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Title: Kettle's Yard : anti-museum, H.S. Ede, modernism and the experience of art
Author: Fisher, Elizabeth Anne
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis attempts to tackle the question of what is, or more precisely, what was Kettle's Yard, by exploring the intellectual origins of the institution initially conceived and developed by H.S. Ede. Ede bought Kettle's Yard in 1956, and began to welcome visitors into his home in 1957. As a private initiative, Kettle's Yard promoted an unusually intimate encounter with art. Following its transferral to the University of Cambridge in 1968, Kettle's Yard still offered a qualitatively different experience to that of a conventional museum. Over the last fifty years, the ineffable quality of the visitor's experience has inevitably changed. One of the motivating questions for me, through this research, has been how or even whether Kettle's Yard now differs from other collection museums, and what that means in terms of understanding the institution Ede originally founded. It was also my aim to situate Kettle's Yard in relation to a rich history of experimental museum practice and private philanthropy. My approach has been to map a genealogy of key ideas and influences that shaped Kettle's Yard. My research focuses primarily on the interwar period, which roughly coincides with Ede's time in London between 1919 (when Ede returned to London after active duty in the First World War) to 1937 (when he resigned from the Tate Gallery and moved to Tangier). This was a formative chapter in Ede's life. I also seek to draw pertinent comparisons with other collection museums and 'modernist' institutions from that era. I begin with an introduction to Kettle's Yard and to Ede himself. Chapter 2 looks at Ede's activities and intellectual interests in the interwar period, taking into account the wider cultural context with which he is engaged. In Chapters 3 and 4, I examine the prevailing themes of spirituality and the home in relation to Ede's engagement with modernism, and his relationships with artists and other key figures. I trace the eventual expression of Ede's beliefs in the collection and interiors at Kettle's Yard with reference to relevant archival materials, including Ede's book on Kettle's Yard, A Way of Life (1984). Finally, I come back to my original question to assess what Kettle's Yard means today.
Supervisor: Massing, Jean Michel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Kettle's Yard ; modernism ; museology ; anti-museum ; H.S. Ede