See fears, foes and faeries at exbition

A NEW exhibition looking at British folklore through the ages opens soon at Scarborough Art Gallery.

Fears, Foes & Faeries, from March 23, features part of a large collection assembled in the early part of the 20th century by Scarborough naturalist, collector and amateur folklorist, William James Clarke.

The exhibition covers various different angles: Foes – a collection of objects, many dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, which were believed to protect against witches; Faeries – charting the development of faeries from dark and threatening creatures to their current, more whimsical incarnation as benign beings; The ‘Charmacy’ – charms and amulets with a medical slant; Birds and beasts – it’s believed that Clarke’s interest in folkloric objects may have developed from his interest in the natural world: many of them are organic; Safety at sea – a subject close to many Scarborians’ hearts.

Karen Snowden, head of collections, said: “This is a very quirky and eccentric collection. Charms and amulets are basically about managing fear, the thing we find most unmanageable in our everyday life.”

It is the culmination of a three-year project as part of Precious Cargos, Stories of the World, one of the key projects of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Scarborough Art Gallery will close briefly for essential maintenance, and to allow for installation of the exhibition, between Monday and March 23.