I first came across Patrick Eyres and The New Arcadian Journal a few years ago when I was studying the Open University Course “Heritage, Whose Heritage?”. There was a chapter in the book Sculpture and the Garden which is edited by Eyres that particularly interested me.
Then last week at the Leeds Library I noticed an advertisement for a talk at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds :
“Drawings and proofs for the New Arcadian Journal: “The
Blackamoor” Wednesday 7th March 2012
An evening with Dr Patrick Eyres at the Henry Moore Institute Wednesday 7th March
Drawings and proofs for the New Arcadian Journal: “The Blackamoor”.
An evening with Dr Patrick Eyres at the Henry Moore Institute. Enjoy a glass of wine, a powerpoint talk, see the display, talk with the illustrators and look at the Institute’s Library.
This event is £5.00 a head – numbers are limited to thirty. Please book your place with payment at the Leeds Library. Contact us for more information.”
I bought my ticket and then by happy chance came across this article in Saturday’s Yorkshire Post : Jottings from the Journal.
Dr Eyres’ entertaining talk celebrating thirty years of the New Arcadian Journal centred on the latest issue entitled “The Blackamoor and the Georgian Garden”. The Blackamoor was the most popular of all lead statues made in Britain during the 18th century which, by coincidence, was the height of British dominance in the African slave trade. Probably very many of the statues were destroyed or melted down following the abolition of slavery and in more enlightened times. Dr Eyres has tracked down 20 including 2 in the Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace, one in Lincoln’s Inn in London, another at Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire and another supporting a sundial at Wentworth Castle in South Yorkshire which is currently under restoration and the topic of interpretation work. The talk was illustrated with photos of the various statues and reproductions of the beautiful drawings and prints (the work of artists Catherine Aldred and Howard Eaglestone who were also present this evening). It seems that the Blackamoor (African) along with the North American Red Indian were used to symbolise their continents of origin. There were emblems for Europe and Asia as well. These were also illustrated in the popular 16th and 17th century Books of Emblems.
After the talk we were shown the small exhibition in the Henry Moore Library where examples of drawings and copies of the Journal itself were displayed.
Catherine and Howard spoke briefly about their own work which as you can see is exquisite. Howard’s pictures also display humour as you can see from the above examples.
Of course, I think so, but sadly it was quite poorly attended. However this made it a more intimate and less formal occasion. The wine helped with that too, I suppose 😉
How sad when events like this are so poorly attended, so much effort goes into them from the speakers. Sounds fascinating Barbara, something I know so little about…have they tracked down all the statues that exist or are there more to be discovered perhaps?? It is the sort of thing that Port Eliot would have tucked away somewhere I feel sure.
I think there are probably more to be discovered. Its a probably a subject that people would be coy about revealing the evidence of their forebears being former slave owners in the past. Have a hunt around at Port Eliot next time you are there – then contact Patrick Eyres. He’ll be pleased to hear about it I’m sure.
[…] The exhibition is tucked away in one room towards the end of the house tour. We missed much of the art and furnishings as we passed through the house but we did take a bit of time out to study another temporary display Playing, Learning, Flirting: Printed Board Games from 18th Century France. It was striking to note how similar these board games were to games still played today. We were also intrigued by all the Singerie or Monkey Tricks around the house. Dressing monkeys up in human costume was once a very popular and fashionable pastime: there are paintings and sculptures around the house. I was reminded somewhat of another popular theme also unfashionable in today’s enlightened times – the Blackamoor or Negro slave. […]
[…] Back in March 2012 (was it really so long ago?) I attended a talk organised by the Leeds Library and given by Patrick Eyres celebrating 30 years of The New Arcadian Journal. I wrote about it here. […]
[…] Blackamoor was bought by Lord Strafford. The statue symbolised the profitability of the slave trade, but its […]