8.7.15 “Gwrewgh Neppyth / Do Something” – 8 – “Astonishing Automata and Marvellous Machines”

A brand new exhibition, opened recently at Falmouth Art Gallery, has given one of Gorsedh Kernow’s bards a great opportunity to highlight the Cornish language.

‘Astonishing Automata and Marvellous Machines’ mostly features the work of Rodney Peppe but other creators of automata in Cornwall are featured including Carlos Zapata.

Falmouth Art Gallery asked him to create a work about Cornwall and the Cornish language and the result was an amazing wall mounted automaton featuring Dolly Pentreath surrounded by all the things you associate with Cornwall – mines, fishing, lighthouses, small boats and so on.

Carlos Zapata & Esme Tackley with the Dolly Pentreath automaton
Carlos Zapata & Esme Tackley with the Dolly Pentreath automaton

What’s more, Carlos Zapata’s Dolly Pentreath has a secret. A handle at the base of the work gives Dolly a voice – on turning the handle you can hear her speak in Cornish, courtesy of the real voice of Cornish language speaker and bard of Gorsedh Kernow, Esme Tackley from Falmouth who was delighted to be asked to help.

Bard Esme Tackley recreates the voice of Dolly Pentreath on Carlos Zapata's recent work.
Bard Esme Tackley recreates the voice of Dolly Pentreath on Carlos Zapata’s recent work.

Opened by Hilary Kay from The Antiques Roadshow in the presence of Rodney Peppe and Colombian artist Carlos Zapata, the exhibition continues in Falmouth Art Gallery until September. However, Dolly won’t be disappearing just yet as there are plans to take Carlos’ work around Cornwall and farther afield giving people a chance to learn more about Cornwall and the Cornish language.

Do you have an event in which you are “Doing Something for Cornwall”?

Please let Gorsedh Kernow know by emailing your story, with a photograph if you have one, to dosomething@gorsedhkernow.org.uk