I found this book, Harper’s Monthly Magazine (1890), in a local charity shop. As I leafed through the pages, I noticed that there was an unusually large number of illustrations where the characters are facing away from the viewer. This gave me the idea of making a double-sided assemblage with apertures in both the front and back of the book – the front view has most of the characters facing forward, but when the book is viewed from the back, most of the characters either have their backs to their audience or have their heads turned away.
As with all the books I work on, I had a bit of fun making the characters interact with each other in ways that the authors never intended!
This book, entitled ‘The Universe’, was published in 1884 in black and white. Given the subject matter, I don’t suppose that would have been the author’s ideal – but colour printing was so expensive in those days.
The illustrations are beautiful and very detailed wood engravings – to which I have added colour using inks and watercolours.
The book lent itself to the creation of a peaceful scene, with bees buzzing and birds nesting, feeding and generally going about their daily business. All is well in the Universe . . . .
The Comic History of England, a shameless lampooning of our history, was an absolute joy to work with. Crammed with quirky and irreverent images of characters familiar to any Brit: Henry VIII, Guy Fawkes, Sir Walter Raleigh complete with the cloak he famously laid across a puddle to prevent Elizabeth I from muddying her shoes.
Working on the book was not quite a chance to rewrite history, but certainly an opportunity to play around with it!
Am exhibiting at SCOPE Art Show, New York City which opens later today with the Platinum VIP Preview Gala. Just wish I could be there in person, though I understand it’s pretty cold in NYC at the moment. Take a look if you’re in the area, I’ve heard it’s looking really exciting!