Follow The Luck of Eden Hall

Explore the artworks throughout the Residence of the British High Commissioner to Singapore

About this display

These artworks from the UK Government Art Collection have been selected to showcase exciting new and established artists from across Great Britain and to reflect on the splendour and stories of Eden Hall. Built in 1904, the building shares its name with an exquisite 14th century glass beaker from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London – The Luck of Edenhall. Inspired by the worldwide travels of this vitreous vessel that echo the activities of the global Collection, the display highlights themes and effects tied to transparency, reflections, cultural exchanges and transformation in a range of artistic media dating from the 19th century to today.

exterior of a residence

Exterior of Eden Hall, Singapore. © Crown Copyright

Eden Hall was built in 1904 for merchant Ezekiel Saleh Manasseh from a design by R. A. J. Bidwell, who also designed the Raffles Hotel (1887) and the Goodwood Park Hotel (1900). It is however the name of the building that this display playfully references, telling a story that takes us around the world, and ends in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There, a small glass beaker is displayed, decorated with a scrolling motif outlined in gold and filled with red, blue, green and white enamel. It is known as The Luck of Edenhall and dated from the 14th century, probably from Syria or Egypt. This vessel ended up in the North of England and was named in the 17th century. The name is linked to superstitious beliefs that were attributed to such ancient artefacts in the region. In this case the cup was believed to have been dropped by fairies who called out ‘If this cup should break or fall, Farewell the luck of Edenhall‘.

Painted glass beaker

The Luck of Edenhall, 14th century, glass beaker © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Luck of Edenhall is over 600 years old and its condition and longevity make it a prized piece amongst the V&A’s glass collection. The building of Eden Hall itself references the influence of decorative ceramics and glass celebrated at the museum. The outside of this early 20th century villa is embellished with motifs, picked out in white that evoke the famous matt Jasperware of British pottery, Wedgewood (founded 1759).

The new display includes two sculptures in the Entrance Hall made by very different artists in the Government Art Collection, both born in other countries before making the UK their home. One is a sculpture by French artist Henri Gaudier-Brezska, who established himself in London in 1910. His carved vessel was commissioned through the groundbreaking Omega Workshop started by Roger Fry in collaboration with Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It is constructed with arm-like forms, with crude human faces holding a bowl; another of these bronze editions is held by the Tate. The second sculpture is a waterpiece by the acclaimed Singaporean-British artist Kim Lim, made of five curvilinear basins stacked one atop another. Born in 1936 in Singapore, she headed to London at the age of 18 to attend Central St Martin’s School of Art.

Throughout the house you will find works that reference vessels and glass, from the rubbings of windows in Victorian homes by Anna Barriball, to the print Still Life with Artificial Flowers by Hurvin Anderson, a homage to his British-Caribbean heritage featuring his mother’s prized vase that travelled from Jamaica to the UK with her. Look out for Robin Megannity’s strange composite vessel, created from digitally manipulating internet images and then meticulously painted. Howard Hodgkin’s Venice Evening brings us back to the journey of the original Luck of Edenhall, which surely will have passed through Venice, a hub of international trade mixing cultures and customs from East to West. The art work links back to both The Luck of Eden Hall and the house, Eden Hall, the vessel of this display, and itself an ornament and testament to British cultural connections across the world.

Entrance

Tacita Dean, Foreign Policy (screenprint edition), 2019

Tania Kovats, Santa Cruz, Galápagos, 2012

Water sculpture made of five stacked basins

Kim Lim, Waterpiece, 1979, bronze
© Estate of the Artist / image: Crown Copyright

Bronze garden sculpture with arms

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Garden Ornament, 1914/1960s

David Bailey, HM Queen Elizabeth II (1926- ) Reigned 1952-, 2014

Drawing Room

Painted leafy urban landscape with bay

Leslie Cole, Singapore, 1945, watercolour
image: Crown Copyright

Still life with sport figurines and glass vase on table

Hugh Micklem, The Old Glass Vase, 1953, oil painting
© Hugh Micklem / image: Crown Copyright

Stanley Grimm, Flower Piece, 1924

Wendy Pasmore, Oval Motif, Maroon, Ochre and Lilac, 1958

Ships and rowboat on sea

Thomas Goldsworth Dutton, Day and Son – The Clipper Brig “Lanrick” off Singapore, 19th Century, lithograph

Dining Room

Bird, flower and vase with decorative background

Craigie Aitchison, Still Life, 1975, oil painting
© Craigie Aitchison / image: Crown Copyright

Robin Megannity, being satisfied, 2019

Anna Barriball, Untitled, 2011

Glazed pottery plate with cross pattern

Quentin Bell, Pottery Dish: Maltese Cross in Lustre Glaze, c1940–80, lustre glaze pottery
© Estate of the Artist / image: Crown Copyright

Pottery dish with fish on blue ground

Quentin Bell, Pottery Dish: Fish on Blue Ground, c1940–80, glazed pottery
© Estate of the Artist / image: Crown Copyright

Garden Room

Rectangular painted shapes with spots on grid

Howard Hodgkin, Venice, Evening, 1995, etching and aquatint
© Howard Hodgkin / image: Crown Copyright

Image of a vase filled with plastic flowers on a table with ornate wallpaper behind

Hurvin Anderson, Still Life with Artificial Flowers, 2018

Louise Giovanelli, Sahara, 2018

Brown painted shapes with different factures

Robert Holyhead, Untitled, 2010, oil painting
© Robert Holyhead / image: Crown Copyright

Abstract circular doorway

Derek Hirst, L’Adieu Suprême des Mouchoirs, 1974, acrylic painting
© Derek Hirst / image: Crown Copyright

Office Corridor

Plastic carrier bag on black background

Stephen Palmer, 1: Delicious Food – Carrier Bag Top Ten, 2002, screenprint
© Stephen Palmer / image: Crown Copyright

Ballroom

Crescents and square shapes on orange ground

Sir Terry Frost, All over the Place on Orange, 1971, oil painting
© Estate of Terry Frost. All rights reserved, DACS 2016 / image: Crown Copyright

Quadrangle composed of coloured triangles

Stephen Selwyn, Pyramids, 1985, acrylic painting
© Estate of the Artist / image: Crown Copyright

Vertical painted lines

Ian Davenport, Poured Lines: Light Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Red, 1995, painting
© Ian Davenport / image: Crown Copyright

Corin Sworn, The Slow Liquidity of Glass, 2013

Light blue rectangles in outlined grid

Anna Barriball, Window II, 2007, pencil drawing
© Anna Barriball / image: Crown Copyright

Cornelia Parker, A Pair of Glasses, 2018

Painted flowers in pot on ledge

Jack Milroy, Lure of the Lepidopterist, 1980, acrylic painting
© Jack Milroy / image: Crown Copyright