From Archive to Frame – Axbridge Museum

Andrea Oke


Axbridge Chronicle C1400


A fascinating story of King Edmund and Dunstan is contained in one of Axbridge Museum’s archives. However, the document is now kept in Somerset Records Office for safety and,  is written in latin which,  I am afraid I am unable to read. So how can you see it? Well this post is about the story’s journey back into Axbridge, from Taunton Archives, on to the wall of the Museum.

Firstly, you can now hear the full story read by John Page, Chair of Axbridge Museum’s Trustees, by going to the website I created during the project for Axbridge Museum  or by clicking on the link below (you will need an up to date browser). John has been very helpful during the project and a source of so much information. He managed to find an english transcript of the story and patiently allowed me to record him reading this, and several other items, which all appear on the Axbridge Museum Artists blog under the resources tab.

So now the question is how to take these words,  create an artwork that illustrates the story and bring it back to hang in Axbridge Museum for Somerset Art Weeks?  There are a couple of pictures below to show you some of my process which, always starts with a drawing. You may notice that the drawing seems to cover several pieces of paper this is because, during the planning stage, I tend to start drawing and add pieces of paper depending upon where I need them. I once had a tutor that advised ‘You should never let a piece of paper dictate your artwork’ and I have to say I have reminded myself of that many times since.


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Drawing for King Edmund & Dunstan Story (The wild beasts in Cheddar Forest)


Once I had finished the drawing it was transferred to Somerset velvet paper (black). A good weight of paper that will take the screen printing I want to add without rippling. The paper was made locally in Wells but, due to technical issues, is not currently  in production, so it is increasingly difficult to get hold of. However, this makes it an  appropriate surface for the artwork. From there it is just a case of cutting out the silhouettes over many hours. However, I am keeping a surprise for you all, to be revealed nearer the time!


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Paper cut of beasts in Cheddar Forest for Dunstan & King Edmund illustration (Partially cut out)