National Trust Trelissick commissioned me to interpret the life of one of the richest owners of Trelissick House.

This is what Jane Pugh (former) Creative Programme Manager at Trelissick says about the work:

‘A fresh interpretation that was of the highest quality, fun and engaging, was what we wanted and what we got from Alessandra. In addition, she created a show-stopping exhibition piece that literally made visitors to National Trust Trelissick stop in their tracks when they saw Alessandra’s work. As soon as this project was completed, we commissioned her again’

An Art Project At Trelissick House

National Trust Trelissick commissioned me to interpret the life of one of the richest owners of Trelissick House. 


Ralph Daniell, wife Elizabeth and many children lived there in 1813, when Ralph then aged 50, purchased the Trelissick estate from the Trefusis family for the sum of £28,000, which is around £1.6 million in today’s money. In the relatively short period of time they owned it, two generations of the family brought about many changes to the house and grounds thanks to their wealth and creativity. Their story is also one of the best examples of the ebb and flow of fortunes that affected so many of the wealthy mining dynasties of Cornwall.


Inspired by the idea of opulence and wealth and imagining how individuals of their status would move around in their own homes, I decided to make the figures of Ralph and Elizabeth larger than life.  The dress representing Elizabeth takes up a whole section of the West Library, the hoop of the skirt 3 metres in diameter.  A cascade of coins starts at the bodice and tumbles down to the ground in a spiral.  She literally is dripping with money.


Ralph is also a tall presence, suited in velvet and lace as would have been the fashion at the time. His boots firmly placed on a mound of coins as if to say; ‘every step I make I leave a trail of wealth’.


Extending the theme of wealth to include engaging younger visitors, we created ‘Build your own Estate’. This was an interactive set of wooden building blocks, trees and golden horses that children could use to create their estate on a large green felt lawn.



DATE: June 2017
CLIENT:  National Trust