Jacquiline Creswell

Jacquiline beside one of the sculptures in the Spirit and Endeavour Exhibition on the day the cathedral reopened after the first lockdown

You may not know the name of Jacquiline Creswell but thousands of people from Salisbury and beyond will have seen the fruits of her labours. For the last 12 years Jacquiline has curated Salisbury Cathedral’s art exhibitions. She has done this in a voluntary capacity. In this podcast she outlines her journey from a child born into the Jewish faith in apartheid South Africa to leading the team that has organised the amazing exhibitions in the Cathedral and Close.

Jacquiline’s artistic talent was recognised at the age of 5 when her school called her parents in to offer to pay for art lessons if they could not afford it themselves. She later attended the government funded Johannesburg School of Music, Art and Ballet before going on to study fine art at university specialising in sculpture.

Jacquiline’s road to Salisbury Cathedral was very varied and includes having her three children, running a successful textile business, living all over the world and holding exhibitions of her sculpture.

Paper doves disappearing into infinity in the Nave of Salisbury Cathedral
Les Colombes an installation by Michael Pendry
Paper doves swooping low over a medieval tomb
Les Colombes artist Michael Pendry's Doves swooping low over a medieval tomb

Her links to the Cathedral date back 12 years and in the podcast she talks about some of the most significant exhibitions she has curated including the post-Novichok ‘Les Colombes’ and the Earlestoke Prison project. She also speaks about the most recent exhibition ‘Spirit and Endeavour’ which has sustained many of us through lockdown in this difficult year. The impact and interrelation of art, faith and community can be profound and this is captured by Jacquiline as she describes her work.

Part of the Spirit & Endeavour exhibition Anthony Gormley figure hight up in Salisbury Cathedral
Spirit & Endeavour Anthony Gormley figure high up in Salisbury Cathedral
Spirit & Endeavour exhibition Henry Moore sculpture of reclining women in Salisbury Cathedral Close
Spirit & Endeavour Henry Moore in Salisbury Cathedral Close

The  success of this exhibition had been recognised more widely and it has been shortlisted for Exhibition of the Year by the Museum & Heritage Awards. 

Jacquiline’s work has also been celebrated by Wiltshire Life Magazine. She was honoured in the awards ceremony with the Chair’s Award. This award was presented by the retiring chair Helen Bichenough to an individual or organisation who has stood out to her personally as having made the greatest positive impact on the community during her 13 years as Chair. She felt Jacquiline as an individual had a transformative effect on the cathedral building, the city and the community “demonstrating the power of art and creativity to transform, to mend and to renew.”

ladders of light installation featuring neon red ladders up he walls of the cathedral reflected in the font
Ladders of Light an installation by Lemn Sissay MBE & Mary Branson

Article & interview by Barbara Evans

Index photo of Jacquiline credit  Ash Mills 

Jacquiline Creswell

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