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Tyntesfield brings faith back to family chapel   

7th September 2016

Categories: News

National Trust Press Release


Issued on Tuesday 6 September 2016



Tyntesfield brings faith back to family chapel   

The National Trust is working in partnership with Arnolfini to bring the work of contemporary artist Daphne Wright to Tyntesfield - its Victorian Gothic house near Bristol.


The exhibition, titled Emotional Archaeology, is presented over both sites and is a survey of work spanning 25 years by the artist Daphne Wright. 


Tyntesfield is showing major projects by the artist which resonate strongly with the history of the estate, including Prayer Project (2009) and Bulls (2002).  The exhibition at the Arnolfini includes restored, loaned and new works such as Where do Broken Hearts Go? (2000), Stallion (2009), Kitchen Table (2014) and Domestic Shrubbery (2009).


‘This exhibition offers an intriguing insight into Daphne Wright’s sculptures, prints and films.  I have described Wright’s unique approach to making art as emotional archaeology because it uncovers hidden truths about our culture. It is a privilege to work across two such different sites that have an important role in supporting artists from the 1800s to today,’ said guest curator, Jo Lanyon.


The Victorian family chapel at Tyntesfield will house Prayer Project; a series of film portraits of individuals of different faiths in the intensely private moment of prayer and meditation. 


‘We felt that the chapel was exactly the right place to show Prayer Project.  It was built as the ultimate expression of its founder, William Gibbs’ (1790-1875) religious beliefs.  Books in the Tyntesfield library show the family’s spiritual journey, reflecting deeply on faith and different religious beliefs’ said Tyntesfield Curator, Susan Hayward.


By contrast there will be a series of photographic portraits and casts of bulls and stillborn calves sited in family rooms within the main house, spaces which look out over the estate with long associations with dairy farming.  The artworks provoke the consideration of mankind’s complex relationship with breeding.  Wright’s work draws analogies between the Bull as the patriarch or ‘head’ of a family, and the way that a farming family is emotionally invested in their animals’ reproductive life.  


Wright has been based in Bristol for nearly two decades; she has divided her time between this city and Ireland. Often working from her studio at home, her practice is imbued with the emotive but unsettling power of the suburban and the domestic realm, drawing upon references from art history, literature and film to nonsense poetry and Country and Western music.


Daphne describes her work as being, ‘the result of a relentless curiosity into the way in which materials can create an involvement with often unspoken human preoccupations.’


A new publication will accompany the exhibition. Daphne Wright: Emotional Archaeology, edited by Josephine Lanyon, is available from the Tyntesfield and Arnolfini bookshops. This survey includes texts by; Brian McAvera, Art Critic, Irish Arts Review, Xa Sturgis, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Penelope Curtis, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; and Shirley MacWilliam, Ulster University. The book also includes an almost complete pictorial catalogue of the artist’s works.

Daphne Wright: Emotional Archaeology at Tyntesfield runs from 10 September – 20 November and at The Arnolfini from 30 September – 31 December. For more information call 0844 249 1895 or see


For further information and images about Tyntesfield or the National Trust please contact:
Peter Hall
, Tyntesfield Marketing & Communications Officer, 01275 461 963

Allan King/Rowen Mackenzie/Sarah Lazare, National Trust SW Press Office 01275 378452


For further press enquiries about Arnolfini please contact:

Tim Bleszynski, Head of Brand, Communication & Development, +44 (0)117 917 2300



Bulls George (2002), a polymer intaglio print ©Daphne Wright

Drawing of a bull by Tyntesfield’s Victorian owner Anthony Gibbs ©National Trust

And two photos from

Prayer Project (2009) ©Daphne Wright


Notes to editors


About the artist

Daphne Wright’s sculptural languages and conceptual tactics are quietly influential. She has exhibited extensively in England and Ireland since 1994. Commissions include Ham House, Trust New Art, Hanbury House, Worcester and Carlow County Council, South Tipperary County Council and Cork City Council.


Reviews have published in the following newspapers: The Guardian, The Times, The New York Times, Boston Herald, The Daily Telegraph, The Irish Times and Sunday Tribune. Texts have also been included in the periodicals Flash Art, ArtForum, Art Monthly, Time Out, Contemporary Visual Arts, Third Text, Circa and Irish Arts Review.


Publications include: Traits of Sidney, Daphne Wright, with essays by Laura Mansfield and Shirley MacWilliam, Daphne Wright: Home Ornaments, essays by Francis McKee and Simon Morrisey, (the artworks programme) Profile: Daphne Wright essays by Penelope Curtis and Simon Morrissey, (Gandon Editions) They’ve Taken to their Beds, essays by Fiona Bradley, Shirley MacWilliam, Mebh Ruane and Rob Stone (Spacex, Exeter)


Works by the artist are held in the following collections: Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Rhode Island School of Design Museum .USA; Towner Art Gallery, Sussex and private collections in Ireland and the UK


Wright (born 1963, Ireland) is represented by Frith Street Gallery, London, and was elected as a member of the Aosdana, Irish Association of Artists in 2011. She lives and works in Bristol and Dublin.



About the curator

Josephine Lanyon is a writer, producer and curator. She has curated the exhibition and edited the publication Daphne Wright: Emotional Archaeology for Arnolfini, Bristol, National Trust Tyntesfield and Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin. She was the Director of Picture This in Bristol for ten years until 2009, and produced new film commissions, touring exhibitions and publications with artists such as John Wood & Paul Harrison, Marcus Coates, Rosalind Nashashibi, Emily Wardill and Ben Rivers over sustained periods of time. Prior to this, Lanyon worked at Arnolfini as a curator and Norwich Gallery on the East Exhibitions. She continues to develop exhibitions, art writing programmes and new film productions with artists.


National Trust Tyntesfield

A stone’s throw from Bristol, Tyntesfield was not built as a bold and extravagant statement of wealth, power or politics, instead its purpose was simple; to serve as a family home. At its heart Tyntesfield is a Victorian country house and estate, which serves as a backdrop to the story of four generations of one family; the Gibbs.  Their achievements are celebrated through ornate Gothic carvings, flower filled terraces and an expansive estate set amongst the Somerset countryside. Their tale charts an accumulation of wealth from the Guano trade in South America, a transformation of a Georgian house into a Victorian Gothic masterpiece, and collection of over 50,000 objects; both ordinary and extraordinary. The Tyntesfield estate is open every day except 25th December. For further information please visit:



Woven into the fabric of Bristol since 1961, Arnolfini is a pioneer of the interdisciplinary contemporary arts, presenting an ambitious programme of visual art, performance, dance, film and music. Housed in a Grade II listed, fully-accessible building at the heart of the harbourside, Arnolfini is an inspiring public space for contemporary arts and learning, welcoming half a million visitors each year and offering an innovative, inclusive and engaging experience for all. An internationally-renowned institution, Arnolfini supports and develops work by living artists, investigating their influences and aspirations, and celebrates the heritage and wide-reaching impact of the organization by sharing a 55 year archive of exhibition slides, publications and artist book collection with the public and artists, inspiring new commissions.

Find out more about Arnolfini and our current programme at

Arnolfini is a registered charity (number 311504)





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