Between Islands is the description of a disappeared world called – Do><ia

Now this world was not found, it was made,
Discovered, lying in Time’s shade.

(Verse adapted from an introduction to ‘The Blazing World’,  a work of fiction which created a utopian world, written in 1666 by Margaret Cavendish Duchess of Newcastle.)

Joanna Whittle was joint winner of The Harley Open and the Contemporary British Painting Prize, 2019. She is a painter who also explores themes in her work through ceramics.

In ‘Between Islands’ she explores the relationship between ‘creating worlds’ and ‘creating collections’ and the role curation and display of collections plays in developing narratives – real or imagined.


She has produced the paintings, drawings and ceramics on display in response to the landscape of the Welbeck estate and items in The Portland Collection and has displayed these as a collection of artefacts from an imagined world called Do><ia. The project has involved collaboration with artist David Orme, to explore the determinations of display and the decisions made to formalise the fictional into the authentic.

The world described is heavily influenced by the rich fabrics and fine ceramics in The Portland Collection and the secret landscape within the estate – creating islands of silk draped structures, hidden tunnels and overgrown gateways alongside ceramic artefacts from this imagined society.

A recording of our online gallery talk with artists Joanna Whittle and David Orme from the 25th September 2020.

‘Between Islands’ will show alongside the 2020 Harley Open and is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

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