Marble Hill House, Richmond, London, 2002
Marble Hill House, a villa beside the Thames at the outskirts of London was built in 1724-29 for Henrietta Howard (1688-1767), mistress of George II, later Countess of Suffolk, as a summer retreat from the cares of court life. Here she entertained the poets and dilettanti of the Augustan Age.
Invited to take part in an exhibnition in Marble Hill House I began to research about Henrietta Howard`s Life and I was especially interested in her contact to the literary scene of her time. Her friendship with Jonathan Swift, the writer of „Gulliver´s Travels“ finally drew my attention.
In order to bring a personal trace of Henrietta Howard in her house I scratched a mysterious quote from one of her letters to Jonathan Swift with a diamond in her bedroom window. In this quote she refers to a lesser known part of Gulliver´s Travels:
…may we hope, and, with some probability, expect, that, in time, our female Yahoos will bring a race of Houyhnhnms?
The terms „Yahoo“ and „Houyhnhnms“ are taken from Gullivers visit to Houyhnhnms Land, an island, where the horses(who call themselves „Houyhnhnms“) are the masters, the reasonable race
living like humans, while the human beings, called „Yahoos“ behaved and lived like animals without a trace of intellect.
Beside the window piece I also exhibited the two expressions in frames and placed them over the doors in the Wrought Room. There they acted like signs to guide Yahoos and Houyhnhnms out of
the room each by their own doors.