely known. My figures are ceramic illustrations of these characters, encapsulating and displaying the stories that I learned, while at the same time creating a believable realisation of how that person may have sat or held themselves in real life. Rather than formal portraits, they are miniature snapshots which illustrate different periods in the history of Winchester, and the varied lifestyles of its inhabitants.

Each figure will be accompanied by objects that relate to the character’s story and perhaps reveal a hidden aspect to otherwise familiar tales. What is the connection between King Alfred and a fungal growth found on ash trees? What part did one of Jane Austen’s brother’s play in suppressing the 19th century slave trade and what sport played locally involves a ‘hotwatch’, a ‘canvas’ and ‘worms’? All these ‘secrets’ and more will be revealed in this fascinating exhibition.

Winchester City Cllr. Robert Humby, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development said:

Winchester’s rich and diverse history is full of individuals who have made their mark locally, nationally and in some cases globally. This exhibition gives visitors an opportunity to become re-acquainted with a few of those characters and their unique and fascinating stories.

From the 18 January to 16 March, The Gallery in the Discovery Centre will be hosting ‘Hidden’, an Impressions Gallery Touring Exhibition of work by Red Saunders. His epic photographic tableaux vivants (living pictures’) recreate momentous but overlooked events from Britain’s struggle for democracy and equality from the Peasants Revolt to the Chartist movement. These impressive large scale images will complement the more intimate individual stories in the ‘Kings, Saints and Servants’ exhibition in City Space, the downstairs gallery in Winchester Discovery Centre. Why not take a look at both exhibitions when you visit?

Kings, Saints and Servants will open on Saturday 11 January and runs until Sunday 9 February 2014.

City Space opening times: Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 3pm. Closed Bank Holidays.

Admission is free.