Boxes

Boxes

A fascination for collecting objects and a desire to challenge the traditional way of presenting art led me to develop my boxes and three-dimensional works. I have always been attracted by the work of the American constructivist and box maker Joseph Cornell (1903-72). His boxes have been called ‘theatres of the mind’ – at once exotic and mysterious – their toy-like charm evoking some deep down memory from childhood. The ability Cornell had to invest ordinary, everyday objects with a magical presence is a characteristic with which I identify. This ‘sanctification of small objects’ has its roots in childhood; we have all come home from a seaside holiday with a treasured pebble or shell. In my early career in children’s books I learnt to cultivate nostalgia for vivid childhood experiences. Early life experience is primary, as Baudelaire wrote: “The child’s imagination is convinced by the reality it has made for itself … and a toy (or small object) is the child’s first initiation into art.

Many of my early boxes are made from salvaged typographer’s cases, hence the rather rigid compartmentalisation. Unlike Cornell, whose compositions feature the seemingly random juxtaposition of ‘found objects’, I usually manufacture from scratch, or adapt objects as vehicles for individual artworks. These artworks provide opportunities for whimsical wordplay or visual puns. I use a variety of media, but work principally in pen, ink and watercolour.

Owners of boxes include Stanley Seeger, John Cleese and Eric Woolfson. Eric’s musical ‘Freudiana’ opened in Vienna in 1992, and was the inspiration for ‘The Freud Box’. Also represented is a box commissioned by the Cheltenham Literary Festival, featuring a portrait of Virginia Woolf in the centre panel.

Gallery Medicine Cabinet

Gallery Medicine Cabinet

Chris Beetles
1988

Walker Box

Walker Box

Sebastian Walker
1990

Freud Box

The Freud Box

Eric Woolfson
1990

The Illustrators Box

The Illustrators Box

Chris Beetles
1992

Weymouth Bay Box

Weymouth Bay

2002

Swiss Box

Swiss Box

Mr & Mrs Timothy Benn
2004

No 1 Box

N0 1 Box

Stanley Seeger
1988

Ben Nicholson Box

Ben Nicholson Box

Christoper Cone
1990

Weekend Visiting Box

Weekend Visiting Box

Chris Beetles
1992
View angled image

The Nile Box

The Nile Box

John Cleese
1992

Cheltenham Literary Box

Cheltenham Literary Box

Daily Telegraph
1993

Home Box

Home

2011

Faerie Sewing Box

Faerie Sewing Box

(Private collection)
1990

Pill Box

Pill Box at Pepper Harrow

Chris Beetles
1992
View angled image

Lapiz Box

The Lapiz Box

David Margolis
1991

Sydney Harpley In Memoriam Box

In Memoriam Box

Sydney Harpley RA
1992

East Lulworth Range - Tank Corps Box

East Lulworth Range
– Tank Corps Box

2003

Jeffrey and Mary Archer Christmas Box

Christmas Invitation Box

Jeffrey and Mary Archer
2011

Gallery of 3-D Art

Thomas Shotter Boys

Thomas Shotter Boys

Jar of Spent Cartridge Cases
1989

Ben Nicholson Traffic Cone

Ben Nicholson Traffic Cone

St Ives School of Motoring
1990

George Stubbs

George Stubbs

Royal Academy of Arts
Summer Exhibition Ticket Stubbs
1988

Dental Floss

Thomas Rowlandson

Dental Floss
2012

Freud Pyramid

Freud Pyramid

1990

Bus Scream

Bus Scream

Transport for London
Unacceptable design for a double-decker bendy Routemaster
2011

Strutt & Parker's New Office

Strutt & Parker’s New Office

Portrayed as a Rocket
2003

Brock’s Exploding Badgers

Dendy Easton
Sotheby’s
1990

Danger!

Danger!

Unexploded shell
1990

Shock of Sable

Gabriel Dante Rosetti’s

Shock of Sable
1991

Egg Scream

Egg Scream

1990

Holman Hunt's

Holman Hunt’s

Revolving Cuckoo Cot
1991

Shhhhhhhh...

Shhhhhhhh…

1991

Light Of The World

Holman Hunt’s

Light of the World
Safety Matches
1991