Sunday, 12 July 2015

Working with the archives

Lancashire County Council Archive Services are currently working with local art groups to make a response to Victorian Lancashire based on items from their collections. Preston Arts Society has chosen to focus on aspects linked to the cotton industry.

Whilst browsing the catalogue I came across all sorts of interesting things that I want to work with at some point but I have struggled with finding something that grabbed me that linked specifically to cotton. Eventually I found a set of letters from two step brothers to their father that started when they were awaiting transportation (for separate offences in different places) and continued sporadically thereafter. The brothers are Henry Taylor and Simon Taylor (also known as Brown). One was a cotton spinner from Lancashire (I’m counting this as my link). 

As I was further researching on the internet (there are some really interesting, detailed and useful Australian sites out there) it struck me that what I was finding fascinating, whilst following from link to link, was actually an awful experience to have lived through. At a distance researching and learning about these events can be like a form of entertainment. 

I decided that I could develop the iconography of my last collagraph print to explore this idea, using the imagery of puppets and puppet shows (entertainment) to tell the stories of the two brothers. The stylisation of the larger figure reminded me of folk art/fairground figures which I thought was appropriate to the Victorian brief.

I am working towards two prints, one for each brother. So far I have the drawing for Richard’s story ready for transferring to the block.


  1. A marvellous take on the subject Jac. I think the idea of a narrative via the puppetry is inspired and very clever. Good luck with the prints.


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