At last I saw ...
At last I saw the shadowed bars
Like a lattice wrought in lead,
Move right across the whitewashed wall
That faced my three-plank bed,
And I knew that somewhere in the world
God's dreadful dawn was red.
(Verse from The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde, 1898)
I was invited to participate in a group exhibition "In Reading Gaol by Reading Town", The Turbine House, Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock, Reading 2019. "In Reading Gaol by Reading Town" are famous words from Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol.
I had a clear image in my head of Oscar Wilde’s cell as we know it today, but it was only after reading the Ballad that the image of a slightly faded transparent figure of a past prisoner emerged, sitting in despair. Originally thinking I’d do a linocut print, whilst doing some preparatory sketches, for additional inspiration, I looked at the prisoner works of a favourite artist A. Paul Weber, best known for his dark social commentary lithographs. This is the mixed media piece that developed. The viewer is kept at a distance and needs to peer through a slightly grubby grill, intrigued by what’s inside.
“At last I saw...” was bought for inclusion in Michael Seeney’s Oscar Wilde Collection.