Rose English juxtaposed a selection of her horse related works with objects and manuscripts from The Portland Collection relating to the equestrian history of Welbeck. This included the well-known 17th Century treatise Le Méthode et Invention Nouvelle de Dresser les Chevaux by William Cavendish which is gloriously illustrated with engravings of horses in training and diagrams of their wider movements in the arena.
Her acclaimed installation Quadrille (1975) consists of material from a performance English presented in the dressage arena at a horse show in which six dancers dressed in equine costumes including real horse hoof high heels and horse tail belts performed a choreography based on classical dressage movements. The exhibition included photo documentation of performance Pegasus (1975) set in Edinstowe forest, Nottinghamshire and a new work inspired by Welbeck’s old Riding School.
English’s reputation for humorous and highly analytical performance began within Britain’s vibrant feminist scene in the 1970s. An influential figure for many artists, her work has crossed boundaries between performed installation, vaudeville, film, spoken drama and opera in a mix of philosophical, aesthetic and political commentary.
Full of criticism and wit, English’s equestrian visual language is an ingenious and subversive one, and a powerful vehicle for questioning the fetishisation of women
Becky Timmins, XXY Magazine
The Grand Tour: Season Two
The Grand Tour reinterprets world class collections through contemporary art across four venues in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. It is a partnership between Chatsworth, Derby Museums, The Harley Gallery and Nottingham Contemporary together with Experience Nottinghamshire and Visit Peak District and Derbyshire. Funding for The Grand Tour was awarded as part of the joint Arts Council England and VisitEngland Cultural Destinations programme.
For more information visit thegrandtour.uk.com.