Friday, 10 June 2022

Adelaide V Hall


Lace created by Adelaide V Hall a dressmaker, whilst incarcerated at St Elizabeth’s insane asylum in 1917. 

This artwork measures just 9.5 by11.5 inches and shows several figures amidst snakes, insects, and birds, as well as various other symbolic images. Hall explained to her psychologist that work told the story of a woman who longed to be simultaneously a virgin and yet a mother, told with a cast of characters each symbolising some type of sexual relationship: some have anatomically incorrect male genitalia, there is a skeleton, the Virgin Mary, and various couples. Then there is the protagonist, the One Woman, who apparently symbolised Hall herself.

It was associated with the complex relationship Adelaide had with her father who had molested her as a child. Adelaide died at St Elizabeths shortly after WW2.

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