Between Folds / Illustrated London News
Reading between these folds takes our curiosity to London in 1852. Six months of illustrated news – of arrests, death, crime, cavalry, royalty and parties – is opened in a bracket; an afterthought of forgotten history, the telling of the everyday. Gleaning the moments of six months – the alluring, tragic and irresistibly wicked – these pages spread before us the activity that drew the voyeuristic eyes of a public over 150 years ago. We can only guess at the plight of worried faces, the cause of weeping, comforting and dramatically etched heads-in-hands. Black and white is embellished with showmanship words – “The Burning of the Body…the great bog” – or fattened with visual description, as words are reeled off of velvet banding and the coloured flounces of the latest Parisian fashions. Rock-pool shallows whisper of holidays – or perhaps treacherous currents – and the arched jockey and his horse could have promised winnings, or grimly reminded of money thrown away. Here today, gone tomorrow, daily news is quickly old, but these crowds become etched in our minds as a glimpse of a city’s gripes, musings and celebrations – all the more fascinating for being yesterday’s rag.