Saturday, 16 February 2019

The Magnificent 7 Victorian Cemeteries of London

Blackheath Art Society member Irene Butcher has just published an evocative book of drawings, prints and sketches from her recent exhibition (now finished) on 'The Magnificent 7 Victorian Cemeteries of London', held in the atmospheric gallery at Westbourne Grove Church, West London.

About the exhibition Irene wrote;

The Magnificent 7” refers to the top seven cemeteries of London built in Victorian times to accommodate an overflowing population. Highgate, Brompton, Kensal Green, West Norwood, Nunhead, Abney Park and Tower Hamlets. Many of the cemeteries have been 'parkified' to allow for the local community to sit and read, have their lunch or walk their dogs. In most cases, local volunteers help to look after these social spaces.

I was initially inspired by an article in a local newspaper about the seven top cemeteries in London. Regular visits followed where I collected information in the form of photographs, sketches, paintings and written notes. What captivated me most was the peaceful atmosphere and character of each cemetery. Every one a different feel yet all similar. The hand of man in the form of sculptures of angels, cherubs or wonderfully ornate tombs mingling with nature, growing and overflowing where man has left his mark. A sense of the passage of time. Light and shadow, calm and chaos. 

Back in my studio, I use all my sketches to create dry point intaglio prints in limited editions. These make up the majority of the works of art on show in the exhibition. Most of these are in black ink or sepia on archival paper. The expressiveness of the lines and tones being best expressed in monotone with colour added when it is most needed. Also, I have included lino prints, charcoal drawings and mixed media works to fully express my continuing interest in these wonderful green spaces.

You can revisit the atmosphere of the cemeteries, see a preview of the works and order a copy of the book here;