Sir Timothy Tortoise – work in progress

For our exhibition at Powderham Castle, Janec and are are each making one piece to go inside the castle, as a link with the designated exhibition room in the courtyard.

I’ve taken inspiration from the many ancestral portraits which hang on the blue rococo staircase (featured in the 1993 film The Remains of the Day, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.)

Here is the painting being (temporarily) replaced:

When my children were small, they loved visiting Timothy Tortoise who lived in the castle’s rose garden. Timothy died in 2004 at the age of about 160, having been brought to Powderham in the late 19th century after a career as a ship’s mascot in the Crimean War. Timothy was first discovered on board a Portuguese vessel in 1854 and later discovered to be female – (when named, it was not known how to properly sex a tortoise!)

I thought it would be fun to dress Timothy up as one of the Courtney family’s ancestors, complete with powdered wig. (I’m having great fun with this piece!) For the wig, I had the idea to use sheep’s wool found on the Powderham Estate. I put out an appeal on my village Facebook site for donations of scraps found while walking. By the time I discovered some pieces of sheepskin buried in my work room (which will be much easier to use), one of the local farmers had given me about half a sheep as they happened to be shearing!!

You can see quite a few shells and also some fossils (belemnites) on the face, which seem fitting for such an old creature. Obviously, the hair will need coiffing!!


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6 Responses to Sir Timothy Tortoise – work in progress

  1. US Jane says:

    What a fun idea idea! I can see how this one would be so entertaining to work on. Keep having fun!!

  2. Julia Barnard says:

    That’s hysterical, Jane! Timothy looks great!😜

  3. janeperkins says:

    Thanks Julia! Hope work going well x

  4. Sean F says:

    Wonderful! Although I do secretly wish she was in some elaborate gown after having to live 160 years as a fellow.

    • janeperkins says:

      Good point Sean – I only found out that fact when I was writing my blog – I had to research when she died and only found out all the other stuff then!

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