This is the first of three hangings referencing baby farmers but I’m not overly pleased with this one and will probably have another go at doing it differently.
It measures 90 x 65 cms. (3′ x 2′ approx.)
Several years ago I visited the Saatchi Gallery in London and was struck by a huge monochrome portrait of Myra Hindley.When you got close you could see the painting was made up of children’s handprints. Marcus Harvey ‘Myra’ – 1995
Remembering this painting inspired me to try something similar to represent Amelia Dyer. (She wrapped her victims in parcel paper before throwing them in the Thames.) I have used a sublimation print to transfer images on to a linen look polyester, wrapped them around card, padded them and tied with cord to represent small parcels. I would have liked to have made the shapes of the ‘parcels’ more as they would have really looked but it distored the image too much.
I could only go up to A3 size otherwise the image pixellated but now, sitting here typing this I think I have just worked out a way I should be able to enlarge the pieces.
The background is cotton duck, machined stitched onto an old blanket then wrapped around a frame. Acrylic gesso with a small amount of household emulsion has been added followed by black Quink writing ink. When this was partially dry walnut ink was sprayed on the surface then sprinkled with sea salt. Once totally dry the salt has been brushed off.
The poem about the ‘Ogress of Reading’ features underneath the portrait.
The bottom section has a bottle containing Godfreys Cordial or ‘Mothers Friend’ as it was more commonly known. This is what she used to keep the babies quiet as they became starved and dehydrated. The mixture consisted of Laudanum, Opium, water and treacle.
The next part shows the names of the three babies which led to Dyers’ sentencing and finally some packaging materials and cord.
The ‘sleeping’ babies are made from a mould with Plaster of Paris and coloured with writing ink and walnut ink to give them a distressed look.