Monday, January 12, 2015

Drawing from the past

The point of putting together the Mini Almanac for our Cult of Doll project (published here on New Years Day) was that we needed something tangible to better explain this new and unusual project to Art Doll makers who might want to join us, and also to begin building an audience for when we have finished all the dolls and publish the Main Almanac in October. I have been talking and writing so much about Miss Araminta (the project is loosely based around her Victorian Curiosity Shop and the strange stories that the objects within it's walls can tell) but she still didn't exist in either Doll or drawn form really. So I thought it was about time people got a look at her and her strange little shop...



Of course I needed to find reference and as the shop is supposedly based in Whitechapel I spent  ages trawling through old photos and got to know way more about the streets Jack The Ripper brought to notoriety than I cared to really. Oddly, the image that finally became the basis of Miss Araminta's shop is a wonderful old picture of a Victorian Fishing Tackle shop, not even in London, but hundreds of miles away in Shrewsbury! The image belongs to the Shropshire Council archives and they very kindly allowed me to use it without the usual fee as my drawing is not an exact representation. Take a look through their archive, there are many interesting photos of Shropshire businesses before the turn of the last century when Photography was still "the latest thing".

PS: I had to keep that sneaky young boy almost out of sight in the shadowy alleyway to the left, I wonder what HIS story was? ;o)




5 comments:

Night Owl said...

Hi Yve, your shop is beautiful, the details are interesting and I love the boy in the shadows :-). The Almanac is a great project, I can't view the pages on a larger format, I think I have to look into that, but I look forward to the large version!

Yve said...

That is odd, usually you just click on the image and it goes to a new window and it's full size. On Yudu, when you click a page you get a Zoom tool that let's you go right up close so people can read all the text. Hope it works for you soon :o)

C said...

I thought this illustration was stunning, Yve and it's so interesting to now see the inspiration behind it too. I love old photos so must go and check out their archives. I reckon that sneaky young lad must have been touring the country, I'm sure I've seen him before in photos from the same era, looking out of windows, peeping over walls, etc... there's always one!
The shop itself (both illustration and photo) also reminds me of one I passed one dark winter evening in London a few years ago, tucked down a short side road. It was full of similar wonderful things and was suitably creepy looking and seemed of another age altogether. I don't think I'd be able to find it again so I still wonder sometimes if I dreamt it all... must try and find some evidence to prove otherwise!

C said...

PS to last comment...
I found the shop! I'm not dreaming! It doesn't even have a name, just on the shop front it says 'Costumier Furrier'. It's on White Conduit Street, off Chapel Market, Islington.
Just in case you're interested...
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol47/pp373-404#h2-0025

Yve said...

Thank you :o)

"Sneaky Boy" is fab isn't he? You almost feel he is actually looking at you when you first spot him in the alleyway. I wonder if it is because he thought he wouldn't be in the photo so didn't stiffly pose for the camera unlike the shopkeeper and his assistant? He had no idea that he was being preserved too, it would be nice to think he went on to become a photographer too, as he was clearly fascinated.

C, that shop looks awesome, I would also have made a mental note of it, hoping to go back when it was open. One big regret of driving is that you miss out on so much, back when I lived in London and walked everywhere I used to see so many interesting little shops - OK, I am now remembering crowded tube trains and weirdos sitting next to me on Buses and thinking maybe it's a small price to pay!!! ;o)