|© Alison Coulston|
Crown, Magical Golland
29 x 22 cm
Crown made of dried bundles of grass coiled to form a base and bound together with coloured, plastic ties. The centre is covered in red leather with white fleece attached.
In 2000 the Historic Houses Trust (HHT) commissioned sculptor Alison Clouston to develop an exhibition inspired by the imaginary land of Golland. Eight-year-old Kathleen Buchanan Rouse (1878–1932) wrote her stories of Golland in the 1890s while living on her great-grandfather’s estate at Rouse Hill. Clouston wrote:
‘Although third generation Australian, Kathleen envisaged her Golland as an English place, peopled by kings, lords and duchesses. As hot, hum-scented winds crazed the painted shutters at Rouse Hill House, Kathleen withdrew to the interior realms of the house and her imagination. In the shadowy rooms of Rouse Hill House, distinctions between the inanimate and the alive become vague. Nature, the Animal, was all around her. Trophy heads loomed from the hallways. Furniture herded into rooms on feet scarcely evolved from hooves or paws, their muscles of horsehair stuffed and buttoned. Horns sprouted from the blades of knives, women preened themselves with the plumage of birds and the furs of foxes.’
Clouston drew upon the real and imagined realm of Kathleen to develop the exhibition Magical Golland She interwove the natural world of the Australian landscape with objects from Kathleen's domestic life to create a place where newly sculpted pieces seemed to animate the inanimate objects from days past. Clouston wrote of the Golland project:
‘As a sculptor I am engaged in a sort of conjury but one that purposefully reveals its artifice. Here I am stitching quills from a plastic comb into the fur of an antique stole, transforming it into an echidna skin. Here I am faking taxidermy.’
In 2000 Alison Clouston created a body of work for the exhibition Magical Golland, shown at Elizabeth Bay House from 25 November 2000 to 20 May 2001. The HHT subsequently acquired nine sculptural pieces from the exhibition.
Alison Clouston was born in New Zealand in 1957 and graduated with a Diploma in Fine Art from the Ilam School of Fine Art, Christchurch, in 1979. She has developed a focus on environmental sculpture, in particular with the Burragorang International Artists’ Workshop that she was instrumental in establishing in 2003. Clouston has exhibited widely in New Zealand and Australia and has collaborated extensively on a number of mixed media/installation works, notably with the composer/musician/sound artist Boyd.
Carlin, Scott, ‘A Victorian childhood at Rouse Hill’, Australiana, Vol 21, No 2, May 1999, pp43–46
Carlin, Scott & Clouston, Alison, Magical Golland: exhibition guide, 25 November 2000–20 May 2001, Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales, Glebe, 2000
Hise, Beth, ‘Magical Golland’, World of Antiques and Art, No 60, December 2000–June 2001, pp118–119
Pickard, William J, Kathleen Rouse of Rouse Hill: the road to Harbin, W J Pickard, Sydney, 1992