Red Studio Enquiry

Red Studio Enquiry was a research and development project exploring the work of Mary Potter (1900-1981).

Hayley Field working at Red Studio

The project was a unique opportunity for the artists to work in residence at Red Studio, Mary Potter’s home and studio in Aldeburgh. Red Studio is situated in the grounds of The Red House (former home of Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears), which houses a significant collection of Mary Potter’s paintings. Each artist spent a week in residence, followed by a final collaborative week. This gave time for practice-based exploration and research of Mary Potter’s work and surrounding themes of gender and place. 

Work made by Jacqueline Utley during her residency week

The residency provided time to explore the surroundings and domestic space Mary Potter often painted. They each responded to the residency through their practice, whilst also conducting collaborative research during their stay. This included access to the Britten Pears archive, spending time with Mary Potter’s work, walking the surrounding area and connecting with a local artist who had been mentored by Mary and was able to share her impasto painting technique (of marble dust mixed with beeswax).

The landscape near Red Studio

As part of the residency the artists held open studio sessions and a final installation event, along with programming a talk on Mary Potter’s paintings accompanied by an exhibition of her work in the Red House Library.

Experimenting with Mary Potter’s impasto technique

A follow-up event, Red Studio Enquiry Conversations, was held at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich.  This provided a rich and exciting context in which to examine some of the key themes that emerged from the research through diverse speakers and activities. The day included a sharing of their research and experience of the residency followed by practical activities exploring a selection of work by women artists from the Ipswich Borough Council Collection led by the Drawing Exchange and Emma Roodhouse, Collections and Learning Curator. Further speakers included art historian Dr Mandy Bentley; Deputy Director of Raven Row, Amy Budd; and artist and Deputy Director of the V&A Research Institute, Dr Martha Fleming.

Drawing Exchange activity at Red Studio Conversations


Artists / Collaborators

Mandy Bentley

Drawing exchange

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Martha Fleming

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Rebecca Fortunum

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Jennifer Higgie

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Valerie Sinason

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We were awarded an a-n Review bursary 2015/16 to facilitate four professional critique meetings to reflect on Obscure Secure and develop our ideas towards Red Studio Enquiry.


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Mary Potter talk at the Red House

A specially commissioned talk on Mary Potter’s painting by Dr Mandy Bentley followed by a preview of Mary Potter exhibition in the Library selected  by Valerie Potter.


Mary Potter exhibition in the Red House library

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Saturday 18 March 2017
2 - 4pm
The Red House
Golf Lane
IP15 5PZ

Red Studio installation

An Installation of ideas generated by the residency.

Hayley Field video projection


Image of Mary Potter with Britten


Images and text research


Research material and work produced during residency

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Saturday 15 April 2017
11 – 5 pm
Red Studio
Golf Lane

Red Studio Enquiry Conversations

The day included a sharing of our research and experience of the residency followed by practical activities exploring a selection of work by women artists from the Ipswich Borough Council Collection led by the Drawing Exchange (artists Kayle Brandon and Lady Lucy) and the Museum’s Collections and Learning Curator Emma Roodhouse. Further speakers included: Dr Mandy Bentley “Mary Potter and Florine Stettheimer: case studies in fame, femininity and friends in high places”; Amy Budd on the development and outcomes of the exhibition 56 Artillery Lane which she co-curated at Raven Row and Dr Martha Fleming shared tips for working with collections.

Martha Fleming talk

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Saturday 23 September 2017
Christchurch Mansion
Soane Street


British Journal of Contemporary Painting

Baggage Reclaim, some thoughts on feminism and painting, essay by Rebecca Fortnum



Hayley Field / Red Studio Enquiry / Week One



Red Studio Enquiry / Week 2 / Claudia Boese



Red Studio Enquiry / Week 3/ Jacqueline Utley