Visi(c)torian animals

Don’t try to call her creations “human” or “animals”. Charlotte Coy’s artworks are Visitorians.

The London based artist, novelist, playwright and journalist is best known for her collaged Victorian photography and taxidermy. When she was a teenager she started developing an interest in drawing and studying the animal kingdom. Years later, when the love for photography matured, she set up a darkroom at home for the creations of black and white pictures.

In this way, Charlotte Coy, started fusing all her passions: animals’ references with vintage photographic calling cards, called “cartes-de-visite”, popular in Victorian times. The results are images with animals head and human bodies, which at first can make you laugh, but later will make you thinking.

About her Visitorians, the artist said : “And yet there is something sadder: stuffed animals in museums, shot long ago not on glass plates but with guns, their very bodies likewise preserved for posterity to gawk at. Where did this moth-eaten tiger sniff his last antelope, over what distant verdure did that dusty parrot flap tremulous emerald wings?  One day it came to me: why not recycle the dispossessed pictures and the long dead creatures.  Grant them all a new lease of life. Better, more colourful, more deserving than before.”

All the cartes –de- visite are purchased by the artist in junk shops or antique markets, and her Visitorians are a must between the collectors of all over the world (Queen included!).

The majority of the unusual artist’s pictures have been put together in the book “You Animal, You!”, published by Black Dog Publishing.

Charlotte Coy’s Visitorians have been shown in the Royal Collection at Windsor and in the Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibitions. You can find a wide range of stationery and homeware inspired by her artworks at the “Sir John Soane Museum” in London.



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