A journey into the magpie mind of Tessa Asquith-Lamb
THE world of “lost” things offers endless possibilities for artists, who are all storytellers at heart. Where did these things come from, who made them, what are they?
Artist Tessa Asquith-Lamb has always been fascinated by the tales behind objects, so much so that when she was a little girl, growing up in Yorkshire, she made her own museum in the porch of her house, organising her collection of objects and writing little cards for them.
“My work is for all those people who live out stories in their imaginations,” she explains. “Each image I create is assembled from drawings in my sketchbooks of beautiful things found in museums, in the depths of the woods, remembered moments, carefully observed self portraits, and objects from my collection of Victoriana and childhood treasures.”
In the past year, Asquith-Lamb’s overactive imagination has been fired into orbit following an invitation from Falkirk Community Trust’s exhibitions officer, Gillian Smith, at the start of 2018 to have a root around into the museum collection at Callendar House in Falkirk.
The resulting exhibition, Drawn from the Past: The Museum Mind of Tessa Asquith-Lamb, is an absolute joy. In two small rooms, Asquith-Lamb uses the museum collections as inspiration for her own pictorial flights-of-fancy. This encompasses detailed etchings, paper-cuts, poetry and her own collection of ephemera, including 19th-century toys and decorative arts, vintage glass bird Christmas decorations, crackers and ceramics.
Works from the likes of Alan Davie, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and Asquith-Lamb’s own artist father, Howard Asquith, sit companionably alongside these artworks and objects.
One of her new etchings, Paper Memories, which features Callendar House in the background, forms part of a series called Reynard Considers. Reynard is a fox who prowls around Asquith-Lamb’s imagination as well as her art. Floating around in the foreground, there are objects she has sketched from the Falkirk Community Trust collections, including a terracotta statue of a goddess with a dog and ancient ice-skates found under a window sash in an old shop in Falkirk.
There is a reference in this work to the almost-forgotten art of “pinprick
Tessa Asquith-Lamb’s exhibition features etchings such as Paper Memories (below), paper-cuts and items from her collection of Victoriana