Technique and condition

The following entry is based on an interview with Tracey Emin at Tate Britain on 26 August 2005, as well as the conservation record held in Sculpture Conservation.

An installation comprising eleven solid plaster seagulls all cast from the same mould.

Across the back of each seagull are cut out felt letters which spell ‘I COULD HAVE REALLY LOVED YOU’. There are hand tool markings on each seagull where the plaster surface was individually finished by the artist. The seagulls were then brush painted with white paint.

There are holes drilled through the wing tips and tail of each seagull for installation purposes. The birds are hung from the ceiling through individual lengths of Perspex wire knotted to further lines of wire fixed across the ceiling under tension. The birds are positioned so that they are gently angled towards the gallery floor. This means that the lettering is barely visible from the ground. Emin noted in the interview of August 2004 that she wants the Tate Britain 2004/5 display layout to be used as a guide allowing for subtle variations when adapting to different gallery spaces.

The seagulls are in good condition with minor signs of wear and tear. Any changes, such as yellowing of the paint and subsequent minor damage caused by natural ageing, are acceptable to the artist.

Jodie Glen-Martin and Bryony Bery
August 2005