Hearth and home: Mantelpiece exhibition gets pride of place

Bolton Museum’s new exhibition is set to make visitors feel right at home – by showcasing household objects of 1930s Britain.

‘Mantelpiece Observations’, opening September 12, is a series of objects and installations based on Mass Observation’s 1937 Mantelpiece Reports, created by renowned artist Richard Slee.

Well-known for his oversized Toby figures from the early 1990s, Slee has made his first Toby figures in twenty-five years after taking inspiration from the reports.

The solo exhibition is part of a wider public programme, funded by Arts Council England, exploring the meaning behind people’s home possessions.

It will include a second exhibition, ‘Mantelpiece Stories’, by photographer Madeleine Waller, as well as online events, film screenings, talks and workshops.

It is the result of an ongoing collaboration between Bolton Museum, the Mass Observation Archive, University of Sussex and the Museum of the Home,

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries and museums, Cllr Hilary Fairclough, said: “This exhibition is a real coup for Bolton. Richard Slee is one of Britain’s most important ceramic artists.

“The mantelpiece installations Richard has created for the exhibition perfectly capture the bizarre juxtapositions of ordinary and exotic objects in the original 1937 reports.

“It is testament to Bolton Museum’s increasingly high profile that Richard has chosen to show his new works here for the first time and that Arts Council England has elected to support the project with a significant funding award.

“I have no doubt that the exhibition will appeal to a wide range of visitors, both locally and nationally.”

Coming soon – Read our Bolton reporter Carole Ogden’s experience of sharing her mantelpiece memories for the exhibition. 





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