Guest Blog: Artist in Residence at Work

Peter Driver, our Artist-in-Residence has written posts at his blog about the work that he has been doing with us up at Basing House while we were excavating.

Peter is part of the team that is working now to develop a travelling exhibition all about the excavation.  We’ll keep you updated with our plans here on our blog.

I’ve copied Peter’s posts below, but please do visit his excellent blog here: http://reflectivediscontent.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/basing-house-artist-in-residence.html

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Basing House – Artist in Residence

by Peter Driver

Assembling the gear (including a lot of borrowed kit) to set up my studio at Basing House, Hampshire, where I am Artist-in-Residence for three weeks.

Makeshift studio set-up in the learning resource centre with my laptop,
Andy Reaney’s printer and the WSA monoprint  kit, including a
press improvised from a lasagne press.

Basing House was a very grand Tudor House, of similar design to the Tudor parts of Hampton Court Palace. It was owned by Sir William Paulet and visited by royalty including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Built on the site of a Norman ring and bailey castle, with evidence of earlier Romano British and Bronze Age activity, it has long been the subject of serious archaeological study.  The House was completely destroyed in a ‘great conflagration’ during the Civil War, with only the Great Barn and a few outhouses remaining.

Interior of the Great Barn at Basing House
(complete with Civil War period cannon-ball holes in the walls)

The current dig, by archaeologists from Southampton University, Hampshire Museums service and local volunteers, is excavating part of the earthwork defences erected hastily during the English Civil War as a first line of defence against Cromwell’s New Model Army.

De-turfing the 1960s excavation site – archaeolology about archaeology

As Artist-in-residence I have made drawings and photographs, the plan is to create a series of 8-page zines (foldy-zines each made from a single sheet of A3) I am producing them in real-time, during the dig, so far each member of the dig-team has received copies of Vol. 1 and Vol 2.

Vol 1 and Vol 2 – limited editions of 52

The first volume borrowed some of the style of a Civil War period pamphlet, the second was largely concerned with the team’s contextual visit to Hampton Court Palace.

Part of Vol. 1
Part of Vol. 2

Basing House is offering family activity days for two days per week during the dig. The students have created activities related to Tudor games, and archaeology. My artist friends Jeff Phegley and Mike Davies, came to help run silk screen print workshops, mostly for children, and to demonstrate monoprint and woodcut techniques.

Clear line of white chalk evident below the Civil War embankment level

By day nine, the archaelogists had removed most of the infill from the 1960’s excavation, revealing the edges of the box-grid digging system which was prevalent back then. This shows clear stratification of the ground level prior to the Civil War earth works and lower levels, where Romano British sherds have been uncovered.

Cleaning sherds of Romano-British pottery at the finds desk

The Basing House Dig – Zine Vol 2.5

Some of the outputs from the Basing House residency silk screen and monoprint workshop, collected into an 8-page foldy-zine. Work by Nicole Beale, Michael Davies, Peter Driver and Lucy Whitehall.

Back and Front covers

Big thanks to Peter Driver for this excellent post
and insight into the work of an Artist-in-Residence!

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