Category Archives: Visiting Saltram

Poster & Photograph

On 19 May 2014 the group arranged to visit Karst and Saltram House to take some photographs for the exhibition poster.  We decided to use a single antique chair (provided by Jem Williams’) and a set of headphones to give the idea that the work was a sound piece.  Below are some examples of the photographs which Ellena Simpson took:

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Photographs by Ellena Simpson

As a group we decided on a photo which Ellena had taken inside The Orangery.  We felt that it made more sense to use a photograph from of part of Saltram’s grounds instead of Karst Gallery which had no relation to the project.  By using a photo taken of Saltram, it also linked to our proposal regarding sense of place. Ellena produced a draft poster as follows:

Draft poster by Ellena Simpson (spelling of Orangery needs to be amended)
Draft poster by Ellena Simpson (spelling of Orangery needs to be amended)

Discussion with Saltram House Volunteer

During our visit to Saltram House on 19 May 2014 to take photographs for the poster, myself and William Danby (after speaking to Rebecca Wickes) took a look around the actual house to get a better understanding of the history of Saltram.  While walking around the kitchen area, we noticed that there was paper on the worktop with suggestions people had made on what they would like to see in the kitchen space.  We spoke to Francis Williams one of Saltram’s volunteers regarding this and he commented that Saltram were interested in “bringing the place to life” for visitors with suggestions on how “it could be made more exciting” i.e. having the smell of bread cooking or volunteers dressed in period costume (Williams, 2014).

Visitor Suggestions: Permission from Volunteer granted to take photograph. Photograph by Helanie Moore
Visitor Suggestions: Permission from Volunteer granted to take photograph. Photograph by Helanie Moore

He also mentioned that Saltram House “used to play baroque music in the dining room” (Ibid).  This was particularly interesting to us as we could possibly find out the actual music that was played and use it in our sound piece.  Furthermore, it was interesting to hear that people want to have a more all round experience and this linked very well to our own project of wanting the audience to not only consider the visual beauty of Saltram but also the other sensory experience of sound.


Williams, F. (2014) H. Moore’s notes taken from a conversation with Frances Williams, Volunteer at Saltram House on 19 May 2014.

Sound Recording

Group members met with Olly Wickes and students of DBS at Saltram House on 29 May 2014 to take sound recordings.  Unfortunately I could not attend but Ellena Simpson updated the rest of the group as follows:

The collaboration will be run between us, Olly and DBS student called Sam Ware (other students could not commit because of the time of year or were not reliable and didn’t show!).

All sound recordings have now been produced.

Sam is going to research into appropriate classical songs, possibly relating to the era of the building. He will also look into Baroque.

Sam is free to commence with mixing next week, and is keen for us to join him in the studio. (Simpson, 2014)


Simpson, E. (2014) Facebook Group: Saltram Exhibition [online]. Available at: (accessed 03/06/2014)

04/02/2014 – Group meeting/sound recording

On Tuesday 4 February 2014, the group discussed ideas for the Saltram House Orangery exhibition.

It was suggested that we move forward with the sound piece idea and perhaps record some readings of historical literature which connects to Saltram House.  Jem Williams noted that she could contact Janine Rook – a lady who had taken part in a performance workshop (attended by myself, Jem and Reiss Portman) who had a good speaking, mediative quality to her voice.  We discussed the possibility of having a live performance, if Janine would be happy to assist.

Following the meeting, myself and Will Danby took some sound recording equipment to Saltram House to record some of the natural sounds of the area.  These recordings were purely experimental and the examples recorded such as walking over the gravel, the trees rustling in the wind and the water fountain, could be fed back to the rest of the group to discuss the effect they could create.



Visit to Saltram House, Plymouth: 21 November 2013

On Thursday 21st November 2013, the CURA300 students visited Saltram, Plymouth with a view to potentially putting forward a curatorial proposal in the forthcoming months for an exhibition during Summer 2014 in the orangery.

Saltram House is an Georgian mansion owned by the National Trust, formerly the home to the Parker family for 300yrs.  The picturesque grounds consist of the house, an orangery, gardens and a chapel.

As mentioned in the first paragraph, the orangery was the focus of our visit and we met with Saltram gardener Antony Cockell to discuss the building.

The orangery (designed in 1773) is a large rectangular building with three large bay front windows in the centre and two either side, totaling 240 individual glass window panes (48 per bay window).  The windows allow for maximum sunlight exposure during the summer months, which is ideal for a summer exhibition considering there are no fixed artificial lighting facilities in the building.  Furthermore, the building is open to the public from 11am to 4pm, so visitors should be able to view the exhibition easily during these hours without the need for extra lighting.

The Orangery, Saltram, Plymouth
The Orangery, Saltram, Plymouth

At present, the orangery (as the name suggests) is home to the citrus trees during the winter months.  The trees will naturally be moved outside over the summer, however the plants in the corners and along the back wall will remain.



The other physical obstacles to consider when curating an exhibition here, are the fixed statues and a corner sink in back left corner.


Also, the property is a listed building and therefore no fixings that could damage the walls can be used i.e. drilling screws into the walls for hanging work is a big no-no.  Similarly, the walls and floors etc cannot be painted.

There is the potential to use electrical equipment i.e. audio or projector equipment, as there is a power supply in the building.  However, with regard to audio pieces, there may be a problem with how sound travels due to the large open space and high ceiling.  If audio were to be used, sound/acoustic boards would probably be required.

With this in mind however, there may be an issue with using electrical equipment because the central bay windows are kept open, therefore allowing the natural elements to a

ffect the environment within the building i.e. heat, wind, rain etc.  Also, there would possibly be a need for a student to be present during the opening hours because of the lack of security over additional equipment used.

Antony also advised that there would be no money to fund the exhibition but he could look into the possibility of sponsorship.

There is no doubt, that the beautiful property and grounds are breathtaking and the possibility of curating an exhibition here is a fantastic opportunity for work to be shown in a popular and stunning environment.  However, the limits on what can be achieved could prove challenging.  Hopefully, through our student collaboration, we will be able to brainstorm ideas and use our imaginations to create something worthy of this striking, stately property.


National Trust (2014) Saltram [online] Swindon: National Trust. Available from: