Foible & Folly exhibition a celebration of men (and beasts) that were part of Sandown’s story

A spiteful donkey, rogue sailor and pinched pigeons, designer Lauren Fry delves into Isle of Wight newspaper archives to unearth fantastic tales of bygone Sandown

Foible & Folly window display

Isle of Wight Designer and Arts educator, Lauren Fry was given the herculean task of trawling through the Victorian Isle of Wight newspaper archive to tease out stories and fragments of Sandown history that combine to illustrate the very personality of a place.

Foible & Folly
The resultant exhibition, Foible & Folly, features three large articled paper dolls, that will be displayed in the window of Boojum and Snark over the year.

George Reid seaman from HMS Minotaur
George Reid's  snippet from the County Press
George Reid seaman from HMS Minotaur

A celebration of men (and beasts) that were part of Sandown’s story
Lauren Fry, said,

“When I started looking through the British Newspaper Archives online my only predetermined idea was that I wasn’t interested in celebrity visitors or Royals gracing the town with their presence. I wanted to find stories about people that were the fabric of Sandown and understand a little about their daily experience.

“Each story that made the cut contained something I couldn’t get out of my mind, the anthropomorphic form of a sailor from HMS Minotaur, a donkey attributed with the human trait of being spiteful and where did the man who stole two pigeons and rabbit actually hide them?

“Foible & Folly is a celebration of men (and beasts) that were part of Sandown’s story and although 30 years apart one building was the location of their mishaps and misdemeanours a building, The Kings Head, that is again the talk of the town as its story has taken another turn with heritage squatters briefly occupying the Ocean Hotel.”

Community involvement
In order to get the community involved Lauren utilised online sources and pre-prepared activity packs, managing to gain some great community input including words of wisdom inspired by the often wacky Things Thoughtful quotes published in the Isle of Wight Times as well as working with young people to make thaumatropes, popular Victorian optical toys used to animate the scenes.

John Lowe at Foible & Folly
John Lowe's snippet from the Mercury
Foible & Folly rabbit

Comical haikus
Collaborating with local poet, King Stammers, they managed to get people contributing comical haikus about the Sandown stories.

Lauren said,

“It’s really important to me that my work looks accessible, I want people to see it and be inspired to have a go at making something rather than feel alienated by high-brow art materials.

“I’m driven by the belief that engagement with art in any form has far reaching positive outcomes.”

Foible & Folly window display
Donkey at Foible & Folly

Breathed life into perhaps forgotten stories and people
Julie Jones-Evans, Boojum&Snark co-founder, said,

“Foible & Folly, has given us the opportunity to peep back in time. It has got the community exploring their own creativity and has encouraged us to see Sandown through new eyes.

“Lauren has breathed life into perhaps forgotten stories and people.

“It’s very clever how the reflections of buildings when you photograph the characters place them back once again on the High Street! ”

Foible & Folly is one of three Boojum&Snark Arts Council funded projects to run this year.

See the Boojum&Snark Website for more information. Follow them on Instagram or Facebook.

News shared by Tracy on behalf of Boojum and Snark. Ed

Thursday, 8th April, 2021 10:37am



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2 Comments on "Foible & Folly exhibition a celebration of men (and beasts) that were part of Sandown’s story"

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Just stunning quality work by emerging young artist/designer Lauren Fry. Just love this novel aesthetic using fine art pencil work and dayglo felt tip pens. Fab attention to detail. Great to shine a spotlight on quirky stories from the past. Well done Lauren ❤️

Mark L Francis

Looks like it was all kicking off down the King’s Head then…