Worth’s Folly

Bridgette Ashton’s work was inspired by the discovery of the Cattedown Caves in the 1880’s and their connection to the destruction and further reconstruction of Plymouth. A range of pieces were created for the 2018 Plymouth Art Weekender spanning sculpture, interpretation and charcoal ink drawings.

Worth's Folly by Bridgette Ashton, 2018Artist: Bridgette Ashton
Category: Temporary
Date: 2018
Location: View on our Public Art Map [desktop and tablet; requires Google sign-in]
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Commissioner: Visual Arts Plymouth, The Box
Producers: Plymouth Art Weekender
Supporters: Arts Council England, University of Plymouth, Plymouth Culture, KARST, Plymouth City Council and RIO

Project Description

‘Worth’s Folly’ was an exploration of the history surrounding the Cattedown Caves; documented in R. N. Worth’s book ‘History of Plymouth from the Earliest Period to the Present Time (1890)’ and used by Ashton extensively in her research.

Two sculptural pieces were situated outside the Theatre Royal. Designed as a response to the caves, they gave a hint to their proportions and scale. A series of billboards located opposite The Crescent gave further historic information about the remains that were discovered in the caves and their subsequent journey to the collections at The Box.

Detail of 'Worth's Folly', 2018 by Bridgette Ashton

Through working with The Box’s Natural History Curator Jan Freedman, Ashton was able to view the Palaeolithic human bones that were part of R. N. Worth’s initial discovery. The bones had previously been displayed at Plymouth Athenaeum. Sadly, many of the institution’s collections were lost or damaged during the heavy bombing of the Blitz in 1941.

Ashton also worked with the Athenaeum’s Art Group who made drawings of the bones. These were displayed at the Athenaeum during the Weekender.

In addition, a mini bus tour and guided walk called ‘Excavations and Equivocations’ took members of the public to the Cattedown Caves. Everyone who took part in the walk was given a special souvenir pack.

About the Artist

Bridgette Ashton is a UK-based artist whose work includes drawings, sculpture, photography and print. Many of her recent projects have engaged with redundant or overlooked sites, objects and archives. The scale models and finished pieces produced by Ashton reveal that layers of potential in things that have previously been forgotten.

Related links

Find our more about the artist on her website (Accessed 16 October 2018)

Read more on Worth’s Folly on the Plymouth Art Weekender website (Accessed 5 September 2018)