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You are in: Cornwall > History > Local History > The Glasshouse Men

Lenticulars by Lorna Tremayne © Heligan Gardens Ltd

The Glasshouse Men

The Lost Gardens of Heligan will be marking the 90th Anniversary of the Armistice with a garden exhibition entitled, 'The Glasshouse Men' by Australian born artist, Michèle Noach who will be exhibiting a series of her unique Lenticular art works.

Lenticulars are made by interlacing separate images which then have the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles.

"The joy of lenticulars, for me, is that the viewer can partly control what they see, like a very short film or flick book that you can play over and over." – Michèle Noach

Visitors will be able to enjoy the exhibition by exploring Heligan’s Walled Gardens and productive areas. Mounted in the panes of glasshouses and working buildings such as the Melon House, Vinery and Head Gardener's Office, the installation commemorates the Gardeners of Heligan lost in the First World War.

Lenticulars by Lorna Tremayne © Heligan Gardens Ltd

Lenticulars by Lorna Tremayne © Heligan

On an early exploration of The Lost Gardens, the Thunder-box Room of the Melon Yard revealed some poignant graffiti: "Don't come here to sleep or to slumber", under which fifteen gardeners had signed their names and written the date – August 1914

The date marked the beginning of the First World War, a war that was to last until November 1918. Heligan, its gardeners, their families and friends were not to be spared the trauma, heartbreak and death that ensued.

"This installation is a reminder that everything was affected, everything sacrificed, everything decimated. Even gardens. This is a short-term celebration and memorial for those families of the gardeners, many of whom still live locally. I am hoping to make the vanished lives of those gardeners briefly vivid again." – Michèle Noach

" This is a short-term celebration and memorial for those families of the gardeners, many of whom still live locally"

Artist, Michèle Noach

Armistice has come to signify not only the ending of World War One but also its anniversary serves as a time to reflect on all conflicts both past and present.

The installation of these distinctive lenticular images in turn draws on the American Civil War, the first truly "photographed" war, after which the poverty-stricken Confederates were reduced to recycling the glass photographic plates of themselves, as glasshouse panes.

These held fading images of the dead or defeated soldiers for years, until the sun bleached them away. Michele Noach's lenticular panes, made for occasional sections of the Heligan glasshouses, will act as an echo of this post-Civil War practice.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Heligan's timeless atmosphere is epitomised by a sense of human history and a strong sense of place. It is evoked through the working buildings and horticultural practices of past and present influence employed in the Productive Gardens today.

Throughout the gardens the relics of times gone by stand in living testament to the everyday life that revolved around Heligan and act to preserve the past whilst living in the present.

This installation draws heavily on the historic atmosphere of Heligan and serves to remind us of the great loss suffered by both local and international communities after the First World War. 

"Heligan has something of a reputation for ghosts: I'm hoping to provide them with a window to look out from." – Michèle Noach

‘The Glasshouse Men’, between Tuesday 4th and Friday 28th November 2008.

Michèle will be at The Lost Gardens of Heligan on Tuesday 4th November, between 11am and 1pm, giving visitors an exclusive opportunity to meet the creator of these unique art works.

last updated: 05/11/2008 at 13:12
created: 29/10/2008

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