Thursday, 8 August 2019

Jumping Jacks

Last week I went back to thinking about what I wanted to make as an end piece for this project.I liked the interactive nature of the thaumatropes but I was not happy with the amount of empty space I needed to leave around the figure in order to make it fit into the tankard.

I had started to investigate board games and had also thought about card games but this would mean an awful lot of work both in the art work and the development of a whole game. In the time frame I have (exhibition at the beginning of October and images needed for the associated book even earlier) that isn’t practical. 

On an instagram post I saw Pollock’s toy puppet theatres and was very tempted (I may well come back to these at a later date). The thought of puppets made me think of Jumping Jacks, they are interactive, contemporary with the teetotal movement and have the benefit of being stand alone, they don’t need scenery or other extra pieces.

So I had a go at turning my drunk into one
And then I started to think about female figures. Somehow the idea of the rolling drunk gentleman as a mildly amusing, if salutary, children’s toy is acceptable in the way that a drunken destitute woman isn’t.

While researching I had come across the story of Mary Anne Pearce, who was at one time mistress to Lord Barrymore but it didn’t end well . You can find the image of the broadsheet telling her story at the National Library of Scotland DigitalCollection

I’m not sure at what point she started drinking but thought she might serve as a lesson to young Victorian women. I decided to portray her in party mode (but perhaps after a few glasses) before she fell too far down the social scale.
I thought she needed skirts down to her ankles for her party frock but for jumping jacks to be effective all four limbs have to be seen moving so I added a layer of complexity and she moves her skirts to show off her legs. It sort of works but she does tend to get the edges of her legs stuck behind the washers on her skirts.

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