is an exhibition of new work by Emma Hambly that relates to Overbeck’s;
its situation, its heritage, the collection, and the garden. The property,
which is perched above the sea in a sheltered position just outside Salcombe,
Devon, was left to the National Trust in 1937 by Otto Overbeck. Otto had
made his fortune in the 1920s inventing an electronic device, the ‘rejuvenator’,
which purported to return vitality to those who had lost it. Current social
pressure appears to be inclined towards female youthening, but the rejuvenator
advertised hair regrowth as well as vitality renewal, indicating that
it was primary aimed at the male market; he sold lots of them.
The collection in the house, which is eclectic, can in part be attributed
to Otto Overbeck, and his interest in the local natural history for example,
but also contains additions from other sources, some known and some of
unknown provenance. The history of the site prior to his acquisition,
including its use as a convalescence home during the first world war,
is also represented. The stunning garden runs down the cliff around the
house and, being extremely sheltered, is home to an array of exotic and
tender plants, as well as other less sensitive strains, including the
extraordinary, mature magnolias.
The art works in this exhibition reflect this diversity, and the haphazard
acquisition of objects and experiences that we undergo through life. Some
of the works are embedded in a personal heritage, whilst others reflect
the house and its contents, the garden and the local area. The works have
been made in consideration of what and why we chose to conserve objects
or other aspects of our heritage; of our discernment of that process;
of the range of miscellany and specificity that determine our partiality;
of curiosity and nostalgia. And that nothing with a history can be defined.
The works are also steeped in consideration of changing tastes over time,
and the often political support that is given to (or drives) the evolution
of cultural predilections. For example, how time changes taste such that
the sophisticated becomes kitsch, and the kitsch sophisticated, or how
awareness of the natural environment, and a desire to conserve and protect
it, have led to the illegalisation of egg collections, as well as to much
of the work of the National Trust.
The exhibited works have been made in a variety of media to reflect this
multiplicity, and include paintings, drawings, photographs, embroidery
and mixed media pieces.
The exhibition will be open from 11 am to 5 pm daily (last entry 4.30
pm) from Monday 5th June to Sunday 16th July 2017 at Overbeck’s,
Sharpitor, Salcombe, TQ8 8LW.
note that National Trust members are free, whilst non-members are required
to pay an entry fee to visit the property (see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/overbecks