Chronicle of Curiosities

It is such a shame that due to the lockdown many people were unable to see this exhibition in person. To see the exhibits in more detail please click on an image to the left of the page for the gallery to be enlarged. We hope you enjoy this online version of the exhibition.

13 February to 3 July

We are delighted to have been working with Artist in Residence, Layla Khoo, during the past 18 months resulting in this stunning exhibition. The exhibition comprises museum artefacts as they’ve never been seen before, alongside new artworks made in response to these artefacts. The artworks consist of two different aspects, one to embody the artist’s own reflections on the collection, and the other to represent the people of Whitby and the ever evolving nature of collecting.

The Cabinet

One of the items which particularly fascinated Layla was the Ripley Cabinet of Curiosities. Cabinets of Curiosity were extremely popular in the Victorian era and were a place to collect all those objects which have special meaning to the owner. Layla took this idea and hosted a series of workshops last year in which she invited members of the public to bring objects which have a real meaning to them but would be seemingly worthless to anyone else. These objects were cast and are now housed in a modern day Cabinet of Curiosity alongside the Museum’s own Ripley Cabinet with it’s contents on display for the first time.

The Dinner Service

A table is laid for dinner, the guests all significant figures inspired by the museum collection and the history of Whitby. Each dinner guest has their own bespoke place setting inspired by themes within the museum, side plates link to these themes with verses inspired by the “Sunderland-ware” ceramics in the collection. The walls are adorned with ink illustrations on antiquated encyclopaedia pages, inspired by the extensive library collection, and the “Hand of Glory” has been liberated from it’s dark, mythic origins in the form of ceramic candle holders to light the table.

Layla is a North Yorkshire based installation artist specialising in ceramics and has recently received much critical acclaim for her “Changes in Attitudes” exhibition at Nunnington Hall.

Set for Dinner 2