Illustration by David McInnes

Portrait by James Rodbourne

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The Faerie Land: Michael Drayton's Vision of Britain.

The first exhibition dedicated to Drayton and his Poly-Olbion.

A Department of English exhibition
Date7 October - 20 November 2015
PlaceForum Street

Michael Drayton’s epic 15,000 line topographical poem, Poly-Olbion, published in two volumes in 1612 and 1622, is one of the richest, yet least known repositories of British landscape, history, folklore, local customs and commodities, and its influence ripples through our culture like an underground river.

The Faerie Land, named for his alternate title for the poem, represents the first exhibition dedicated to Drayton and his Poly-Olbion. It is rooted in a collaboration between acclaimed children’s arts organization Flash of Splendour, the show's curators and Exeter University, in which young artists with disabilities and innovative contemporary artists were invited to create new works based on the poem.

The project as a whole is an imaginative and innovative effort to combine complex literary and artistic works – and work that is the subject of academic research at Exeter – with a broader educational agenda, specifically with SEN children. It is a bold and visually striking attempt to rethink the ‘vision’ of an early seventeenth-century description of the British nation.

Included in the exhibition are seventeenth-century images and documents, commissioned artistic work by professional artists, and work by the children.The installation also features a specially commissioned upside-down map of England and Wales by artist-cartographer Stephen Walter that stands about 3 metres high. 

(This exhibition is running at the English Folk Dance and Song Society at Cecil Sharp House until 1 November).

ProviderDepartment of English

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