2017 Broadsheet

November 20, 2017 by admin

We have produced a 2017 broadsheet – download it in pdf or word formats.

A printed version is also available. Order copies from UKDHM info@ukdhm.org


2017 Day Conference

October 20, 2017 by admin

Find below videos and media for Art and Disability Day Conference, 21st October 2017
Presented in collaboration with NDACA



Richard Rieser

Download presentation powerpoint


Tony Heaton

Download presentation powerpoint


Breathe Nothing of Slaughter – Contradictions of death and impairment and sculpture of war memorials


Tanya Raabe Webber

Art and Disability

Portraits Untold

Revealing Culture Head On


Barbara Lisicki


Sarah Dormer from NDACA


NDACA Animations
1.Social Model

2.The National Disability Arts Collection and Archive

3.Portraiture and Representation

4.The Disability Arts Movement: Art and Activism infused


Alison Lapper


No Body’s Perfect

2017 Timeline

October 11, 2017 by admin

We want to examine artists who have been disabled, artists who have featured disabled people through a social model lens but also to understand the attitudes existing at different times over history towards disabled people through their portrayal in Art.

As a clear visual representation of this, we have made a timeline plotting different artists’ lives, working over the past 600 years.

View the timeline here

Disabled Century BBC Produced and Directed by David Hevey

September 30, 2017 by richard

Can be viewed on line at www.davidhevey.com/viewing

Episode 1

The Disabled CenturyEpisode 1 of 3

A look at the experiences of those disabled while fighting for their country in the two world wars, and the harsh, often brutal realities that confronted the vast majority of disabled people in the early years of the century. It covers World War I heroes reduced to begging in the streets; Horace Blackburn’s struggle to get work; Bill Surrey, in institutions for 77 years; Gladys Brooks, strapped to a steel frame for two and a half years; Snowy Harding, whose family could not afford a wheelchair; fighter ace Douglas Bader, who lost both legs; and the Guinea Pig Club.

Episode 2

The Disabled CenturyEpisode 2 of 3

A look at whether the creation of the welfare state made life better for Britain’s disabled community, and at the rights that disabled groups, including the blind and those affected by thalidomide, began to demand.

100 years of solitude The Guardian


When Les Price wanted to transcribe Ulysses into braille in the 1960s, the prim volunteers at the National Library for the Blind were mortified. That wasn’t the sort of enlightenment they had in mind. Peter Lennon reviews a century of patronising attitudes towards disabled people

Snowy Harding’s life is a weird illustration of Bishop Berkeley’s dictum: “I am because I am perceived”. Or, in his case: “I am what I am perceived to be.” As a child in the 1930s, Snowy would race down 53 steps in the council flats where he lived in West Ham, east London, and rush off the mile and a half to the pictures with the other kids. Then, perceived by his pals as normal, he would play cowboys and indians on the street with them.

The kids just accepted that Snowy did everything crawling. He has suffered all his life from muscular dystrophy, and his mother could not afford a wheelchair. “I didn’t know I was disabled,” Snowy says, “until during the war, when I was 14 and the other kids were evacuated to families in the country. I was sent to an institution.”

How disabled and disfigured people have been perceived over this century is the subject of a new three-part BBC2 series, The Disabled Century, starting tomorrow.

The century opened with disabled people hidden away or tolerated in small communities. It was assumed that they had nothing of any significance to contribute to society.

The first world war changed that somewhat; a place was found for many performing menial tasks in the munitions factories, doing their bit to add a few more disabled to the world.

When the soldiers returned from the second world war, society realised it owed a debt to those disabled in that conflict. At least in the early stages, disfigured soldiers were taken care of, living together in communities of their own. Morale was fairly good since they were “able to face the stares together”.

The 1960s brought a new scourge: thalidomide. Mat Fraser tells how compensation cases were assessed. His mother brought him into a room where there were some strange gentlemen. One of them said: “There are sweets in the top drawer of that filing cabinet.” With only stumps for arms, Mat managed to find the sweeties in the drawer. “£15,000 compensation,” the man said.

Mat Fraser was one of the rare victims of thalidomide who was able to go on to public school. On his first day as a prefect there was a ritual where all the fags were lined up and he had to slap one. He kicked him in the face instead; Mat was more accustomed to using his bare feet than his shrivelled arms. Later, his father gave him boxing gloves and he became a handy kick boxer.

Old attitudes towards disfigurement still clung obstinately to those entrusted with the care of young thalidomide victims. They did not like the idea of those shrublike arms and insisted on prosthetic aids when the children were eating. When it became clear that they were infinitely more skilful handling their food without artificial limbs, a compromise was reached in some homes: there was a rule that decency must be observed on Saturdays and special occasions, so the children were harnessed up at weekends.

For all the liberating ethos of the 1960s, the old patronising attitudes to disabled people persisted; they were still treated as children, expected to be pleased with simple things. Their own courage in living with their disability was often put down to a matter of Christian faith. They were rarely offered opportunities to control their own lives.

It was in the turbulent 1970s – the winter of discontent, Edward Heath and his three-day week – that individual protest began to be heard; but there was still no effective organisation to speak for people with disabilities.

