2012 • Nymans

Nymans House and Garden is a National Trust property known primarily for its exquisite English garden, which has been designed and developed by three generations of the Messel family.

Unravelled introduced twelve new commissions by artists using or subverting the notion of craft into the house and grounds. The works are all site specific and are designed to create interventions within the historic house setting or within the garden.  Unravelling Nymans brought together a group of artists who could lend an unusual perspective to the story of the house, revealing something of its history and bringing to life the members of the intriguing Messel family. The artists made a number of trips to the property, their research bringing out themes of childhood and play, as well as dressing up and theatricality.

With a keen interest in theatrical pursuits, the Messels turned Nymans into a stage set, a playground for fantasy and dressing up; it was something of a halcyon era, a pre-war paradise. They liked to commission beautiful costumes and put on grand productions, often for their own entertainment. The Unravelled artists found a rich archive of inspiring material including scrapbooks, clippings and photographs, the majority of which featured Oliver Messel and his sister Anne Messel, the 6th Countess of Rosse. The artists responded to the many different stories that they discovered during their research, including the fire that destroyed much of the house in 1947, the boy evacuees who lived at the property during the second world war, the theatrical productions that Oliver Messel designed costumes and sets for, and the relationships between the various women who lived at Nymans.

Friday 4th May 2012 – 31st October 2012

Information on how to get to Nymans and opening times click here

Lauren Frances Adams

Lucy Brown

David Cheeseman

Steven Follen

Sally Freshwater

Gavin Fry

Caitlin Heffernan

Guy Holder

Matt Smith

Alec Stevens

James Sutton

Julian Walker