Full and part-time students from all year groups of the Fine Art BA (Hons) degree were encouraged to individually respond to any aspect of Pallant House Gallery’s Queen Anne townhouse that interested them. Students looked at the townhouse’s location, history, design and architecture, and also the Gallery’s role as one of the south’s most important centres for modern and contemporary art. The challenge for students was to create a piece of work that both reflected their own personal approach to studio practice whilst commenting on a characteristic of the house which they particularly responded to. The act of researching and preparing their applications also gave the students valuable experience in working with art galleries and creating proposals.

A panel of Pallant House Gallery staff including Curator Katy Norris, Head of Learning and Community Sandra Peaty and Co-Directors Marc Steene and Simon Martin selected ten proposals from students which will now be brought to life in the Gallery spaces.

A booklet created especially for the exhibition will guide visitors through the house, helping them discover works of art in unexpected places such as bedside tables, window ledges and hearths. The exhibition will enable the public to see the house in a new light and to understand more about its original inhabitants and the works of art that hang in the rooms.

Some students were inspired by the occupations and pastimes of the original 18th century owners of Pallant House, Henry and Elizabeth Peckham. Andrei Precup’s five wine bottles pays tribute to Henry Peckham’s first occupation as a wine merchant, while Debbie Attwood and Stephanie Reed have created works that use embroidery and fabric swatches to comment on the skills that many 18th century women had to employ.

Nikki Wilson was inspired by both the location of the house at the site of an old malt house, and the crop barley, which has been grown in the Chichester area for centuries. Her demijohns and pint glasses containing growing barley will be found in window recesses by the lift.

The pair of ostrich sculptures outside the front entrance to the original Pallant House provided inspiration for two students, Sue Coleman and Mary Darken.  Sue Coleman’s Ostrich Egg is decorated with the name “Shippham’s” a reference to C. Shippham’s Ltd, a local business and member of the original Friends of Pallant House. Mary Darken’s textile sculpture and cushions were inspired by the sculpture’s resemblance to the dodo. The stone mason originally commissioned in the 18th century to create the ostrich sculptures had never seen one before, inadvertently creating figures that looked more like a dodo.

Other proposals took inspiration from artworks currently on display in the house. Shelley Bock’s three ceramic hyacinths reference Lucian Freud’s Self Portrait with Hyacinth in pot (1947-48) and Yayoi Lidbetter’s postcards invite visitors to write personal responses to two artists represented in the collection, Lucien Freud and David Bomberg.

Chloe Bedwell’s piece will help visitors see Pallant House Gallery in a new light by asking them to answer a provocative question by adding coloured counters to a perspex box, while her photo book will give new perspectives on details within the rooms.

The installations will be on display throughout the townhouse of Pallant House Gallery from 26 January to 6 March 2016.