Magazine article The Spectator

Look Back in Laughter

Magazine article The Spectator

Look Back in Laughter

Article excerpt

Britain is still an essentially Victorian country (see Daily Mail for details). So it's no surprise that we keep returning to the period for inspiration. Victoriana: The Art of Revival at the Gu i ldha l l A r t Ga l ler y (until 8 December) is a collection of modern pieces channelling the age when corsets were tighter than George Osborne's purse strings.

Many of them pick up on the era's sinister undertones. The blurb for Dan Hillier's engraving 'Mother' (a woman with octopus tentacles instead of legs, above) talks of 'prim order barely concealing a dark underbelly of animalistic impulse'.

There's also a wedding cake made from human hair and a wing-back chair adorned with stuffed ferrets.

A magic lantern using strobe lighting to make fake moths 'come alive' is stunningly spooky. …

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