Laurence Owen | Version: Great Fosters Hotel, Egham

4 November 2014 - 11 January 2015

Marcelle Joseph Projects is pleased to present V E R S I O N, a solo exhibition of Laurence Owen’s new paintings and ceramic works inspired by the Tudor history of the exhibition space. The exhibition will take place in the Anne Boleyn Room of Great Fosters, the former royal hunting lodge of King Henry VIII where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were rumoured to have stayed.  Taking a portrait of Anne Boleyn by Holbein the Younger, Henry VIII's appointed portraitist, as his starting point, Owen contorts his source material through repetition and playfulness, appropriating the Latin version of Boleyn’s surname, “Bolina”, like a graffiti artist’s tag throughout his paintings.  Drawing on historical speculation over the actual identity of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second Queen, based on the radically different portraits of her that were done during her lifetime, Owen has created his own contemporary version of the “authentic myth”, or as the artist puts it, ‘the possible exaggerations we have come to believe as truth, and hence, build our understanding on.’ 

Clustered above the fireplace, twenty ceramic death masks of Anne Boleyn confront the viewer, vying for attention with their succulent glazes that complement the palette of Owen’s surrounding paintings.  On the adjacent walls, twelve paintings of Bolina can be found, some abstracted, some more identifiable – all made with gestural brushstokes and a formal use of line and form that only hints at figuration in a metaphysical way - begging the viewer to decide whether to authenticate Boleyn’s identity or keep the myth alive.

Born in 1984 in the UK, Laurence Owen lives and works in London where he will finish his postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy Schools in 2015.  Owen graduated from Falmouth College with a BA in Fine Art in 2005. Recent solo exhibitions include those at Art Exchange, Colchester, UK (2012) and 20 Hoxton Square, London (2011 and 2009).  Owen’s work has been featured in the following recent group shows: Laurence Owen and Vivien Zhang, Rook and Raven Gallery, London (2014); Premiums Interim Projects, Royal Academy Schools, London (2014); At Home Salon, Marcelle Joseph Projects, Ascot, UK (2014); Iconoclasts, Lloyds Club, London (2011); 5 Artists, Post Box Gallery at Phillips de Pury, London (2008); 20 Artists, 20 Hoxton Square, London (2007); and In the Darkest Hour There May Be Light, Damien Hirst’s Murderme Collection, Serpentine Gallery, London (2007).

Great Fosters has been the splendid home to many an English nobleman with regal connections, and was once a hunting lodge for Henry VIII, and his daughter Elizabeth, whose royal crest can still be found above the main porch, dated 1598. The majestic property continued to change hands throughout history, before becoming a hotel in 1930. For more information, see


By Car:

Travelling south (anti-clockwise) on the M25:  Exit the M25 at junction 13. Go straight over the roundabout, as if re-joining the M25. Keep in the left hand lane, signposted A30 Egham.

Travelling north (clockwise) on the M25:  Exit the M25 at junction 13. Turn right at the roundabout, as if re-joining the M25 to go south. Keep in the left hand lane, signposted A30 Egham and continue towards Egham town centre. At the end of the slip road under the motorway bridge, turn first left at the large roundabout into The Avenue. Turn left at the mini roundabout (police station on the left) into Vicarage Road. Continue over the railway lines to the roundabout at the end. Turn right at the roundabout into New Wickham Lane and continue over the M25 motorway. Turn left at the next roundabout into Stroude Road and Great Fosters is approx 500 yards on the left handside.

Directions from the A30: From Bagshot to Staines on the A30, turn right at the traffic lights by the Wheatsheaf Pub and Laithwaites into Christchurch Road. Continue over the roundabout and past 2 parades of shops on the right. Turn left at the traffic lights into Stroude Road. Great Fosters is approximately three quarters of a mile on the right hand side. 

By Rail:

Any rail service to Egham Station.  Although the hotel is only 15 minutes walk from the station, we advise you take a taxi. Egham Taxis 01784 433 933; Gemini Cars 01784 471 111; Runnymede Taxi 01784 53 53 53.