A hurdy-gurdy player and his dog attack a hapless pilgrim. This print is based upon an etching by Jacques Bellange (c.1575-1616) titled “Hurdy Gurdy”. A pilgrim presumably comes in peace, yet that is no protection and though better shod and with a stick and unencumbered by a musical instrument, the pilgrim is coming off worst. A surprise attack is only a surprise to the victim, the aggressor has carefully laid their plan. In the making of this print I realised that despite simplifying the image, without the aids of tone and colour it is difficult to read, and yet in a way that is the point: an attack from some unlikely quarter is hard to foresee or unravel. Here I've tried to show the musicians public alter ego, the smiling face of his instrument. I took up the idea of a hurdy-gurdy player with ill-intent after a recent visit with a friend to an agricultural museum in Norfolk. Beguiled by the playing of historic and unusual music, we attended the players' puppet theatre. There we were appalled by the innuendo, double entendre and nastiness of the act, with an audience of young girls whom he'd invited to draw as close as possible and who were genuinely frightened by the performance. After about twenty minutes we left and retired to the cafe, spending the next half hour regretting not staging a better performance ourselves by acquiring a pair of scissors, snipping the strings of the hurdy-gurdy, pursing our lips and giving a sharp nod of the head toward the player, Stan Laurel style.
This print is pulled from an engraving cut from a sheet of rubber, a variation of letterpress. After removal of areas that are to be left as white paper, the rubber sheet is then rolled up with ink and pressed to paper, producing the print. Reprinting isn't really practical, so the edition is forever fixed at 6 copies. The print comprises oil-based black ink on high quality acid free paper, and should present no difficulty from fading in any situation. It will fit straight into a standard 10x12 inch frame.
oil-based black printing ink, Hahnemuhle etching paper 300gsm