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There Is No There There

A La Ronde, National Trust, Exeter, June 2016

In 1784, the Parminter cousins embarked on a Grand Tour across Europe. They visited several major cities and famous tourist sites. Only part of the original journal that described their grand tour is left, as the latter part was stored in the records office in Exeter that was unfortunately destroyed in World War 2 during the Blitz. The remainder of their time in Europe is largely unknown and is pieced together by subsequent family members. Using the absence of their personal records, artist Holly Davey has reanimated this lost history by creating a series of photographs using similar landmarks, locations and viewpoints to tell an imagined pictorial version of the lost journal.

This intervention consists of a series of photographic images made from paper negatives. Like undiscovered fossils these photographs echo a forgotten moment in these women’s lives, documenting a visual journey through a Europe from over two hundred years ago. The series of images crescendos towards a view taken from the top of Mont Buet, in the Alps, the ladies Mont Blanc or affectionately known as ‘Parminter Peak’. The Parminter cousins are said to be the first women to climb the mountain and reached the summit - 3000 metres above the sea. 

These unseen images of their tour are made from contemporary google images of the same locations that the women visited, the same buildings, landmarks and views refocused through the contemporary lens of the Internet.  By using google images of each location, the audience will be able to see a reinterpretation of the cousin’s journey through the landscape of Europe today.

This project is supported by Arts Council of Wales and Swansea College of Art, UWTSD.

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