"The Visitorian Artist/Photographer..."
(left) leaning outside his shop watching the world go by after a busy day behind the lens. His customers have gone to the seaside today and he is thinking that he would like to have gone there to. Sadly he has a living to make... and then, something unpredictable happened...
CHARLOTTE CORY (left) is a London based writer and artist who is best known for her VISITORIANA - a complete, fantastical, "wholly believable" alternative 19th Century. A post-Darwinian universe of reworked, recycled, collaged and montaged Victorian photography and taxidermy in which the animals are clearly in charge. Her work is in the Royal Collection at Windsor and has been shown at Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibitions. There are four books of her artworks available. She has just completed a five part drama series for BBC Radio 4, commissioned to celebrate the Bi-Centenary of the birth of Charlotte Bronte in April 1816: CHARLOTTE BRONTË IN BABYLON and was the guest curator of an accompanying exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum, CHARLOTTE BRONTË AT THE SOANE. Her first novel from 1991 (The Unforgiving, Faber and Faber) has just been issued in Spanish, 25 years after its publication in English, to great acclaim, thus proving that life truly is a merry-go-round. If you live long enough, you come round again! Una comedia negra...
Charlotte Cory's exhibition CAPTURING THE BRONTËS showed simultaneously in the autumn of 2013 at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth (where it proved highly controverial) and at the Mercer Art Gallery in Harrogate (where the local press described her alternative Brontë museum as "utterly brilliant") before moving to London in February 2014. At the opening of the latter, a terrifyingly delicious gin based cocktail was served. This was entitled "Branwell Brontë's Ruin" - and mixed (amongst other exotic ingredients), two cult gins that enjoy Charlotte Cory's artwork on their labels: Colonel Fox's London Dry Gin and Gentleman Badger's Sloe Gin.
Charlotte Cory's pictures have been described as exquisite short stories, told without words. She, though, has plenty of words. After a PhD in Medieval Literature, she published 3 novels with Faber and Faber (The Unforgiving, The Laughter of Fools and The Guest). She is the writer of many original comedy series for BBC Radio 4 (including Snap! , The Wonderful World of Allaetitia, Thinking of Leaving Your Husband?, Find the Perfect Partner 4 U) and original dramas (including 1hr plays The Day I Finished off Charlotte Brontë (now a set text at an Irish university in the US) and Mangosteen Mania). She owns a wirehaired fox terrier called Bessie (picture coming shortly), not to mention an enormous 1860s Columbian printing press with an iron eagle on top and acres of type she has collected up/salvaged over the years. Her woodcuts adorned many bookcovers and magazine pages - she did the logo for Bloodaxe Books (1985) who also published a book of her woodcuts, The Turnspit Dog with the poet Pamela Gillilan (1993) - and a number of these early works are now quite collectable. Here (left) is the cover of Sylvia Plath's Ariel with tulip woodcut by Charlotte Cory (right) published by Faber and Faber in 1983.
Last time Charlotte Cory moved house, she had to get rid of the kitchen to create space for the enormous cast iron 1860s Columbian Press with its magnificent iron eagle on top. Her Visitorians, though, would feel quite at home, as the newspaper magnate (right) readily attests.
The Sir John Soane's Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London is a natural haunt of Visitorians - in fact their Visitor Books (dating back to Sir John's time) hold a great fascination for them. Of course they do. And for Charlotte Cory, also, who has produced a range of silk scarves, bone china, prints and other merchandise (including a colour-coordinated Limited Edition Teasel) and Christmas cards (see left) exclusively for their beautiful shop.