Exhibition 1

Richard Slee: Mantelpiece Observations

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Richard Slee: Mantelpiece Observations

Saturday 12 September 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021 in the Temporary Exhibitions gallery

Richard Slee Intro image 1

This exhibition presents new work by Richard Slee, one of Britain’s most important contemporary ceramic artists. The newly commissioned pieces have been inspired by Mass Observation’s Mantlepiece Reports of 1937. The reports, with their fascinating lists of objects, reveal much about the tastes, preferences and preoccupations of people living in 1930s Britain. Slee’s work also explores questions of personal and national identity, history and taste, through his surreal transformations of ordinary domestic objects.

Richard Slee Gallery image 1

Slee has also selected 18 photographs by Humphrey Spender to hang alongside his mantelpiece ceramics. Spender was the lead photographer on Mass Observation’s study of Bolton and Blackpool in the late 1930s, and the 900 images he took for the project are held in the collections of Bolton Museum. Slee’s selection highlights the surreal side of Spender’s northern photographs.

Richard Slee Block woolly cat


A video tour of Mantelpiece Observations 

Matthew Watson, Museum Access Officer, takes us on a virtual tour of Richard Slee's Mantelpiece Observations Exhibition at Bolton Museum.


An interview with Richard Slee

Artist Richard Slee walks Sonia Solicari, Director of the Museum of the Home through the pieces he's been creating for the exhibit.