Friday 2 November 2018

Pollocks Toy Museum in Scala Street and Toy Theatres

Peter and I were lucky enough to be invited a wonderful afternoon discussing a future project with a small group of makers and illustrators at the beautiful and atmospheric museum in Scala Street ( just off Tottenham Court Road ). Now run again by members of the original family who bought up Pollocks stock and set up the toy museum and shop across two old houses a few generations ago, it is taking exciting steps forward with the introduction of new original artwork by Jack, one of the younger generation and an ex art student, a sculptor and printmaker keen to archive and promote the core of the museum collection - the original copper plates for the Toy Theatres. An exhibition is in the air, possibly for autumn next year. Jack is suggesting some contemporary takes on the Theatre format and possibly interventions in the museum, and also taking the exhibition further afield.

I love the advent calendars and small theatres Jack has been doing for the shop – rush along and buy some!
This place, and project is very close to my heart. I have been going there for fifty years – I discovered it when a student at the Slade nearby and then working briefly in the early 70’s making lithographs with Stanley Jones at the old Curwen Studios in Midford Place round the corner and the Curwen Studio Gallery in the mews nearby; another old and dear Lewes friend was also a member of the family it turned out and I feel she has guided me back there from above. 

I have been making Carnivalesque boxes, small card hand theatres and paper Punch and Judy shows, valentine card boxes on and off for some years now – scroll back through the years of my blog for images – and this new opportunity is heaven sent at a time when I had just decided to do some more small concentrated works on paper as a short rest from huge printed books.

I have also just been forced by the flood to tidy up my house-ful of informal installations and present some images here which show I feel some connections between Jack and Eddy’s museum and my normal working environment!

Well I have been trying to impose some sort of order, which can be a boring - but now I have something specific to work for and plenty of inspiration on hand and at the museum.
I have also been reading Grimaldi's Memoirs which fortunately Peter had to hand ( what a star) and he is all fired up by the idea of printing engraved plates and me to design paper theatres.

Watch this space.

Here's one of my v old handheld theatres to save you scrolling back, in the Tom Paine Printing Shop window.....and various old pop up events

SYLVA PostScript

Wonderful events come thick and fast – the tree afternoon was a delight with two really good speakers and plans for future Tree Events; and it was lovely to find that our informal collaboration with the Lewes Tree Group survey for the text of our book was appreciated and that we were all on the same wavelength – David had a list of categories for dividing up the images of the trees in his talk – to which we had added I think - Revolutionary Trees. We in turn noted some important trees we had perhaps overlooked – so plenty of scope for further research and image making – and a future collaboration too perhaps between all of us and possibly some annual event organised by John. Many thanks to all the people who attended and helped out, it was a splendid turn-out.
It was too busy to even think of taking photos! but here are some of the individual trees laid out when they were work in progress......enlarge and enjoy if you can
book now available from
Tom Paine Printing Press, 151 High Street Lewes
Emporium Antique Centre, Cliffe High Street Lewes
or Lewes Tourist Information Centre, 187 High Street Lewes