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An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, 1976, 2023

An Edible Family in a Mobile Home will travel to the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester to coincide with the tour of Women in Revolt!  7 March – 1 June 2025  

From 8 November 2023 to 7 April 2024, Tate Britain presented a restaging of Bobby Baker's radical sculptural installation An Edible Family in a Mobile Home, which had not been seen for almost 50 years.

Originally staged in 1976, a replica of Baker’s prefabricated east London Acme house was sited outside Tate Britain on the South Lawn. It contained five life-size sculptures of family members made from cake, biscuits, meringues and snacks, which were steadily eaten by the public. Visitors to Tate Britain were invited into the home to sample the edible sculptures whilst browsing the interior, and talking to hosts trained by Baker herself.

The installation was part of Tate Britain’s major exhibition Women in Revolt! Art and Activism 1970-1990 featuring over 100 women artists and celebrating their often-unsung contribution to British culture. Photographs of Baker’s original sculptural installation from 1976 were shown at Tate Britain and are touring as part of the exhibition to the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh (25 May 2024 – 26 January 2025) and the Whitworth in Manchester ( 7 March – 1 June 2025). At Tate Britain, the restaged Edible Family was open to the public and free to visit for the first four weeks of the exhibition (8 November – 3 December 2023) and again for the final four weeks of the exhibition (8 March –  7 April 2024).

Baker originally staged her installation over the course of a week in 1976 in her prefab home in Stepney. Visitors were invited to eat the ‘family’ and were offered cups of tea by Baker, who performed the role of polite female host. The family members occupied various rooms in Baker’s home, whose walls were plastered in newspaper and decorated with icing, scenting the air with sugar. In the living room, a father made of fruit cake slumped in an armchair surrounded by tabloid news stories; in the bath, a teenage son adorned with garibaldi biscuits lay in chocolate cake bathwater, against a background of boys' comics; and in the kitchen, a mother constructed from a dress maker’s mannequin with a teapot for a head, offered a constant supply of fairy cakes, sandwiches and fruit from compartments in her hollow abdomen. Baker baked, sculpted and decorated each of these family members herself over the course of three months.

The restaging at Tate Britain was a replica of the original artwork, with several elements updated by the artist. The figures of a son, daughter, husband, wife, and baby were formed of garibaldi biscuits, meringue and various flavours of cake (including a vegan option), baked by Lily Vanilli and assembled by Baker and her team. Following a period of research with the UCL’s Institute for Making, Baker used a contemporary icing to decorate the walls of the house, while the building’s structure was slightly adapted to improve accessibility. The hosts, specially trained by Baker, included students from Chelsea College of Art and young women recruited through the race and class inclusion charity You Make It.

After its run at Tate Britain, Edible Family will travel to coincide with the tour of Women in Revolt! to the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester. Following the end of its tour, the prefab house will be donated to Idle Women, a Lancashire-based arts, environment and social justice organisation which works to create transformative spaces for women in their local community. The organisation’s members will decide on their preferred use for the structure – which could include a community café or creative space – and then use the skills taught by Idle Women to repurpose the building, ensuring it has a long and valuable life beyond the exhibition.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Additional support has been secured from Acme, with further funders to be announced.

Click here to read a conversation between Bobby Baker and independent curator, Gemma Lloyd, about the installation.


Artistic Director: Bobby Baker

Production Designer: Miranda Melville

Technical Director: Steve Wald

Producers: Caroline Smith, Rebecca Gremmo

Development: Ilana Mitchell 

House Fabrication: Miraculous Engineering

Materials Development: Ellie Doney

Cake: Lily Vanilli

Meringues: Cotswold Handmade Meringues 

Makers : Millie Holland, Terri Mercieca, Maja Quille 

Live Producer (hosts): Daisy Gould, Melissa Bradshaw, 

Kemi Williams, Rose Sharp

Artist Liaison : Gemma Lloyd

Production Office: Melissa Bradshaw, Kemi Williams

Evaluation: Dora Whittuck

With special thanks to Rachel Fleming-Mulford and Linsey Young,

without whose early support and enthusiasm this re-staging would not have been possible.

See full list of credits and supporters here.

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