The Last Lady of Hardwick


Workshop / Identity / Branding / Interpretation

Motif Creative were approached by the team at Hardwick Hall, one of the grandest properties of the National Trust, to interpret the story of Evelyn Cavendish the Last Lady of Hardwick. 

The first stage of the process was to run a workshop, which would create an environment of creative collaboration. The team at Hardwick brought knowledge and ideas to the table. We captured the valuable insight into the history of Evelyn and her character, and started to sketch out ideas that were both imaginative and told her story to inspire visitors.

The output of the workshop was a huge collection of concepts drawn on to a large floorplan of Hardwick Hall. From there, ideas and concepts developed into themes which explained Evelyn’s life story, her family history before her marriage, her relationship with Queen Mary and duties as Mistress of the Robes, her role in the community and how she helped those around her. The story weaves around the first floor of Hardwick and ends in the Bedchamber; the same Bedchamber used by Bess of Hardwick, another formidable Lady of her period. Here we drew on parallels to Bess and also explained many of Evelyn's virtues.

The range of material we produced to help tell the stories was vast and varied. From the very first meeting there was a desire to move away from large, text heavy, graphic panels. So we spread the story over a variety of formats. From a stylized silent movie, to messages embroidered on towels and linen, an enormous table runner that depicts Eveyln’s time line to commissioning a life size interpretation of her Ceremonial Robes, richly embellished with extracts of her letters to her family and Queen Mary. From stretched canvases on tapestry stands to fascinating snippets hidden in drawers and travel trunks. The story ventured outside into the East Court where we produced graphics that gently float just under the water line of the Fire Pond. Throughout the process we worked alongside the team at Hardwick, experimenting and trialling our ideas to make sure the end result met our expectations.

It has been an incredibly journey to help the team at Hardwick tell the story of Evelyn; a fascinating lady. Both rewarding in the final outcome of what we have achieved and in the positive reaction from the early visitors to Hardwick.