Female stories highlighted in stunning new ceramics exhibition

Posted on: Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Last week saw celebrations of International Women’s Day take place worldwide, with messages of female empowerment lighting up social media. At Newark’s National Civil War Centre, the spirit of this important occasion is continuing to be honoured with a brand-new exhibition celebrating female stories open from now until Wednesday 3 June.

Tubthumping is a remarkable display of ceramics by acclaimed artist Emilie Taylor. Her creations blend the traditional with the contemporary, using 17th century slipware techniques to portray modern everyday images of women at play groups, against backdrops of council flats and more. Taking position in the museum’s fifth floor gallery, these incredible works sit alongside a powerful object from the Centre’s own collection, a scold's bridle, used to humiliate and punish women who spoke their minds in the 1600s.

Councillor Rhona Holloway, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Visitors at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “The contrast between Emilie’s ceramics, putting women’s stories in a traditional place of honour, and the scold’s bridle, which was literally used to take their voices away from them, is an amazing message, taking women from silenced to celebrated. This is a truly remarkable display from an acclaimed, up and coming female artist, and Newark is extremely lucky to be able to host it. I strongly recommend that local people pay it a visit, especially with entry to the National Civil War Centre just £4  for district residents.”

Funded by Arts Council England, the exhibition is the result of a yearlong collaboration between the Centre’s Exhibitions and Collections Manager Glyn Hughes and Sheffield ceramicist Taylor. She said: “It has been a rich and interesting process that has developed my thinking- and my knowledge- beyond what I could have imagined. Alongside finding new inspiration I have also found grounding and context from the past for the issues that concern me now.”

In just a few weeks, the exhibition will be joined by an installation of films in the Centre’s Tudor Hall which all portray women from the Civil War. Many of these are dramatic clips bringing the characters’ stories to life but there will also be some light-hearted content with the aim of being more accessible to families and younger audiences.

For more information about the new Tubthumping exhibition, visit www.nationalcivilwarcentre.com/seedo/exhibitions and for updates about the film installation coming soon, visit the National Civil War Centre Facebook page.