Piers Browne, Titania & Bottom Lightbox
The Titania & Bottom Lightbox combines Piers Browne’s love of theatre, poetry, Shakespeare and Wensleydale, into a single etching.
… And when the light dims this backlit etching takes on a new guise.
Etched in 1984 the main unlit edition was of 75, and the boxed (lit) edition was of 10, however only 3-4 copies were printed, and the plates have long since been lost. This is therefore an extremely rare Piers Browne print.
The print is presented as tryptic, representing the wings and main stage of a theatre and the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is set on one of Wensleydale’s most iconic landmarks, Lady Hill. The players, a group of punks, were recruited when Pier’s met them in Richmond.
Notes from Piers …
The scene is set on Lady Hill’s drumlin mound among the few remaining Scots pines there planted to commemorate Q Victoria’s golden Jubilee I think in 1896.
First performed in 1605, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’s DREAM has never been more than a Shakespeare play favourite. The picture I’ve done is a parallel play within the play to one more real’er life one, and shows the King of the Fairies, OBERON – on far right enjoying his spell’s truly jovial mixing-ups which PUCK his court Jester (on far left prone in the grass) been given full rein to stimulate chaos – is very cross with his very beautiful Fairy queen TITANIA for not letting him have an Indian boy as a knight in his entourage (as she wants him for herself), and had made a magic flower potion (we’d use mushrooms?).
What Shakespeare’s audience’s through 400 years have loved was the genius idea of making a ‘Mechanic’ called BOTTOM (probably a v common builder) being turned into a donkey, and making TITANIA his lovely wife fall in love with this monstrous beast! And that’s where we are in the LIGHTBOX. Hugely funny reversals! And all this parallels what is happening to the (as it were) real-life characters one of whom has by magic been made to love his mate’s (another (Wensleydale) prince of Thebes) ‘s husband. Not quite a husband swop and all v temporarily… so A M S N’s Dream is a play with fairies in it and real hero and heroines (from ancient Greece).
It was complex enough without a Lysander and Hermia, Demetrius and Helena (not sure if right partner’s names!) and the king of Thebes asking for a comic play with Fairies, Mechanics etc in it.