Tuesday, December 05, 2023

'Collector' by Georgie Fay

London The Unfinished City
'Collector' by Georgie Fay.

Tuesday November 28, 2023.

It was a particularly chilly Tuesday morning as I made my around Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, during my walk from Angel to the City of London then up to Euston. The sun, bright in the morning sky, did nothing to dispel the chill that permeated this enclosed park and burial ground, which I had last visited back in 2018, during another walk, and had long since wanted to revisit the place.

Since my previous visit a new public artwork had been installed, consisting of a metal ring, suspended by ropes from three trees, from which hung sails of original printed art.

London The Unfinished City
Hanging like Tombstones.

With the sun still low in the sky it cast just the right amount of light, dispersed by the surrounding trees, to highlight these unique printed sails.

With no breeze to disturb the piece it seemed to hang like painted tombstones.

Brief History

Printmaker Georgie Fay was inspired by the historic industries that once existed in Bunhill. Working closely with St Luke's Community Centre, she explored the district's heritage with older residents and primary-aged children. 

Georgie worked with St Luke's Church of England Primary School and City of London Primary Academy Islington to explore this heritage through art and creativity. The schools visited Bunhill Fields to learn more about the hundreds of years of history on their doorsteps.

London The Unfinished City
Remembering the areas industrial heritage.

Printing was one of the major industries of Bunhill from the 19th Century, and the pupils even got to use a real-life printing press! De La Rue printers, famous for printing bank notes, had their factory on Bunhill Row from 1874-1940 when it was destroyed in the Blitz of World War II.

Georgie and the school children also learned about other prominent professions and trades formerly found in the Bunhill area, including metalworking, textile mills, dye makers and ropemakers.

The pupils of St Luke's Church of England Primary School and City of London Primary Academy Islington created symbols that reflected the historic industries in Bunhill.

London The Unfinished City
'Collector' by Georgie Fay, Bunhill Fields.

Some of these jobs sound very strange to us today, such as rag sorter, whalebone cutter, barometer maker and stick mounter. But others such as flower seller, coffee-house keeper, plumber and cab driver still exist today in contemporary forms.

The symbols made by the children are incorporated into the work of art.

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