An agreeable space – A SENSORY CELEBRATION OF THE FEMALE PRESENCE

An agreeable space is an exciting new multi-sensory art installation by the artist Lorna Johnson celebrating the female presence. Combining over 140 adorned pew cushions scented with lavender, and in excess of 100 candles, it will offer audiences a heightened sensory experience in which to consider the lives of all the women who have passed through the very agreeable space that is the Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, York.

The piece opened in York in September before a planned tour across Yorkshire. The church has a history of strong female presence and was recently featured in the BBC period drama, Gentleman Jack as it was where Anne Lister married her partner Ann Walker at a blessing during Easter.

Ed van der Molen, Site Coordinator at The Churches Conservation Trust said:
“We are really excited to host this work. It will highlight an area of the church that visitors rarely consider, that of the people who used it and will prompt visitors to take the time to sit in the pews and consider the role of sight, sound and smell for those who have worshipped here over the centuries.
“Furthermore, the importance of female members of the congregation is one that is often overlooked. Holy Trinity is associated with one prominent woman (Anne Lister), but the stories and experiences of the women who were part of the congregation are obscured in both the popular imagination and the historical narrative. An Agreeable Space will centre these historical perspectives and invite the visitor to engage with the fact that this space was used by many women from all walks of life, from wealthy landowners like Lister, the well-to-do middle classes like the Sugar sisters, to poorer social groups. This particularly feminine-coded combination of religious and spatial experience will be highlighted by An Agreeable Space, and this will broaden the historical narrative attached to the church both for ourselves and our visitors.”

The artist, Lorna Johnson said:
“The church is mainly made up of stall pews, which would have housed each family attending church separately. Hence, I have covered half of the stall seating with cushions to represent the female congregation.
“The ruffle adorned pew cushions contain Yorkshire lavender, which when sat on, crush and release the scent – denoting the women who have passed through this space over the years and filling the air with their fragrance.
“I like that over time the cushions might get worn and dirty, much the same a Sunday dress. The hand sewn adornments use a variety of fabrics representing a cross section of society. These fabrics have been used together to represent this coming together and speaks of the interdependency of these women with one another in society and the possible changing fortunes of these women throughout there and their descendant’s lifetimes. Ultimately this place – Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, allowed all the women within these walls to sit still, rest the fabric that would have weighed upon them, to take in the space and what it offered them.”

Press Enquiries
For more information about the project or images and/or interested in hosting this piece, please contact Courtney Spencer | 07786181968 | court.spencer.court@gmail.com

Previous exhibited
Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, York – 1-18th Sept 2021, also coinciding with the nationwide Heritage Open days (10-19th September 2021)