“..mix them together in porphyry, then in porcelain above warm embers.”
Unction is the eventual culmination of practical and archival research. Following a chance discovery of an allusion to a 17th Century recipe for the scented oil used to anoint British Monarchs, the formula has been translated, followed and realised. Working closely with a perfumer and various archivists, the blend contains essences and tinctures from across the ancient and natural world including Ambergris, Jasmine and Musk used in antiquity for their rarified exoticism as much as their perfume.
This work was originally installed at Chelsea College of Art and Design in September 2012 as part of the MA exhibition and subsequently at SVEART, valle d'aosta, Italy.
Made airborne via domestic diffusers, the oil imposes an egalitarian, secular anointing upon the graduating artists, artwork and building via involuntary inhalation or contact with micro-fine misted particles. On the Private View evening and throughout the exhibition the college welcomed several thousand visitors, who (whether aware or not) received it also, as the diffusers were positioned at key connecting corridors.
With thanks to:
Christine Reynolds Assistant Keeper of the Muniments, Westminster Abbey
Adrienne Beuse Ambergris NZ Ltd
Josh Spero Classics Tutor
Stephen Nelson Darasina Perfume
Dr Tony Trowles Head of Collections, Westminster Abbey
Patrick Crouch Head of Sculpture, Canterbury Christ Church University
Stephen Cox RA Sculptor
Sara Wallace Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
William Hunter Purity Fragrance Ltd
John Betts Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum
Martha Krumbach Royal Pharmaceutical Society Library
Tim Harker Technician, Chelsea College of Art and Design (CCAD)
Allen Paes, Cert CII.Commercial Account Handler, Hencilla Canworth Ltd
Gustavo Grandal Montero Archive & Special Collections, CCAD
Lorna Bircham MA Textiles Course Director, CCAD
Frank Hendry and Patrick O’Brien Facilities Management, CCAD
Martin Newth and Brian Chalkley BA/MA Fine Art Course Directors
Aaron McPeake Lighting Designer.
Michael Wisdom and Andy Mitie Group PLC
1. The Pharmaceutical Journal. January - June 1953, Vol. 170.
Published by: The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.
Kindly loaned by: The Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum & Library, London.
2. Porcelain tile
Kaolin grog clay
Shaped and fired to specification,
Chelsea College of Art and Design, London.
3. Imperial Porphyry slab.
Mons Porphyrites, Eastern Desert, Egypt.
Kindly loaned by Stephen Cox RA
Jasminum sabac: Jasmine flower
Citrus aurantium: Neroli – Bitter (Seville) orange blossom
Rosa damascena: Rose petal (otto & absolute)
Cinnamomum zeylanicum: Cinnamon bark
Styrax officinalis: BenzoinTinctures of raw Ambergris & Civet.
Moringa oleifera: Oil of Ben
Perfumer’s alcohol (Ethanol)
Purity Home Fragrance™ Carrier
Febreze™ 'Plug & Refresh' Oil diffusers
Gilded Westinghouse™ Ceiling fan