Jess Davies: Museum of Dartmoor Life, Okehampton
Although Devon Open Studios is over, the museum have asked to keep my exhibit up for a while. Thought I would share the 5 ‘timeline’ prints closer up. They show a fictional Dartmoor valley changing over time:
– geological, valley formed through volcanic activity (inspired by the museum’s info boards on this )
– Neolothic / Monolithic / Bronze : we see the circular huts whose ruins dot Dartmoor today, plus a spanking new stone circle. Also first field markings. The forest is thick. (The museum has a hut mock-up, with bronze tools )
– Medieval: the circular stone huts have been pillaged for their materials, and the new dwelling is a fine Devon ‘longhouse’. The first tin ore crushing and smelting operations, machinery turned by water wheel power. The wool industry is in full swing. The forest is mostly gone by now, and fuel is now dried peat, cut from the moor.
(the museum has a fine water-wheel, tools from the tin industry, peat-cutting, and wool industry)
– Victorian: tin ore cannot be found on the surface any more, so deep mining is now established, and the scale of crushing and smelting has grown. Granite quarried from Dartmoor is now furnishing roads and fine buildings. The military, since the Napoleoonic wars, have used Dartmoor for training.
– Twenty-first century: mining and quarrying have largely ceased on Dartmoor. The new industry is tourism. Pack ponies used in the past now roam wild, and with sheep and cattle, keep the moor grazed and accessible for walkers. The military still have large areas of Dartmoor for training, but also have a conservation role, holding areas where tourists do not tread.
The drypoint prints in earlier posts depict 20 tools and objects from the museum which have been key to these changes on the land.