Sowing Colour, a vivid installation of more than 200 porcelain pots by Natasha Daintry was unveiled in the Dome Room at Chatsworth in 2018.
Sowing Colour is a specially commissioned site-specific ceramic installation for the Devonshire Collection and a bold addition to the current Duke and Duchess's growing collection of contemporary art and design.
Natasha Daintry has long been admired by them both - a ceramicist of international acclaim known particularly for her experiments with glazes, using a high-white porcelain as the luminous ground on which to explore colour.
Situated in the Dome Room, the piece comprises 238 coloured pots burgeoning down in a coloured explosion from tiny to monumental, embodying the dramatic and dynamic progression of Fibonacci’s mathematical sequence that underlies natural growth. Texture, reflection, scale, multiplicity, colour, muscularity and delicacy will all play a part.
The Duke of Devonshire has been collecting the works of Natasha Daintry for a number of years including ‘Stalking Purple’; ‘Skin Deep’ and ‘Halo’.
The Duke said: “The first work of Natasha’s I acquired was Stalking Purple 2011. It remains one of my favourite ceramic suites and I am still thrilled by the purity of the glazes she uses. “Soon after this acquisition I visited her in her studio with our then curator of ceramics, Hannah Obee. From that visit and after long discussions, initially with Hannah then with Natasha as well, we came to what is now Sowing Colour.
“For me this has been an immensely interesting and enjoyable experience and I am confident that the commission will very quickly become a favourite with visitors to Chatsworth.”
Inspiration for Sowing Colour came from the garden and landscape of Chatsworth, and the house’s relationship to the word ‘culture’, in the sense of human culture, as well as the cultivation of earth and plants. Natasha was struck by the vigour of swirling plant roots in the vegetable garden and envisaged a work pulsing with energy using colour and dramatic shifts in scale. The Fibonacci sequence gave her a dynamic structure to express movement through fired static pots.
Starting at the top of the installation, a mass of tiny coloured pots grow near to 1m in height at the base of the piece embodying the vigorous progression of Fibonacci’s mathematical sequence. This sequence of growth (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and 13) is expressed in both the dimensions of the pots as well as the height of the space they inhabit in each layer. Natasha developed over fifty glazes to create a riot of finely balanced coloured pots, which cascade down eight layers of shelving to radiate colour.
Natasha said of the commission: ‘This project is my most ambitious to date and has taken almost two years to complete, involving many technical challenges of working in porcelain on this scale and collaboration with technicians and engineers. It has been a joy to make and is wonderful to see it finally installed.’
This is the current Duke and Duchess’s third ceramic installation following on from Edmund de Waal’s Sounding Line (2006) and Jacob van der Beugel’s North Sketch Sequence (2014).