Common land enclosed by a wall to make a park for hunting animals

Wall – the enclosure of the common

Golden Stones in the Wall
Park Game 1 – a hatchment
Park Game 2 – a hatchment

Landshapes – in mud

Breakthrough – reclaiming the common

This series of screenprints is based on a reproduction of an eighteenth century drawing which shows the vicar of Richmond leading his parishioners to break through the wall into Richmond Park.  This was previously common land, but had been enclosed as a park for hunting deer by the aristocracy.  The local people were now reclaiming the common.

These prints are the result of a series of reproductions, starting from the original line drawing, which was photographed, half-tone screened, and printed by black and white off-set litho printing in a book.  Then followed my digital scanning, digital manipulation, enlargement,  and screen-printing in colours, including gold ink and mud.  The prints expose the distortions of the image which have been created by the multiple modes of reproduction.

Each print shows a detail from the image. Landshapes shows a few of the half-tone dots from the land in the foreground of the image, hugely enlarged, and printed with mud. In Breakthrough the section has been simplified to focus on the main action.

The image is a rare example of a contemporaneous visualisation of the many protests against enclosure in England. I initially found it reproduced in Landscape, Nature and the Body Politic by Kenneth Olwig (2002), and the author kindly sent me a copy. I have since found it in Whigs and Hunters by EP Thompson (1975) in a version which is not half-tone; a website on the history of Richmond (www.richmondhistory.org.uk) which shows a coloured version; and in the Hearsum Collection website which shows it in a 1751 book, facing the title page.