After a youth of dependent living spent in institutions, with few possessions and no experience of organising their own lives, thalidomide children were dumped on the community at the age of 18. Care in the Community was the slogan later, but where were the resources to fund it? It had one useful effect: for good or evil, disabled people lost their isolation and became a very visible element in society.

In the 1980s, there was a hurried attempt to hide them away again. In contrast to the second world war – when, at least for a time, the war wounded were honoured – the triumphalism of the Falklands war did not chime with blasted faces and severed limbs. So when it came to the Falklands victory pagentry, the disabled servicemen tended to be hidden behind the arras.

In the late 1980s, there were serious moves to achieve civil rights for the disabled. It looked as if they might be getting somewhere with the proposals for a disability discrimination act. But when the act was passed in 1995, disabled people once again felt cheated: there were no adequate provisions for imposing sanctions on offenders. “They could just laugh at our legal threats,” disabled groups complained.

The 1990s brought the issue of direct action for access to the forefront, and Londoners at least began to experience a new kind of traffic problem when disabled members of the Direct Action Network began to chain themselves to buses.

When director David Hevey began research for The Disabled Century it was hard to find archive material. “In the old days people did not film disabilities specifically,” he says. “It was not seen as worthy of being filmed, except in a circus. Before the second world war it was not really seen as a photograph issue.”

When he did get archive footage, instead of resorting to the conventional device of cutting back and forth from past to present, he hit on an ingenious device to underline the fact that for these people their tormented past was actively part of their present: he projected images of their past on to their breasts, their faces, pulsating on their skin. “That way,” Hevey says, “their past is a physical sign, almost a stigma on their body. We explained why we were doing it, and they were happy with it. It showed that their history is still active in them, a living issue.”

But they were not all stories of frustration and deprivation. For Les Price, a blind piano tuner, the future seemed forbidding when, in his forties, television sets began to replace the upright piano in the parlour. But he got a job in the National Library for the Blind, and one of his duties was to arrange for the transcription of books into braille. When in 1962 he was made head librarian, he saw a chance to achieve a great ambition: to have James Joyce’s Ulysses transcribed into braille.

“It was my proudest moment,” Les says. “Except, of course, Manchester United winning everything”.

However, initially there was a problem. The National Library for the Blind was founded in 1882 by a group of elderly women whose motive was to give enlighten- ment – mostly of the religious variety – to the blind. “Many of the transcribers were prim ladies, mostly retired school teachers,” Les says. “By 1962, it had moved somewhat, but there was a rearguard action that we shouldn’t give anything to the blind that was ‘dirty’. It was not the staff who objected, but the whole [transcribing] procedure was based on volunteers. I should say that they were very dedicated people, but Lady Chatterley they would not have touched.”

Molly Bloom’s soliloquy was out of the question. In the end, Les Price found an ideal solution: “The transcription was done by a Jewish lady, a member of the staff at the library.”

Despite their determination and ingenuity, the disabled people are still a long way from winning a just place in society.Two out of three disabled people live in poverty or close to it; fewer than one in 10 secondary schools have wheelchair access; six out of 10 disabled people capable of working are not in work.

BBC/The Disabled Century, Broadcast 3 x 40’ film series. BBC2/BBC4/BFI 3×40’. Director/producer David Hevey
Mind Mental Health Media Awards nominee.
“Brilliant…a really good example of the bigger and better philosophy.” BBC2 Channel Controller.
“Visually striking” Paul Hoggart, The Times.
“Beauty and eloquence perpetually forced the viewer to look and hear in fresh ways”. Robert Hanks, The Independent.

“Exemplary..Magnificent..I hope to see it leading the Bafta nominations”, Gerard O’Donovan, The Telegraph.
“First rate”, Jack Dee, The Guardian’s My Media column.
“On any level, the best programme on television this week”. The Independent.
“Extraordinary” Daily Mail.
“Social history at its finest” Polly Toynbee, The Guardian.

Sierra Leone amputees turn to art

September 29, 2017 by richard

Painting by amputee artist Seih MansarayBildergebnis für Sierra Leone Amputees turn to Art

But in Sierra Leone, a country where the people have learnt the hard way that anything is possible, that is exactly what you will find.

I feel so happy now. With my paintings I’ve been able to show people why I am like I am.

Seih Mansaray

An afternoon visit to Aberdeen amputee camp satisfied my curiosity.

In a rundown shack at the back of this makeshift village, I found the artists hard at work.

One’s immediate impression is of how colourful this small, dusky room is.

Colourful, not only in comparison with the dirty brown of the surrounding camp, but colourful because of the smiles.

Not all the artists are amputees – many of them are children of amputees.

Light into their lives

But all of them are victims of war.

During Sierra Leone’s 10-year civil war, thousands of innocent civilians had their limbs hacked off.

The rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) were the main perpetrators, but many of those maimed by machetes will accuse government soldiers.

Aberdeen amputee camp artists

Amputees have found a new goal in painting 

Between fighting forces it was, the amputees say, like for like.

But the end result is the same.

There is an overwhelming feeling of depression in the camp.

On previous visits numerous amputees had told me that they would rather be dead.

