“Love Henry” by Tahiti Rae

When I started this blog it was going to be neither a shopping blog nor a travelogue. (It’s actually turned out to be very little of anything but I’m working on remedying that.) Despite the fact that tonight’s post is about an amazing place to visit, I’m still not going to write a cool places blog. If you’re looking for that you can hardly do better than Honour McMillan’s. She more than adequately fills that niche.

So why am I going on about an amazing build? Because it’s too amazing not to. “Love Henry” by Tahiti Rae lives on LEA8. It’s not an abstract installation or just a beautiful build put there just for its own sake. It’s a construct centered on a historical question and the build draws the visitor in to examine that question and participate in a discussion about it.

The conundrum arises from a letter Anne Boleyn purportedly wrote to Henry VIII very shortly before her execution. What, the visitor is asked, might have happened if Henry was moved by the letter to spare Anne and indeed they continued on and had a large family, including one Henry IX? Investigating this counterfactual takes the visitor wandering through a sumptuous period library, a stunning cathedral surrounded by amazing gardens and, further.

The first step past the landing area, which I suppose I should say is at LEA8, is a very large library. It’s a bit darksome for all its high ceilings but the build is top quality, beautifully textured. Pride of place on the wall opposite where you come in is given to a translation of Anne’s purported letter. You can have a read. Imagine what Anne was feeling, how Henry might have taken it… if he read it at all.

But unlike so many educational presentations, things don’t stop there. You can vote on whether you think it’s really Anne’s letter or not. Drop a notecard explaining your reasoning if the mood takes you. Similarly with the question of whether or not Henry ever read the letter.

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