Delicate icon of art on display

Mary's Dress is on display at the Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby until Monday.
Mary's Dress is on display at the Pannett Art Gallery, Whitby until Monday.

Mary’s Dress, a delightful textile-based sculpture by Angela Chalmers, is on display at the Pannett Art Gallery in Whitby until Monday.

This hand-printed Victorian style dress was inspired by the history of Mary Craven, a determined and generous lady who provided much of the money to build St Martin-on-the-Hill Church.

Built from 1862 -1863, the contractors for the decoration of St Martin-on-the-Hill were Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co, an up and coming major force in Victorian interior decoration and design. Associates of the firm were Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Maddox Brown. Work of each of these can be found in the church.

Angela said: “I printed the fabric using an early photographic process called cyanotype, which was invented during Mary’s lifetime in 1842. The blue of the dress is specific to the photographic chemicals related to cyanotypes and seemed quite appropriate.

“The colour blue has been used throughout history to symbolise heaven, and is traditionally associated with the Virgin Mary.”

Angela chose to depict nature as the main design and discovered a tale about Mary in ‘The Book of Scarborough Spaw’, by Meredith Whittaker.

Angela said: “When Miss Craven, a respected and substantial citizen of the South Cliff, who had provided most of the money to build St Martin’s Church, was caught ‘purloining flowers from the grounds’ she was threatened with proceedings if there was any repetition.”

l Mary’s Dress is now on display in the Pannett Art Gallery’s Weatherill Gallery. The gallery is open seven days a week throughout the year, except for Christmas and New Year holidays. Telephone 01947 605559 for more details.