Monday 14 June 2021

Photographs From Ben Edge's Ritual Britain Exhibition

If you're in London and interested in Folklore, don't miss the Ritual Britain exhibition that's currently on at the Crypt Gallery, St Pancras. It's a display of pictures, photos and film by artist Ben Edge and items from the Museum of British Folklore among other art and objects.

Ben has been working on a project called Frontline Folklore since 2017, exploring and recording folkloric customs in Britain. Simon Costin, director of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, is behind the Museum of British Folklore, which is dedicated to celebrating and researching the UK's folkloric cultural heritage. Between them, they've put on an amazing exhibition. 

I visited yesterday and loved it. The photos on this page are just a taster. At the top you can see the outside of the venue: St Pancras New Church with its wonderful Caryatids. The exhibition is in the crypt. I must admit I'm a lover of crypts at any time, but especially when they are used as art galleries. The one at St Pancras is full of long corridors with arched nooks and crannies off at either side, in which the objects and art have been placed and atmospherically lit. At one point you have to walk around stacks of old gravestones. Very Gothic.

As well as Ben's paintings, you can watch his film titled ‘Frontline Folklore’, which records customs and festivals including the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, the carrying of flaming tar barrels at Ottery St Mary, the October Plenty festival in Southwark and London's Pearly Kings and Queens. It was recorded throughout 2019, and ends with a comment about how customs change over time and thoughts about how things might be different after the pandemic.

The other photos on this page show Punch and Judy puppets; a hobby horse; an elemental guardian made of straw by Victoria Musson with a painting of Druids at Primrose Hill by Ben.

The exhibition runs until 4 July at the Crypt Gallery (St Pancras), Euston Road, London, NW1 2BA. It's open from noon to 6pm and you can just turn up between Wednesday and Sunday. Entry is free, but there are also some ticketed events. More details here:

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