Education: MA Fine Art The Cumbria Institute
MA Fine Art
LUCY ORCHARD LIVES AND WORKS IN LONDON
The Chronicles of Eliza Rowles*
Into the Woods
+ Supper Series
+ Conversation with Caravaggio
and other series of works.
Lucy Orchard 'The Chronicles of Eliza Rowles' A Series of Prints and Engravings.
*Eliza Rowles (nee Morgan) was born in 1781, into a family of Mariners from Gloucestershire.
Although she fought with her family for the opportunity to be able to sail on the ships as did her brothers, father and grandfather, all of whom were Master Mariners, she was encouraged to become a dressmaker like her mother.
In 1801 she married my great, great, great, great grandfather, Caleb Rowles, who came from another local family of Master Mariners. The Rowles owned several square-rigged ships renowned for their endurance, and were well known for importing Curry Spices from India, and a Chilean strain of strawberry that led to the hybridisation of the modern day strawberry.
Eliza hated every minute of dressmaking, and having to stay at home whilst her beloved Caleb went on trips to exotic parts of the world.
On 12th June 1803 Caleb set sail for Chile from Sharpness Docks, along with 9 crew members. All were unaware the ship was hiding a stowaway, until 2 days into the Sail when Eliza decided to announce her presence.
According to the Captains Log, there was nervousness amongst the crew that there was a female on board, and they refused to eat any food that Eliza had prepared. One day, several weeks into the sail, as they were travelling down past Africa, a great storm blew up and the Valiant was badly battered. Three of the crew members were lost overboard during the storm, and Eliza was lost too.
Caleb stayed in Cape Town for 3 weeks trying to find any trace of Eliza. Two bodies of the crew were found, but there was no trace of what may have happened to Eliza.
Caleb returned to Britain and never sailed again, but continued working in the shipyard.
However, in 1809 RMS Saxon was on its return journey from Cape Town to East London. One of the passengers was Eliza Rowles. Eliza was eventually reunited with Caleb and the rest of her family in Gloucestershire.
Only recently has the true extent of Eliza's efforts in Africa has been realised. She had lived alone in the wilds for 2 years, and survived by eating roots, seeds, native fruits and plants. Whilst she was there she had apparently encountered a herd of zebras, all of whom were sick. Eliza earns the trust of the zebras and fed them on Red Disa, a member plant that is native to Africa, the roots of which are rich in protein. It is now widely accepted that Eliza may well have contributed to the saving of the type of Zebra called The Cape Mountain Zebra from extinction. Lucy Orchard (Copyright Lucy Orchard)
The Last Supper Series showcases paintings that explore, analyse and depict food as never before. In this exhibition historical facts related to food such as the Great Fire of London, old fashion recipe books, current issues such as allergy and food intolerance as well as cannibalism combined with stylistics references toCaravaggio, Spanish & Dutch Still Life as well as 20th Century artists such as Patrick Caulfield give us a true visual feast.
In her work the artist questions and offers insight into what it means to have no option but to experience food from an altogether different perspective. She is inspired by those who have been unable to make choices (including herself) about one of the most basic prerequisites for sustaining life, and for whom the pleasure and enjoyment of eating has been removed and whose experience becomes little more than a necessity dictated by an innate survival instinct.
Consequently, hiding around the corner to that which appears as seductive and in abundance is a darker, more sinister side. Whether confronted with black humour or humbling observation, the ability to put a piece of bread in our mouths, without wondering, becomes questionable. Take for instance Farrynor's a painting depicting bread and oven baked delicacies portrayed in Dutch Still Life style. It is inspired by The Great Fire of London (Farrynor was the baker of Pudding Lane) but the artist's interest here is not Pudding Lane itself but the Golden Boy of Pye Corner in Smithfield's, a monument that marks the spot where the fire stopped and whose inscription somehow indicates that the Fire was evidence of God's Wrath on the City of London for the sin of gluttony.
Mirage, another painting on show, inspired by In Memory's Kitchen - a recipe book based on the Nazi's 'model' ghetto Theresienstadt where people would fantasize about food. Called cooking with the mouth the prisoners, undernourished, even starved, not only reminisced about favourite foods but also had discussions, even arguments, about the correct way to prepare dishes. To recall food in such desperate circumstances must have helped reinforce a sense of self and to assist in a struggle to preserve life says Lucy Orchard and assures that the painting is not intended to reflect the horror of living with the constant fear of death, but is rather about a desire for food that could only have ever existed in their thoughts, about how memories remain distant, sometimes distorted. In her composition, ingredients compiled from the book are translated into modern day ingredients such as Black & Green's dark chocolate bars.
There is a tendency here to lead you up the garden path, (with a tempting invitation to supper), then shutting the gate. Climb over at your peril.
Re. Lucy Orchardtitle 'Three Colours Blue, Reverence'
Three Colours Blue is a 1993 French drama film directed and co-written by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski. Blue is the first of three films that comprise the Three Colours trilogy, themed on the French Revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity; it is followed by White and Red. According to Kieślowski, the subject of the film is liberty, specifically emotional liberty, rather than its social or political meaning.
Painting Title: 'Icarus' The son of Daedalus, who escaped from Crete using wings made by his father but was killed when he flew too near the sun and the wax attaching his wings melted.