In 2018, I won English Heritage's national competition to design three internally illuminated voile illustrations to hang from the ceiling of their refurbished visitor centre at Whitby Abbey. This reopened to the public in April 2019, with my voile illustrations installed, and really is a lovely interpretative celebration of Whitby Abbey.
I was able to draw on my background as a historian and Anglo-Saxon history enthusiast to provide the subject matter for the illustrations, which were designed to respond to three themes set by English Heritage to match three areas within the exhibition: Spirituality, Landscape & Occupation and Culture & Inspiration. For the last of these, I couldn't resist illustrating one of the most resonant passages from the early English historian Bede, which says:
"O king, it seems to me that this present life of man on earth, in comparison to that time which is unknown to us, is as if you were sitting at table in the winter with your ealdormen and thegns, and a fire was kindled and the hall warmed, while it rained and snowed and stormed outside. A sparrow came in, and swiftly flew through the hall; it came in at one door, and went out at the other. Now during the time when he is inside, he is not touched by the winter's storms; but that is the twinkling of an eye and the briefest of moments, and at once he comes again from winter into winter. In such a way the life of man appears for a brief moment; what comes before, and what will follow after, we do not know."
(Bede - Historia Ecclesiastica, 9th Century)
Thank you once more to English Heritage for choosing my work to win the competition. If you happen to have any requirements for historical, museum or other illustrations, please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.