Tag Archives: Saltram House

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: https://www.facebook.com/groups/634939613238668/ (accessed 03/06/2014)

Plan of Action

On 28 May 2014, Ellena Simpson had expressed her concerns that we were running short of time with regard to the project and because we had our last assessment in the next few days and summer show, we were not making The Orangery Exhibition our priority.  I advised Ellena that I would write up a plan of action and post on Facebook as follows:

1. Need TITLE for exhibition urgently so that poster and press release can be sent this week to Rebecca (at least she will have all info when she eventually responds)… I later suggested the title Synaesthesia 
(the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body)

2. If Rebecca does not reply ref poster/press release, confirm if ok to go ahead with Edith and print a couple of posters (one could be placed in studio 11 for summer show). Poster printing costs £6-8each in creation. Also email Jake May in college marketing with press release.

3. Meet with Olly ASAP to sound record at Saltram and discuss other audio to be mixed in i.e. classical music – baroque? and possible recording of Janine Rook reading passage from Morley/Austin letters? Students met with Olly Wickes on 29 May 2014

4. Chase up insurance.  Edith later received confirmation that we would not have to pay for additional insurance for equipment.

5. Make sound boards – these need to be designed, priced up and made – will not be able to use studio 11 but between us I think we have plenty of tools etc – sunny day building in garden it is!

6. Source free/cheap furniture.


On 29 April 2014 Reiss Portman drafted up the following proposal for Saltram House to send to Deep Blue Sound:

Saltram House Orangerie Exhibition Proposal

A concept based around ‘experience, aura and sense of place’ has been proposed amongst the group for the upcoming summer exhibition at Saltram House.

Using furniture, text and sound recordings to explore the theme of escapism we intend to create, within the space, reflections of the ‘experience, aura and sense of place’ of the present location and historical themes relating to the surrounding vicinity.

The sound recordings will be specifically made for the exhibition, and will focus on sounds produced within the grounds of Saltram that are easily over looked, birdsong, trees in the wind and walking on gravel for example; combined into one or a number of sound pieces. By distinctly focusing on these sounds it is easier to immerse yourself within a place, situation or certain experience, which is something people desire whilst visiting.

Saltram’s historical links with literature will be explored within the show through a live book reading at the opening, relating to the idea of ‘escaping in text’. The text used will be taken from the letters exchanged between Jane Austin and The Countess of Morely, Frances Talbot. This text not only offers an insight into the history of Saltram but also offers a personal experience that can resonate with the audience, again creating a new experience, aura and sense of place.

We have established a connection with Deep Blue Sound Music College to collaborate with throughout the exhibition in order to provide work experience for the students in exchange for loaning equipment; this is currently under negotiation.

Soundboards and antique furniture will fill the space and inhabit the role of sculptures, becoming aesthetically pleasing as well as technically beneficial.

These methods will amalgamate into communication with the audience. The aim of this exhibition is to highlight the unseen yet essential contributing factors, which combine to form the Saltram Experience.


Correspondence: Rebecca Wickes

Ellena Simpson emailed Rebecca Wickes, National Trust with the email addresses of each student involved in the Saltram House Orangery exhibition and also inquired about asking Deep Blue Sound for assistance.  We received the following response:

Hi everyone

Thanks for the contact details.

It was great to meet you all last month, your project sounds very exciting and I’m really pleased that Saltram is involved. I’ve attached a volunteer registration form for your all to pop your details on – this way you will be able to claim back travel expenses to and from Saltram for the duration of this project. When it comes to putting in references, just put Edith, we won’t need any more than that.

The best person to approach at DbS Music is Olly Wickes (email given). I’ve planted the seed with him already and he is keen to know more so, over to you!

I look forward to seeing you all again soon and hearing more about the exhibition.

Warm regards


Volunteer registration form

27/02/2014: Meeting with Rebecca Wickes and Anthony Cockell

On Thursday 27 February 2014 the students met with Rebecca Wickes, National Trust and Anthony Cockell, Gardener of Saltram House at Studio 11.  Below are brief notes I took during the meeting:

Earliest starting date: Monday 23 June 2014
Needs to be emptied/cleared by: Thursday 7th August 2014
Possible performance
dates(Jem Williams advised that Janine Rook would be happy to assist):  any date between Monday 23 June and Sunday 27 July -the earlier the better (bear in mind open air evening performance of Pirates of Penzance is on Friday 4th July)

Possible assistance:
Deep Blue Sound (Rebecca’s husband is a lecturer) – sound:
They will need a detailed plan/proposal asap – also possibility of using their equipment (Jem Williams and Reiss Portman have been given a freestanding board during their Bbroots project which we could use/adapt as a sound board).
Saltram House Tour Guide – literature info:
Can give further historical info and also have access to Saltram archives (won’t have to contact Devon Records Office).

Travel Expenses:
Rebecca to sign us up as National Trust Volunteers so that travel expenses can be claimed.

Press Release:
National Trust can provide press release template. Will also need to liaise with PCA Marketing Team.

Seating etc:
Saltram House currently in the process of obtaining furniture for chapel tearoom and there may be a surplus of items we can use. Also Rebecca suggested looking at knightssurplus.co.uk, Little Camden Market etc.  (We could create a seating area within the orangery to allow visitors to sit, relax and listen to the sound piece – creating a social hub).

Contact info:

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.