Port Eliot has the rare distinction of being a Grade I listed house with a Grade I listed park and garden. Like most houses, Port Eliot has a front door and about there the similarity ends. There are 11 staircases, 15 back doors and 82 chimneys. The roof covers half an acre and not once in living memory has it been completely watertight. The contents of the house reflect the accumulation, over 400 years, of an ever-prospering family who have lived in the same house. Port Eliot represents the patrimony of one family; it is also in a very small way a part of the heritage of this country. Maintaining this legacy falls on various bodies; government institutions, special interest groups and private individuals. After the Second World War, it became clear to the mandarins in the Treasury that one of the most cost-effective methods of preserving this heritage was by giving tax concessions to private owners. In return the owners would agree to their house being open to the public.
A-Side were approached by estate owners-Lord and Lady St Germans to produce a comprehensive guide book detailing the history of the estate to incorporate written commentaries, photographs and illustrations. Port Eliot-a Guide is a 48 leaf, perfect bound book featuring an elephant skin-textured cover with white foil blocking. Acclaimed photographer Martin Parr provides his signature high-saturation images which feature throughout, while Ptolemy Dean’s impressionistic sketches add a further experiential layer to the guide.
Born of the mighty Elephant Fayre, the Port Eliot Lit Fest took its first steps in summer 2003, learnt to walk in the following four years, took a break in 2008 and bounced back in 2009 as the Port Eliot Festival. Port Eliot’s organisers enlisted A-Side at a crucial stage in the festival’s evolution – they were looking to really up their game on a national and international level and attract a younger, more diverse audience who might not consider going to a ‘literary’ festival. We worked with the renowned illustrator Ralph Steadman, applying his trademark scrawl for the festival logo and campaign image. This was then applied to the website, marketing materials, a lavish 54-page guide book and merchandise.
After record ticket sales in 2009, A-Side were commissioned to create a campaign of equal stature for the 2010 festival, this time we appropriated a paper sculpture created by Michael Howells at the 2009 festival to sit at the core of the marketing materials and merchandise.