Precious Cargo: Eliza Draper, an Absent Presence

Exhibitions and events

Precious Cargo: Eliza Draper, an Absent Presence

2012 - 29th June 12
Shandy Hall


Precious Cargo: Eliza Draper, an Absent Presence

The Precious Cargo project ‘An Absent Presence’ focuses on the relationship between Laurence Sterne and his muse, Eliza Draper, before and during her long sea-voyage to India in 1767.

Three months after they met, and as Sterne says ‘took fire at each other at the same time’, Eliza had to sail back to her husband in India, and Sterne wrote to her almost every day.  Eliza's half of the correspondence no longer exists, although spurious versions were published in the late 18th century. Responding to the published letters (and perhaps the counterfeit versions), artist Carolyn Thompson has created an installation within the room (not normally open to the public) in Shandy Hall that Sterne intended especially for Eliza - although she never came to live or stay there. Although absent from Sterne and absent from the house, she was ever-present in his mind during the last months of his life.

Precious Cargo is part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme Stories of the World which is led by Arts Council England in partnership with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

For more information visit our 'mini-site' Precious Cargo.

Open everyday except Saturdays 11.00 - 16.30. Free admission (does not include Gardens)

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