Kathy Dalwood: The Secret Society – A Ballroom Banquet

A decadent sculptural banquet in a notorious Regency ballroom

In February 2014, a luxurious banquet scene will materialise in the renowned Regency Ballroom at Bath’s Holburne Museum. In a curious modern echo of the magnificent galas, dances and firework parties staged in the Ballroom from the 18th century onwards, a cast of sculpted characters created by London artist and designer Kathy Dalwood will take up residence for new exhibition The Secret Society: A Ballroom Banquet.

The exhibition is the sequel to Kathy Dalwood’s first solo show in a public gallery, the Sculptural Banquet held earlier in 2013 at Sir John Soane’s Pitzhanger Manor in west London.

The large-scale installation features a gathering of members from Dalwood’s celebrated ‘Secret Society’ plaster bust collection, amidst the aftermath of a lavish baroque dinner party. Among the characters at the surreal gathering are Tank Girl, Galileo, Miss Get-set-go, Ms Shakespeare, Miss Chatanooga, Mme Sacre Coeur and Highwayman’s Girl. Each wears a costume reflecting classical and contemporary styles and sources. The overall effect suggests such memorable fictional scenes and locations as Miss Havisham’s house in Great Expectations and the Mad Hatter’s tea party, as well as Venetian carnivals and grand masked balls.


The histories of fashion, architecture and design are clear influences on Dalwood’s distinctive plaster busts, which reference vintage Dior, classical busts and contemporary sculpture, Renaissance buildings and the modern architecture of Le Corbusier.

Each bust is modeled by hand and created using two-part moulds, casting directly from real objects such as model buildings and vehicles, fabrics and machine parts and, in the process, lending these often mundane objects an air of sophistication. Inventively adapting the materials, Dalwood creates costumes, accessories, hairstyles and headgear that bring the tradition of the plaster bust into the 21st-century.

Duration 15 February 2014 - 22 April 2014
Times 10am-5pm. 11am-5pm pm on Sundays & Bank Holidays
Cost Free
Venue The Holburne Museum
Address Great Pulteney Street Bath BA2 4DB, ,
Contact 01225-388569 / / www.holburne.org

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