Monday, March 18, 2013

36 Craven Street

So here it is finished...

Dr Franklin is looking out of his first floor rooms, occupied by himself and words. Words being so important to him. I found a clipping featuring eighteenth century typesetting. Oddly enough and quite by coincidence the text was part of a poster advertising slaves for sale. And slaves lived in No 36. Ben Franklin's slaves.
I have to say I found it surprising to learn that the enlightened great man owned quite a number.
Two of whom, Peter and King, came to London with him.

I moved Peter, apparently the more "competent and loyal", out onto the street where he is seen bringing in a parcel addressed to Dr Franklin, possibly one of the regular packages sent by his wife Deborah in Philadelphia. King is upstairs, with the other servants, planning his escape.
Within a year of his arrival in London King had absconded. He was eventually traced to Suffolk of all places where, it appeared, a lady had take it upon herself to take him in and "gentrify" him, teaching him music and literacy. Franklin didn't pursue the matter further and left King to it. I'd love to know what became of him.
Polly is on the front door step in welcoming mode, while Mrs Stevenson is upstairs in what looks suspiciously like party mode. I have added in one of Polly's daughters who in reality would have been younger than she is seen here.
But I'm allowing myself, as ever, to concoct convenient time shifts, artistic licence and all that.
I think this is one of my busiest collages to date. Maybe I felt the need to people the house which must be one of the barest museums ever. The inside is stripped back to the bare original minimum, no furniture, and the tour is conducted by an actor. Which probably sparked the theatrical idea here.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing details! Well worth all the work. What a fascinating story. Life would never have been dull in this house!