Edith Rimmington (1902 - 1986):
The Museum I, 1953
Framed (ref: 10585)
Watercolour, gouache, pen and ink on paper
29 15/16 x 22 1/16 in. (76 x 56 cm)
Provenance: Gifted by the artist to present owner
Exhibited: Dreamers Awake, White Cube Bermondsey, 28 June 2017 – 17 September 2017.
Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 75.
Museum I and Museum II are exceptional works in Edith Rimmington’s artistic production, in the sense that she never made works exceeding a 50 x 70 cm format. The pair were made following an exhibition of regalia that Rimmington saw in London in 1953, the year of the Queen’s Coronation, which gave her the idea of a counter-celebration of monarchy, with subtle ironic undertones. The King is represented with a gauntlet – the symbol of power and a challenge of combat (to throw down the gauntlet). Yet the king is also shown as a chess piece (alongside the bishop and knight), and reduced to a part in a game beyond his control. Lastly, the anachronistic airship - one of the ‘flying machines of those madmen’ from the early days of aviation – may symbolise man’s eternal (but doomed) desire to fly high.
The Queen is represented with lavish but useless trappings. The gloves and slippers are of no use to her; nor the tear- drop earrings, for she has no head, arms or feet. Like the king and the chess piece, the doll shows her as but a toy for some greater power.