The Phoebe Wortley-Talbot Legacy Project

Celebrating the life of Phoebe Wortley-Talbot

PWT Logo

The Legacy project is bringing together a skilful body of creatives to create a lasting portrait of Dartmoor. The aim of this collaborative project, run by The Dartmoor Trust, is that it will encompass the essence of the moor as interpreted through the eyes of contemporary practitioners. It will serve as a thought-provoking documentation of life on Dartmoor and the artistic processes photographers use today.

This project is to be run over two years. The first year is a collaboration of photographers, all with work based upon Dartmoor. Their work will come together, along with some historic imagery from the Dartmoor Trust Archive to form the exhibition 'Dartmoor Light and Shadow' taking place in September 2024 along with a further publication celebrating the photographers, our moor, and the legacy of Phoebe Wortley-Talbot. This book will be available to purchase at the exhibition and at various stockists after the show.

Light and Shadow jacket

The second year of the project is dedicated to painting and fine art, and will run in collaboration with The South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts. A second exhibition will be held in September 2025 to bring together the work of all the artists involved along with a publication celebrating their work.

Both aspects of this project aim to inspire young creatives in education. There is a Legacy Project Prize on offer to the photography students of Arts University of Plymouth granting a student a place in the first exhibition and book alongside industry professionals, as well as a financial grant to help kick start their creative career in the South West. The South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts will support an educational programme running heavily throughout the course of this project, working directly with schools and encouraging young artists to take part.

Who is Phoebe?

Phoebe Wortley-Talbot was born in 1926 and died in 2009 leaving a considerable sum of money in trust for her remaining family to use charitably, much of it supporting projects on her beloved Dartmoor which had been her home for many years. This became the Phoebe Wortley-Talbot Charitable Trust. During her life she was involved in activities aimed at protecting the moorland environment and preserving the traditional way of life on the moor. She often wrote to newspapers about issues relating to the preservation of the moor and gave talks on wildlife and travel. In fulfilling her legacy those running the Phoebe W-T Trust have given donations to various Devon- and Dartmoor-based organisations including the Devon Wildlife Trust, the Brooke Charity for ponies, the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust and the Dartmoor Trust. In 2023 a generous grant was made to the Dartmoor Trust, whose archive of 100,000 photographs of the moor is dedicated to preserving visual images free to public access. This grant resulted in this two-year programme inviting contemporary artists to provide their own interpretations of the moor.

Young Phoebe
© 2024 The Dartmoor Trust