Sunday 21 July 2013


Crows have long been an artistic obsession of mine and are amongst my favourite subjects to draw. I have always felt a certain affinity towards crows. I admire their intelligence, their role in history and folklore and sympathize with their undeserved historical reputation as a bad omen and sign of evil.

In an attempt to capture the wonderful characters and personalities of my favourite bird I am currently working on a series crow portraits, in which each crow represents a different emotion or character trait. There is something about this bird which I find absolutely delightful, and I never fail to smile whenever I see a crow, and I never tire of drawing these incredibly beautiful creatures.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Plague and Pestillence

Plague and pestilence are aplenty at Eyam museum, so its only natural that my enduring morbid curiosity bore me to Eyam, the 'plague village'.

The Derbyshire village of Eyam was famously infected with the plague in 1665 when plague bearing fleas arrived concealed in a bundle of cloth from London. The village, which quarantined itself from the outside world in an effort to prevent infection, is steeped in the history of the plague and ideals surrounding it, including Danse Macabre.
Outbreaks of plague historically have far reaching social, religious and economical consequences, all of which can be observed at Eyam museum.

Eyam museum details the scientific aspects of the plague, and chronicles its spread across Europe. However the most interesting side of the devastation of the plague is the human story, which is highlighted and focused upon in the Museums exhibits.
The plague provides an insight into how humans typically react to the extreme and sudden devastation of natural disasters, events such as this often bring out the best, and worst of human nature. Religion often becomes important, either as a ray of hope or an explanation for the catastrophe.

The images below detail some of my favourite exhibits of the museum, including morbid, god fearing woodcuts, taxidermy rats showing the differences between the common brown rat and the plague rat, and an iconic symbol which has become synonymous with the the great morality; The Plague Doctor.

At the Graves

Saint Lawrence Church in Eyam is a fairly typical English church, with most of the features you would expect to see in a modern Anglican church. However Eyams plague history means that among the hundreds of graves are a rare few of those who lost their lives to the plague. The graveyard is one of the most charming I have visited in England, with many beautiful old headstones, long forgotten and untended. The churchyard is dominated by an 8th Century Saxon Cross, which combines a mixture of Pagan and Christian imagery in its carvings and the tomb of Catherine Mompesson, wife of the Churches Reverend, whom died of the plague in 1666.