As a member of the Tring art group, I've been asked if I'd like to contribute to the 2023 calendar. The focus for next year is around the arts and Tring's literary history.
I've chosen to create illustrations for the Natural History Museum's library and the Silk Mill in Tring where poet Gerald Massey shared a sad history with so many others working as children in the mill.
The brief has been kept fairly open to our individual interpretations, we were given some photo references to work from and each illustration would represent a month in the year. I had invaluable help from the Tring local history museum and historians, you can read all about Tring and it's rich and surprising history here.
The Tring Natural History Museum's Library.
Walter Rothschild's quirky eccentricities and his love of animals is such an integral part of Tring's history and the museum - he's the reason the train station is so far away from town, he didn't want his zebra's to be disturbed by the noise.
With all of that in mind, I had to include animals in my interpretation of the museum's library and made sure to include Walter's pet tortoise.
You can read all about Walter's extremely interesting life and his efforts to study, preserve and care for the natural world here.
Reference image for the Tring Natural History Museum's Library.
Gerald Massey and the Silk Mill
Gerald Massey, like so many others of the time, worked at the silk mill in Tring as a child. This one was a much harder brief to work on, reading through the arduous hours of labour that children were put through, how they were treated and what was considered to be normal expectations for and of them from such a young age was extremely tough.
I wanted to pay tribute to the history of the silk mill and everyone who worked in it. Gerald Massey went on to write poetry and after learning more about his work, I found one that particularly stuck with me and spoke so openly about life working at the silk mill.
You can read more about Gerald Massey and the history of the silk mill here.
Reference images for the Silk Mill and Gerald Massey.