Saturday, 22 September 2012

Babies Skulls

Last week I got my fine liners out again, for the first time in a long while, I was inspired by an amazing shop I found in Hay on Wye full of natural history themed antiques, ephemera and artwork.

I decided to try some skull drawings, looking at antique anatomical drawings as inspiration.

I think I will get some little prints of these done.


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Afraid of Thunderstorms

Florence Irene Ford 

Sept 3rd 1861 - Oct 30th 1871

Ten-year-old Florence died of yellow fever. 

During her life she had been incredibly frightened of storms and whenever one occurred she would rush to her mother for reassurance.

Upon Florence's death her mother was so grief stricken that she had Florence's casket constructed with a glass window at the child’s head, furthermore when the grave was dug, she had a set of steps installed so she could descend to her daughters level and look into the grave through a thick glass window. Whenever there was a storm she would go and sit by her daughter to comfort her.

After the mothers death the glass wall was replaced with concrete, but you can still go down the steps to Florence's grave.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Renwal's Visible Head and Visible man

Earlier in the week I had a flashback to my childhood, randomly remembering the anatomy models my Dad kept in the loft when me and brother were younger.

They'd be brought down every so often, smelling musty with yellowed plastic outer casing, and we'd play with them for a bit before they went back up the ladder into the loft. I hadn't seen these for years, but with my interest in vintage toys and medical items I was really keen to see them again, even though they don't really class as toys as they are a nightmare to put together, especially the head! one wrong movement and his jaw falls off and the teeth go clattering all over the floor!

I asked my Dad about them, intending to have them as decorative items in the flat I hope to move into next year, he managed to dig them out of the loft after wondering if he might have thrown them away in the many loft clear outs hes had over the years, luckily they were all still intact along with the instruction leaflets. The Visible Man and the Visible Head were originally bought in the late 50s as kits to paint and put together, you could also get visible woman, visible dog, visible horse and possibly more. My Dad was given them when he was 12, painted and made them up, so I am thrilled we still have them and they can take pride of place when I have my own flat.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Acock Green Infants

I found this awesome picture in my grandads old album, its the Acock Green Infants in 1925, clearly putting on a production of 'Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross'
Seated on the far left is my Grandmother

I just love the outfits and the girl on the rocking horse is amazing, I had to save some detail crops

Monday, 21 May 2012

Some Darkroom work

I dug out a couple of old pictures I did for my A Levels, these ones were inspired by the work of Julia Margaret Cameron and I processed these myself in the darkroom.
I was never very good at darkroom processing and discarded these at the time as failures, but I can see something in them now that I love so I thought they were worth ressurecting
The first one I particularly love.

Monday, 23 April 2012

A different kind of Postmortem Photograph

As regular readers will know I am a rather obsessive collector of Vintage postmortem photographs of Children. In alot of peoples eyes they are strange items to desire and to spend so much money on, and I can't really explain my love for them, except maybe to speculate that they are some kind of attempt to face my own strong fear of death, which is prehaps the same reason they were originally made.

I feel I should put a warning here that the images futher down the page are very graphic and upsetting

I am interested to a certain extent in all forms of postmortem and mourning imagery, and while browsing recently I came across some particularly intense and strong images of death on a website dedicated to the tragic murder of a mother and her two children.
It was the case of Jeffrey MacDonald who, in 1979 brutally murdered his two daughters and pregnant wife, the details of the case were horrible, and difficult to read.
The crime scene and autopsy photographs of the little girls, however, completely captivated me in a way that only the beautiful victorian photographs have done so before. The death of any child, in any circumstance, anywhere, is a horrible thing that should never happen, but it does happen, every day, in every possible way, and for some reason these images give some kind of comfort at the same time as being horrifying.

It seems wrong to me in a way that I was so captivated by these horrific images, but I was and I think there is an incredible beauty about them, if only to serve as a way to mark an event so horrible most of us couldn't even conceive it, but i'd rather look these things in the eye than pretend they didn't happen.

Jeffrey MacDonald is serving 3 consecutive life sentences

"Suffer little Children to come unto me"

"Be still, my soul, when change and tears are past
all safe and blessed, we shall meet at last"

Monday, 16 April 2012

Little Shop of Horrors

I took a trip to Peterborough over the weekend to see some of my best friends and get a tattoo for Friday 13th, we went to Little Shop of Horrors and it was by far the coolest shop I've ever been in, full of wonderful, macabre artifacts and pictures. I had a Sacred heart tattoo and got some snaps of some of the amazing dead animals pickled in Alcohol dotted around the shop, two little birds were my favourite, I wanted to take them home!

This Squirrel was adorable, I just loved him

And the severed Cats head was a little more macabre but it was gorgeous

I'll be heading back there for more tattoos soon :) I can't wait to see more of Sams creations

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Departed Father (spirit photograph)

I've always been fascinated by Victorian Spirit Photographs, a type of Victorian trick photography where a deceased family member is superimposed as a 'spirit' into a family photograph. It really reflects the Victorian Mourning culture and their way of dealing with the high mortality rate at the time.
I think its rather beautiful to make an image to reinforce the belief that a dead loved one is still with you.
I made my own take on a spirit photograph using bits from my collection, depicting a family with their deceased father\husband

The face I used for the Father is a photograph of my Great Grandfather.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Monday, 2 April 2012

T. S. Eliot - Burnt Norton

I Just found this stunning reading of Burnt Norton by T.S. Eliot uploaded on soundcloud, such a beautiful and moving poem, read by the man himself, a real genius.

T. S. Eliot - Burnt Norton

Saturday, 31 March 2012

My Doll Collection

I got a new photo editing program and thought i'd photograph some of my favourite dolls from my collection, although I feel bad having favourites! I have hundreds, but here is an overveiw.

I've been collecting since I was a child, I started off with a rag doll my grandmother had made for my mother when she was a child, and I just wanted more. Above is the Ragdoll by my Grandmother, along with Mr Beast made by my Great Aunt Beryl and sent to me when she learnt of my interest in dolls.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Civil War Tintypes

I found some beautiful American Tintypes from the Civil War posted on The Library of Congress' Flickr page
I was amazed by how young so many of these boys are and how beautiful they are, the tintypes themselves are so stunning, I would love to own one of these pieces of history.

note reads -
“My beloved son Carl taken from me on April 1, 1865, at age 18, killed at Dinwiddie. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Childrens Stories Illustrated

Over the past few weeks i've been working on a series of illustrations based on some of my favourite traditional childrens stories.

Little Red Riding Hood

"Oh Grandma, what big Teeth you have"

The Three little Pigs
"The Wolf blew the house down and ate the first little pig"

Goldilocks and the three Bears

"I know who's been sleeping in my bed" Said little bear, "and she's still here"

Hansel and Gretel

"Gretel pushed her in and ran away, the godless witch was burned to death"

Little Red Shoes

"The executioner struck off her feet with the little red shoes, but the shoes danced away with the little feet across the feilds"

Gerda and the Reindeer
"Gerda ran over to the Reindeer, threw her arms around its neck, and laying her cheek against its soft muzzle, said 'please help me to find my friend'