8.4 metre long photographic digital print on acoustic panels, National Trust Mottisfont
Commissioned by National Trust for new visitor centre (2016)
A capriccio is as an architectural fantasy formed by the placing together of buildings, imaginary views and architectural elements into fictional combinations. This could be a description of Mottisfont peppered with curious illusory spaces like the tromp l’oeil murals of the Whistler Room and wall cupboards which open to reveal the architecture of the C13th Priory, the concealment of which lies at the heart of its architectural growth.
Capriccio is a contemporary photographic trompe l’oeil reworking of Mottisfont on an architectural scale. It creates an illusory extension across the back wall of the new visitor centre presenting Mottisfont as a theatrical myriorama of spaces. This offers the visitor glimpses through its diverse interiors into different parts of the surrounding landscapes, gardens and histories with the font and early Priory placed at the centre of the construction.
Mottisfont is so multi-layered that it takes some time to experience the depth of the property and its different stories. Capriccio rearranges these architectural layers and details such as the paintings on walls, the arrows of the curtain rails, the font, the gardens, and landscapes in much the same spirit as Rex Whistler created his illusory fantasies. For instance an apple on a table makes reference to the story behind Mottisfont’s crab apple tree which is reputed to have been brought over from the garden where Napoleon was prisoner on the island of Elba. Mottisfont stands out as a quirky and artistic place sprung from a natural source – Capriccio is a reflection of this.