Tuesday, 6 October 2009

William Stone 1811-1887

This collage is to commemorate my Great Great Grandfather, William Stone, who was born in 1811,  married his wife Elizabeth in 1835 and died in 1887.

Many of the elements in this collage are taken from his family bible, which is in my possession, and which records the births of their 10 children and the deaths of two of them.

William Stone had no great claim to fame having worked all his life as an agricultural labourer and always lived in the same small town in Dorset, England. I imagine that he would have started work by the age of 14 and that his life would have been very humdrum and unadventurous compared with what we are accustomed to today.

I think a couple of verses by Thomas Gray are appropriate here.

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the Poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour:-
The paths of glory lead but to the grave 

                              Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
                              Thomas Gray


The Artist Within Us said...

I remember you telling me about the bible and some of the old family photographs you have.

Is it not wonderful when one makes use of these precious possessions in creating new family art, while also not sacrificing the material.

Thank god for digital!

Your quote is most appropriate.

Thank you for sharing

Leslie Avon Miller said...

This is a wonderfully deep and complex collage. I have family memorabilia I consider too precious to use in collage. This is a fabulous means of using it and preserving it at the same time. I have English ancestors who must have toiled away at the land also. I often wish I could time travel and go back and observe the small details of their lives....

layers said...

Love weathered, worn old papers-- and these have a special meaning to you--personal meaning. The contrast between the circles and the geometric shapes creates a nice balance.

merci33 said...

There is an element of the alchemist in the work that you create, a turning of one thing into another...which is what we are all attempting to master no matter what our materials...yet these pieces of antiquity that you select and the restraint (ie. minamalist approach) that you employ makes for a kind of transcendence...they are truly lovely to behold.
I also love these John Updike and Sean Scully quotes in reference to this piece.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

This is quietly powerful, much I would imagine like the lives of the times and the poor. To realize his life brought so many lives also into this world is a fine achievement.
I have been the keeper of the families bible...one written in Hebrew, another in Norwegian and English as well...digital is an answer to using these in art making.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece and writing.

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