A Memory Palace of Her Own at William Morris Gallery 1/2

Photographs from my series ‘A Memory Palace of Her Own’ will be exhibited at the William Morris Gallery from 11 January to 9 March 2014.

Excerpt from an email I received from the curator of the William Morris Gallery, Carien Kremer: ‘We would like to offer you a slot in our 2014 programme, showing the photographs in the Discovery Lounge…It would be great to mark the commemorative year with a contemporary take on Jane’.

What are you proposing to display?
A series of four self-portraits. I visited several of Rossetti, Jane and William Morris’ former homes and took staged photos on location with the photographer Hein van Liempd. Referring to Jane Morris’ life story I transformed her world into my own, adopting contemporary clothing and poses.

On his Doorstep, Margje Bijl, 2011
(photograph by Hein van Liempd)

How is your work relevant to the William Morris Gallery?
The William Morris Gallery is one of William Morris’ two former homes included in my series ‘A Memory Palace of Her Own’. The other, Red House, was designed exclusively by William Morris and Philip Webb, who collaborated in the design of the ‘Green Dining Room’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum which is also shown in my series.

I cannot Love You, Margje Bijl, 2011
(photograph by Hein van Liempd)

Preparing for the Guests, Margje Bijl, 2011
(photograph by Hein van Liempd)

Are there parallels with the collection?
I took photos at Rossetti’s studio, as this is the location of the famous photo series of Jane Morris which was the incentive for my own project. In the archives of the William Morris Gallery I have studied the reproductions of this series. There, I also enjoyed the privilege of reading Jane’s letters. I have incorporated her handwriting in my photo of the Red House.

A New Pattern for the Empress, Margje Bijl, 2011
(photograph by Hein van Liempd)

Why is it of interest to our visitors?
In the course of my trips to London and Oxford I have seen many inspiring works of art and artefacts from various museums, archives and from one depot. In my work, I often refer to these objects or quote from the many works on the Pre-Raphaelites. As an artist, it is my hope that my personal viewpoint will supplement the existing works of art and artefacts in the William Morris Gallery to contribute to Jane and William Morris and Rossetti’s cultural heritage.