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I have been spending time at Chatsworth, in the House, studying and drawing Verrio's painted ceiling 'Return to the Forgotten Golden Age'. The Golden Age represents one of the five Ages of Man described by the Greek Classical Poet Hessiod. (Following the Golden Age are the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, the Heroic Age and the Iron Age). The Roman Poet Ovid reduced the concept to four, (Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron).
The Golden Age symbolises the birth of man- a mythical time of peace, harmony and abundance. In subsequent Ages humanity deteriorates, the Bronze Age being the dawn of violence and greed. Each succeeding Age becomes worse than the last and the Iron Age is our present.
Chatsworth and Manor are places with long and rich histories. In retrospect it is easy to become nostalgic and view the past as Golden, split off from the present. The gold lustre of the past and the iron oxide of the present sit side by side on my pots. In this ceiling I have found a focus, as well as the trigger for many questions about how we might hold the ideals of the past and the reality of the present together.