Folie a deux

Folie à deux is a coverlet exploring the controversial relationship between Eighteenth century writer Laurence Sterne and Eliza Draper, a married woman some 30 years his younger. By using examples of Sterne’s handwriting from the archives at the Laurence Sterne Trust, letters written to Eliza by Sterne that now only exist in printed version have been forged back into his hand and re-printed. These prints become the templates for the English paper piecing technique used to create the coverlet. In 1767 Eliza took the nine month sea voyage back to her husband in India. Sterne wished for her to return to England one day to live with him. A coverlet would be both a fitting pastime for Eliza’s long journey, a tribute to their relationship, and an addition to her room at Shandy Hall (Sterne’s residence) on her return. Eliza did return to England, however Sterne died only a year after she had left for India, and they were never reunited. The coverlet therefore remains unfinished.

Folie à deux was commissioned by the Laurence Sterne Trust, Shandy Hall, North Yorkshire after a residency in November 2010.

2011, fabric and digitally printed text on paper, 260 x 230cm