Shell House showcase: Iford Manor, Wiltshire
Iford Manor has been home to the Cartwright family since 1965. Many of us will have enjoyed its surrounding gardens, designed by Harold Peto but I wish to focus on a private walled-garden within the estate.
A secret garden where Elizabeth Cartwright has designed and decorated her own retreat where she writes poetry.
The Shell Pavilion
Elizabeth studied drawing and design under Signorina Marina Simi in Florence and her carefully delineated mosaics can be found on garden structures and of course within the Pavilion. She incorporates an early Greek myth - Roberos, the world of snake, into her designs. Unusually, for an artist, she uses a narrative to connect all the emanations (Belinda Eade's shell work at Cherkley Court also relies on mythology).
Every wall in the pavilion is covered with imagery -- Fauna addressing a central Green Man within the Tree of Life...A Woodpecker with legs, a deer sphinx, a vegetable god, blackbirds, a donkey...
Yet the feel is English/rural suggested by the framework of oak leaves. The artist has sourced only local shells - scallops, mussels, oysters and cockles from Welsh and English beaches.