Degree Shows '09 Spooky’ Historical Painting Inspires Student’s Haunting Photo Images
Date posted: 9 June 2009
A photography student’s childhood fear of a spooky Victorian mural, discovered in her family home, inspired her to use it to create an unusual final year Degree Show.
As a young child Dulcy Lott was somewhat scared of the unique painted mural, believed to be almost 130 years old, which was discovered at her family’s Oxford home around ten years ago.
But Dulcy, now 21, has used the ten feet high painting (the whole room is painted and she used sections from three of the walls) of countryside and animals to great effect in an exhibition to mark the end of her BA (Hons) Photography and Fine Art degree course at the University of Derby.
Her work is currently being displayed alongside other final year students’ at the University’s Markeaton Street site, as part of its annual Degree Shows (running from Thursday 4 June to Saturday 13 June).
It celebrates the work of hundreds of students in a wide range of fields including photography, crafts, fashion, textiles, fine art, film, design, theatre, visual communications, architecture, music technology, creative expressive therapies and art therapy.
The mural, which had been wallpapered over, was uncovered in a downstairs room in around 1999 by Dulcy’s mother Hester Lott. Her historical research had dated it back to the 1880s, when it’s thought it had been painted by one of two sisters who then lived in the Victorian four bedroom, terrace house in Iffley Road, Oxford.
Dulcy said: “I grew up with it. You had to pass the room it was in to get to the bathroom and I remember being a bit scared of it, and running to pass the door.
“When it came time to do the dissertation for my degree course, I thought of combining some work I’d done on Victorian Spiritualism (the 19th century fad for seances to contact the dead) with the image of the wall, and real people standing in front of it but photographed to look out of focus and ghostly.
“I actually found the images on the wall jumped out at me more when photographed than when I’d just looked at them with the naked eye.”
As well as being exhibited at the University of Derby Degree Shows, work by Dulcy and her fellow Derby students will be on display at the Free Range 2009 Art and Design Degree Shows at the Old Truman Brewery in London, from June 18-22. It is Europe's largest annual graduate art and design show.
Professor John Goto, Senior Lecturer in Photography at the University, added: “Victoriana is something I am particularly interested in myself and have used in my own photographic work.
“Dulcy has created an intriguing body of work, drawn directly out of her own personal experience.”
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