Saturday, July 25, 2015

A closer look at our temporary exhibition Part One

The Museum's first ever temporary exhibition "Witches and Witchlore: the illustrations of Jos A Smith" is proving popular with visitors.  If you haven't been able to come and see it yet, we thought we'd provide you with an online tour of some of the paintings.  Obviously the best way to see them is to visit and get a proper feel for the artworks.  Hopefully you'll be able to visit before it ends in November.

So, lets start at the very beginning (a very good place to start!).

The first images that visitors see is the Maiden/Crone image.  This appeared on the cover of one of the editions of the book from which the illustrations are taken.

This picture is accompanied by a text panel exploring the role of the Goddess in Erica Jong's book 'Witches'.  It includes this quote by Erica Jong:
“Since the goddess of birth is also the goddess of death, women are accused of bringing death into the world as well as life.  This is why the witch is depicted both as young, beautiful and bedecked with flowers, and as a frightening crone covered with cobwebs.  She represents all the cycles of life, and if she is terrifying, it is because the cycles of life terrify.  They are inexorable.  They remind us of mutability and mortality.”

This wonderful image is available as a limited edition art print and as an art card from our online shop:

Moving around the room, the next pictures show a horned figure and a witch in flight. 

Erica Jong: “Flight is a metaphor both for freedom and for sexuality - and the figure of the flying witch, of course, expresses both these longings.”

The final image of section one of our tour shows witches in eggshells.  Throughout the exhibition, we have incorporated the thoughts and feelings of people who loved the original book.  This image is a favourite of Hannah Fox, the Museum's Office Manager.  She said of it: “Each evocative image gives opportunity for further pondering, a floating magic hat, a coat flying in the breeze of it's own accord,  how can such simple images portray such emotion?  My favourite of the exhibition is the witches at sea in eggshells.  It puts me in mind of the following; treat all with respect, however tiny and frail, or beware the consequences.”  

A closer look at our temporary exhibition Part Two coming soon...

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