Roundwood House - Henrietta
Deep in in the countryside of rural County Laiose, Ireland lies the lovely country hotel Roundwood House. The house was bought by Frank and Rosemary Keenan in 1983 after it had been rescued from dereliction and restored by the Irish Georgian Society.
It was during the restoration around 1970 that the famous socialite and artist's muse Henrietta Moraes lived in Roundwood House and worked as its house keeper.Henrietta had fled the chaos of her life in London (where she was painted by Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud and was a close friend of Marianne Faithful) to find some tranquillity in Ireland. Her time in the house is described in her memoir "Henrietta".
I first came across Henrietta in Francis Bacon's studies for his portraits of her. Her pain, beauty and strength gripped me and I decided to use the the two dimensions of Bacon's work as the basis for a sculpture.
I chose to use Kilkenny Blue Limestone which is quarried not far from Roundwood House. The limestone was shipped from Ireland to England and the completed work made the journey, perhaps like Henrietta herself, by car and ferry from England back to Roundwood House.
When I installed the piece it seemed to fit so well into the gardens of the old house that I could not imagine it anywhere else. I have donated it to the house in commemoration of the exuberant and chaotic life of a most extraordinary woman.
Roundwood House can be found at https://roundwoodhouse.com/