Frank C. Bostock

We’re delighted to be working in collaboration with Gobbledegook who have taken up residence as one of six Associate Artists at The Old Church, Stoke Newington. Our first round of art ed activities with local primary schools William Patten and Tyssen began last week inspired by the incredible story of Frank C. Bostock during Victorian Britain. Bostock was from a family of landowners and animal handlers who developed the traveling menagerie to accommodate the performance of wild animals as a form of entertainment. His expert knowledge at the time, unique methods of working with animals and survival of more than one wild cat attack earned him the name ‘The Animal King’. His grave, notably that of a sleeping, marble lion, can be found in the beautiful Abney Park Cemetery. During our creative sessions with school children, we explored the fascination that the Victorians had with wild animals through taxidermy, toys and the fashion of their times. A dressing-up art activity got teachers, parents and kids eagerly involved and a catwalk finale brought out the wild side of our model performers. Incredible outfits and heated debate around the topic of animal welfare saw an emotionally charged and highly creative art session kick start the project. Thanks Frauke Westgate, Annie Fox and Sean Westgate for a fun and energised couple of days! … We’re now reflecting on the children’s responses in preparation for phase two, another round of art activities interpreting the themes of Bostock, wild animals and Victoriana – Keep your ears pinned back for news of Gobbledgook’s public art installation, the culmination of our research in schools, happening at The Old Church at the beginning of Summer 2019.

Photos: Sean Westgate

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