30 Mar - 16 Jun

Marriage: Love + Law

A NSW State Archives exhibition exploring the social, cultural and legal history of marriage over three centuries

Autumn Exhibition Suite 2019

30 March – 16 June

Marriage: Love + Law is a NSW State Archives exhibition that explores the laws, beliefs and social attitudes that have shaped and reshaped marriage in Australia over three centuries. The exhibition presents unique and compelling account of the way in which society has regulated, celebrated and interrogated the institution of marriage.

The State Archives Collection lies at the heart of Marriage: Love + Law. Intensive research within and interpretation of the Collection has enabled stories of marriage to emerge. Developed into case studies of people, places and events—including the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer—some of this archival material will be on public display for the very first time. Visitors will enjoy engaging with the letters, Acts of Parliament, convict records, court documents, photographs, films, plans and reports all sourced from the State Archives Collection.

For Marriage: Love + Law, NSW State Archives has commissioned works by four of Australia’s most exciting visual artists. The artists, Danie Mellor, Blak Douglas, Raquel Ormella and Freya Jobbins, have each responded to stories and records sourced from the State Archives Collection. Specially commissioned pieces by writers Tara Moss, Kiera Lindsey and Judith MacCallum, and baritone Simon Lobelson—whose performance of Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s 1810 proclamation encouraging ‘lawful marriage’ is embedded within the exhibition—contribute to the colour and variety of perspectives that make up the history of the marriage narrative.

In addition to original archival material and new commissions, Marriage: Love + Law, features a diverse selection of creative and documentary works by 16  current and 12 past film and photographic artists. A large-scale ‘marriage album’ presenting documentary photographs from 1878 to 2018 offers a visual history of marriage ceremonies and celebrations over 140 years.

A public program of talks, workshops and events plus an exhibition catalogue, will accompany the exhibition.

Images, left to right: Sam Hood collection, Wedding of musical stars Madge Elliott and Cyril Ritchard, St Mary’s Cathedral, 1935, State Library of NSW; Sheridan Nilsson, Marriage of Anette and Kylie, 2018, courtesy of Annette Cairnduff and Kylie Gwynne


Marriage: Love + Law - Digital Catalogue

Find out more about the exhibition by viewing our catalogue

Learn More

Related Events