Charmed Life: The Solace of Objects

  • Exhibition
Photograph of an exhibition display case containing a selection of amulets, which formed part of the exhibition, Charmed Life: The Solace of Objects at Wellcome Collection.
Charmed Life: The Solace of Objects exhibition, David Sayer. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

This exhibition is the result of artist Felicity Powell's engagement with a collection of 1400 amulets assembled by the Edwardian amateur folklorist Edward Lovett.

One of the few people to have had access to this curious collection of 'charms', once carried in the pockets of Londoners for luck or protection, Powell was intrigued by the silent witness they bore to countless personal narratives, most of which are now lost to history. Despite being long divorced from their original owners, these objects, borrowed from Oxford University's Pitt Rivers Museum, seemed to retain an insistent sense that they might yet hold some hidden magic.

The films and artworks that complement her curation of the amulets show her own fascination with the small and intimate, as well as the accompanying compulsion to create images and objects that might themselves, as Michel de Montaigne described in 1850, help to anchor the soul.

This exhibition was shown alongside ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican Miracle Paintings’, as part of Miracles & Charms.