On elevated ground over-looking Penrith Castle stands the war memorial known locally as The Black Angel. The monument was originally unveiled in 1906 in Corney Square and is dedicated to the men from Penrith who died during the Boer War in South Africa (1899−1902).
The monument was moved to its current position in Castle Park in 1964 due to concerns from pollution damage. The central panel lists the names of those who lost their lives and is surmounted by a winged angel holding a wreath. The name, The Black Angel, also refers to the book of the same name by Colin Bardgett. The book details the stories and letters written by men of the Penrith Volunteer Company who fought during the Boer War. Not only is the book a military record, it contains a Roll of Honour and valuable information relating to local history. The Black Angel, both book and monument, are a memorial to the Volunteer Companies of Cumberland and Westmorland.
With little camera exposure (below), the monument lives up to its name by taking the physical appearance of The Black Angel.
On display in the Rheged Centre, as part of The Art of Remembering exhibition, was a collection of work entitled Memory Vessels. The ceramics and meticulously constructed model ships are the work of the artist Mark Gibbs.
To create the ceramics, Mark used a western variation of an ancient Japanese technique called Raku. Removing the pot from the kiln whilst still at an incredibly high temperature, it is then placed into a reduction chamber – which is normally a metal tin filled with combustible materials such as sawdust or straw – which creates a blackened carbonised look on the surface of the ceramic.
Summer of 1914, mixed media
The intricately detailed battleships are modelled on real vessels with the largest being H.M.S. Dreadnought. This revolutionary craft changed the face of naval warfare instantly casting existing ships into obsolescence.
The visual imagery of smoke and fire with the scorched surface of the finished pot is designed to stir images of the violent explosions during battles at sea.
Convoy 1, mixed materials
The ceramic pieces feature designs inspired by Dazzle Camouflage which is a striking geometric pattern used on ships during the First World War.
Fighting Fit – sight test
On display as part of The Art of Remembering exhibition held at the Rheged Centre included work by the artist Helen Snell. The work, entitled Fighting Fit, is a series of laser cut paper reliefs which tell the story of a healthy young boy being examined by military medics and declared ready for action. Interested in the irony of the Army and Navy medical, Snell focused on the sight test (above) and a throat examination (below). The inspection light of the medic is depicted as a weapon itself in Weeping Wound (below) with cascades of blood and water which tumble down around the new recruit.
Fighting Fit – Weeping Wound
Part of the Art of Remembering exhibition held at the Rheged Centre included work by the visual artist Julie Ball. Part of the Dejavu series, the work captures the fragility of a moment in time. Combining paper thin porcelain with photographic imagery, the collaged images show people living in Penrith and the surrounding areas at the time of the Great War.
The above sculpture is part of the Art of Remembering exhibition held at the Rheged Centre and is the work of the sculptor and printmaker Al Johnson. With an Interest in contemporary history, Johnson’s dramatic sculpture entitled Downed is covered in soft textiles with a symbolism of the aircraft – a bird of freedom being recreated as a machine of war.
The construction of the sculpture is based on original designs for the Sopwith Pup aircraft which was a British biplane in service with The Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service from 1916.
Part of the Art of Remembering exhibition held at the Rheged Centre is the above work by the artist and printmaker Dawn Cole. Created in 2012, the work is entitled Tails, You Lose and consists of individually printed shillings made from heat transfer foil and paper. The work is symbolic of the floral wreath commonly laid at remembrance ceremonies and makes reference to the phrase ‘Take the King’s Shilling.’ This well documented phrase refers to enlistment to the armed forces which dates back to the end of the English Civil War.
On display in the Rheged Centre as part of the Art of Remembering exhibition are several paintings by the Cumbrian born painter Jéréme Crow. The above oil on masonite painting is entitled Studio Doll.
The above oil on masonite paintings are entitled Primrose Hill…call at 34 Elsworthy Road about parrot (Tryptch)
The above oil on masonite painting was a studio still life experiment with archived memories and is entitled The most ultimate tower of fantastical proportions.
The above four oil paintings are set within a bespoke float frame and are entitled Studio jar with suspended coffee – Quadryptych.
The above four oil on masonite panels are entitled Studio peg Quadryptych.