On July 7th 1865, 150 years ago, Jane Morris’ image was caught on wet-collodion glass plates by John Robert Parsons, following Rossetti’s instructions. I always like to celebrate important events in Jane Morris’ life so I treated myself to a workshop ‘non-toxic polymere etching’ by Petra Tolboom at the Grafische Werkplaats in Den Haag.
First step is laminating a copper plate with light sensitive photopolymer, exposing it with a transparent positive and allowing it to harden under UV light.
Second step is inking the plate with water based ink and printing it on an etching press.
My prints are now being dried pressed using heavy William Morris and Rossetti books. When they are flat I will use them as a starting point; combining photography, etching and drawing. The newly learned technique offers a huge variety of possibilities and I very much look forward to learn more about non-toxic printing.
Between 2009 and 2010, I experimented with creating a dummy glossy. I thought it was a perfect device for juxtaposing Jane’s lifestory with mine. Little did I know that in the upcoming summer issue of the international fashion/art magazine Lone Wolf our story actually will be told!
A few days before John Robert Parsons photographed her, Rossetti wrote in a letter to Jane Morris: ‘…The photographer is coming at eleven on Wednesday. So I’ll expect you as early as you can manage…’.
I had always assumed that the photographs had been taken in the course of a single day. However, while reading Jan Marsh’s catalogue for the exhibition ‘Rossetti’s Obsession: Images of Jane Morris’, I became intrigued by the following paragraph: ‘In autumn 1865 the Morrises moved to Queen Square, central London; earlier in the year they had spent a few days at Tudor House, where Rossetti organised a photo shoot, with Jane taking various poses to use as studies for future compositions…’
Eager to find out how to divide the series of photographs into separate shoots, I disregarded the order used in ‘Album of Portraits of Mrs. William Morris (Jane Burden) Posed by Rossetti, 1865’. Instead, I rearranged the photographs in what I myself surmise is the actual sequence in which Parsons took these photographs. I leave it to you to decide how the photographs should be distributed over the several sessions, if at all…
The narrative and voice are from an off-the-cuff recording for my exhibition at the William Morris Gallery. If you want to buy the cd or simply leave a comment please go to the contact page!