Chronicle of Curiosities 

Whitby Museum, Pannett Park, February - July 2020

Exhibition of works created during time as Artist in Residence at Whitby Museum; this response to the collection reflects the expansive and eclectic nature of the museum which Layla and so many other visitors have grown so fond of. The work consists of two different aspects, one to embody the artist’s own reflections on the collection, and the other to represent the people of Whitby and the ever evolving nature of collecting.

The Cabinet

Cabinets of Curiosities were notable collections of objects – originally a room, but by the 16th Century actual cabinets were emerging. Within Whitby Museum’s notable collection of objects, is the Ripley Cabinet of Curiosities – a collection within a collection. The objects contained in these collections are made all the more interesting by the stories that come with them – without the stories, they are just objects. Members of the public were invited to take part in a public workshop, taking casts and stories from people connected with Whitby, and the curious objects which they hold dear. These objects were not valuable in the traditional sense, but of sentimental or emotional value – of no worth or meaning to anybody but the person who has collected them. This object was then moulded, and a plaster cast made as a replica, to be featured in an all new Cabinet of Curiosities of objects loved by the people of Whitby along with their stories, displayed alongside the original Ripley Cabinet.

The Dinner Service

A table is laid for dinner, the guests all significant figures inspired by the museum collection and the history of Whitby. Each dinner guest has their own bespoke place setting inspired by themes within the museum, side plates link to these themes with verses inspired by the “Sunderland-ware” ceramics in the collection. The walls are adorned with ink illustrations on antiquated encyclopaedia pages, inspired by the extensive library collection, and the “Hand of Glory” has been liberated from it’s dark, mythic origins in the form of candle holders to light the table.