Grimstone & Savery 2012
Grimstone and Savery was specifically conceived to celebrate Australia's National Year of Reading in 2012. The inspiration for the exhibition grew from a fascination with the intriguing lives and works of Australia’s little known first novelists – Mary Leman Grimstone and Henry Savery. Savery’s largely autobiographical novel, Quintus Servinton, was published in 1831, and Grimstone’s extremely rare Woman’s Love, in 1832. The authors were both from well-to-do English backgrounds and wrote their novels in Tasmania in the 1820s. While both experienced periods of success in their lives, they also suffered from nervous dispositions, had difficult love-lives and both probably died as the result of suicide. Savery cut his own throat and Grimstone consumed disinfectant.
The work features a mausoleum-like structure with two separate entrances, two videos and two ethereal soundtracks. It also includes the voice of the late Sir William Crowther, relating how he purchased extremely rare copies of Grimstone and Savery’s novels in the 1950s, which he later donated to the State Library of Tasmania.
Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts Gallery
Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office,
Multi-media installation with sound and moving image.
Paint, curtains, gold leaf, plywood structure (2.2m (h) x 2.4m (w) x 2.4m (w), 2 videos with accompanying soundtracks (2” loops), 1 sound track featuring the voice of Sir William Crowther (10”), first editions of Woman’s Love (1832) and Quintus Servinton (1830).
Photography: Matt Newton
With special thanks to: Gerard Willems, Tracey Allen of Liminal Graphics, Mark Cornelius of Clockwork Beehive, Phil Blacklow, The Sound Preservation Society of Tasmania, Spicers Paper and Caitlin Sutton.
Brigita talks about Grimstone & Savery with Sarah Kanowksi on ABC Radio National's Weekend Arts.
Books and Arts Daily interview on ABC Radio National with Michael Cathcart and Cate Kennedy. Brigita talks about the Reading Room and Grimstone & Savery.
Mary Grimstone, represented by a black tulip. Animation by Clockwork Beehive.
Downloads & Links
Henry Savery, represented by a rotating orb. Animation by Clockwork Beehive.
This project was made possible by the Australian Government’s regional arts program, The Regional Arts Fund, which gives all Australian, wherever they live, better access to opportunities to practice and experience the arts.