Highly regarded by local the community but yet be discovered outside the boundaries of the borough of Barking. Eastbury Manor House finds itself located in an unusual setting among scrap metal yards and cottage-style homes estate by the A13. This atmospheric grade I listed Elizabethan house dates back to 1650s and has been home to a number of tenants over the years and its latest resident will now be the University of East London.  In collaboration with Eastbury Manor House the artist Rob Reed was invited to create several works that explored the “Nature of Place”. Simultaneously the proposed work would engage in conversations about our heritage and its place in the community.

{This Must Be The Place}

Mapping the Manor

March 7 - May 20, 2018

{This Must be The Place} maps the historic territories of Eastbury Manor by walking the many footpaths, pathways, passages, underpasses and bridges all of which find themselves hidden in the commonplace. Rob Reed’s paintings examine how these environments can offer a sense of tranquility and affect the human condition. The resonance of the historic site is built upon each other in unrealized typologies which often cause confusion in the present. His project identifies these lost spaces and questions their need to be valued into a contemporary communal plan. 

 

By working closely with the Household's archive Rob Reed examined the many ordinance survey maps, identifying how over time the grounds of Eastbury gradually reduced in size and where previous sites belonging to house once existed. 

The map below pinpoints the several locations explored by the artist, identifying the locations of the old tile barn, the local pond and the parameters of the household grounds, created by the arterial road and streams.

Eastbury Maor House map 1919

(Oridnance Survey 3rd edition map of 1919)

“Rob Reed’s paintings formed part of the inaugural exhibition programme to investigate and map the lost and hidden landscapes of Eastbury and its surrounding environment. His paintings were exhibited in one of the historic rooms, the South-West Chamber. Rob’s paintings are a provocative statement of the current contemporary urban environment in which Eastbury now sits. The scale of his paintings are small, they are painted in a delicate and sensitive manner, with an almost photographic attention to detail. With these paintings, Rob has succeeded in creating an intimate moment for the viewer to reflect and consider the now empty, seemingly soulless and non-descript corners of this locality; with abandoned areas of broken paving stones and weeds, a lost river with overgrown embankments disappearing inside concrete tunnels, a graffiti-marked single bridge which residents cross daily, to past histories. Visitors have been intrigued by the painted ‘scenes’ and those that live locally have been excited to see familiar sights re-represented in a textural painterly expression. Rob has created a wonderful contemporary mis-en-scene; an exhibition of work that is forlorn and yet by their sheer presence an artistic statement to remind us not to look away, to keep looking more closely and for me, to see that beauty can be found in the most unsuspecting of places.

Rob Reed took the utmost care and consideration during his residency to understand the historical narrative of Eastbury Manor House. His approach to working within the context of a Grade I National Trust heritage site was both professional and artistic. This was evidenced in the final paintings that were exhibited at the house. Rob’s curatorial understanding of working with a historic environment developed over the length of his residency and both senior management and staff from the Council’s Heritage Services were delighted with his contribution to the inaugural exhibition of the partnership." 

 

 

 Tamara Horbacka

(Eastbury Manor House, Cultural Policy and Commissioning Manager)

For opening times and to check what events are on visit 

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/eastbury-manor-house

Eastbury Manor House

Barking

IG11 9SN

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© All images copyright Rob Reed.