Heart Agency

< <

The Marvellous Mechanical Museum, Compton Verney

The Marvellous Mechanical Museum, Compton Verney

Compton Verney Art Gallery commissioned Stuart Patience to create a series of artworks in response to the surreal short story of The Sandman by ETA Hoffmann. Written in 1816, The Sandman tells the story of a man (Nathaniel) who falls in love with a clockwork doll (Olympia) thinking she is real.  Nathaniel subsequently descends into madness when he discovers what everyone else can see: the mechanical limbs at work beneath the doll’s dress. Sigmund Freud would go on to base his essay, ‘The Uncanny’, on this text.

The artworks appeared within an exhibition ‘The Marvellous Mechanical Museum’ at the gallery in Warwickshire, UK, which explores automata throughout history and features works created by artists across four centuries including Rebecca Horn, Paul Spooner and Tim Lewis.

Read The Guardian’s review here.

Artwork title: ‘Spellbound’ – Nathaniel staring at Olympia sitting at the window through the telescope

Throughout the story, the narrator, Nathaniel is observing Olympia from afar. In reference to this, Stuart framed all four artworks within a circle, as though being viewed through a lens or seen through Nathaniel’s eye.

View overview of project