In which the implications of the Sceptre in its finished form are discussed.
Like many artists and makers, I had been feeling that I ought to be more political in my work due to the enormity of geopolitical events over the eighteen months or so. In some ways, my work can’t help but be a bit political anyway - I am using precious materials and very traditional forms and techniques to create my pieces, which is currently quite unfashionable.
I am, however, trying to subvert the obvious traditional associations by the content and context of my work. ‘The Lily Holds Firm’ as a project uses religious imagery and aims to neutralise (or at least call into question) the associated symbolism of key ciphers.
Photo credit: Lindsay Cameron
The title ‘This Sceptr’d Doll’ * is a take on the quotation from Act 2, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare's play, King Richard II
"This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars ... This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England".
The play is an explicit description of an England in turmoil. What could be more appropriate?
As is so often the case when I work in this way, references appeared within the work as it developed. I find that the narrative pieces I make over longer periods of time (months, rather than weeks) become imbued with layers of meaning which I have almost subconsciously included. The 'brain', as a late development of the design, becomes an acidic political comment, as well as an outrageous gesture against the archetypal sceptre form. This sceptre has been reinterpreted as an object of ridicule, a parody of a power-signifier, a marotte.
*I will happily admit that the phrase ‘This Sceptred Isle’ is far more familiar to me from listening to the Radio 4 series.