‘What use am I now?’ they ask in frustration, waving a severed limb as if to illustrate the point.


‘How can I help my children grow up and have a decent life?”

Finally a very simple project has brought some light into their lives.

Some of the children, as well as their disabled parents, have found something to focus on.

Hillary Ravenscroft and Abu Bangura

The project is about taking and giving

The painting is both therapeutic and potentially lucrative.

It all started out of guilt.

‘Guilt’, because some United Nations staff who had been carrying out research with the amputees felt that it was all take and no give.

They were looking for a way to give something back to the amputees.

Then Hillary Ravenscroft arrived in Sierra Leone, joining her husband on a business trip.

Healing process

As a teacher and an artist she was able to take up the mantle for the frustrated UN staff, and started the art project.

Its impact, she says, has been remarkable.

The act of recreating their memories as a shared image has become part of a healing process for the amputees.

Seih Mansaray at work

Seih Mansaray says painting has changed his life

But Hillary would not accept the credit for such therapy.

This has become a community project at heart.

Local businesses provide bits of material for the artists; a ream of paper from a print shop, a bucket of paint from a paint manufacturer.

What is more, the volume of work that the artists has produced illustrates the dedication with which they have thrown themselves into the project.


In less than three months more than 500 pieces of art have materialised, and the art group, of more than 50 people, keeps on growing.

Seih Mansaray is the oldest amputee in the group.

He no longer cries at night. Instead he puts his worries and dreams into his art.

Hillary Ravenscroft

For him painting has been a godsend, a way of telling his story and exorcising the demons that have plagued his mind since rebels hacked off his right arm four years ago.

“I feel so happy now. With my paintings I’ve been able to show people why I am like I am,” he says.

His pictures are basic but their content is brutal.

A smiling rebel stands over him holding an arm aloft as a trophy.

“They laughed at me,” he says. “But I’ve got a life again, I can do something useful. When I paint I forget that I’ve only got one arm.”

New lease of life

One of the children in the camp, Abu Bangura, lost his father to the rebels.

His mother had both her legs cut off.

Abu Bangura with one of his pictures

Abu Bangura will buy food with the painting money

As the oldest child, Abu assumed responsibility for the family.

The burden was often too much to bear but, as Hillary explains, the painting has given him a new lease of life.

“He no longer cries at night. Instead he puts his worries and dreams into his art,” she says.

The therapeutic aspect of the painting is undeniable but recently another, more concrete benefit has been added.

Art for food

The amputee art is being sold.

An exhibition at the UN headquarters in Freetown sold almost every piece of work.

Standing in front of his gallery of paintings Abu’s eyes light up.

Every item has a “Sold” sticker on it.

“I am so proud, I’ve sold everything. Now I will be able to buy enough food for my family and maybe even continue my education,” he says.

An artist at the amputee camp

Amputees learn to come to terms with their disability

This monetary aspect is integral to the project.

The amputees and their families are desperately short of money.

This little project has made a significant difference to so many lives.

Some might argue that their work is only popular because of who they are.

Their customers are more interested in the fact that the painting they buy is from an amputee camp.

For many the aesthetic value of the painting is secondary, but so what?

More and more foreigners are coming to Sierra Leone, and the macabre fascination with amputees is always there.

The amputees and their family have found a way of making money out of this western curiosity about brutality.

More importantly, however, they have found a way to deal with the terrible memories they have bottled up inside.

BBC News Tuesday, 11 June, 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/2038949.stm

Tracey Lazard on UN CRPD Committee calling UK Government’s Treatment of Disabled People a Catastrophe

by richard


IL in Geneva

We gave evidence to the UN in August alongside our sister DDPOs

Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations were hailed as “world leaders” by the UN for their efforts in bringing to light the injustices and human rights violations inflicted on Disabled people in the UK.The UN Disability Committee condemned the UK government, saying that austerity policies have caused a ‘human catastrophe’ for Deaf and Disabled people in the UK.

DDPOs and the thousands of Deaf and Disabled people we work with can feel very proud at the contribution we made. Catch up here:

Disability in Medieval Art

September 24, 2017 by richard

Most of the portrayals of disabled people from the 10th to end of 13th Century are to be found in illustrated hand coloured and drawn manuscripts, miniature paintings from greater Persia and stain glassed windows produced by unknown artisans or artists.. They are mainly moral tales and tales of miracles deriving from the religious stories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

St Gulthric expells demon East Anglia 1210 (1)

St Gulthric expels a demon 1210, England. A acknowledgement of mental health ?

Christ Heals a paralytic The Gospel of Tsar Ivan Alexander, Turnova 1355 (3)Christ Heals a blind man The Syriac Lectionaary Mosul 1216 (1)

Christ heals a paralytic at pool at Bethesda-‘Take up thy bed and walk’ and Christ heals a blind man
Syrian Lectionary northern Iraq 1256-20

A paralytic is healed by Cuthbert's shrine 1200 DurhamLife of St cuthbert book. Heals child and blind man. Durham 1200

A paralytic healed by Cuthburt’s Shrine and a baby and youth cured by relics (a hair) of St Cuthbert. Bede’s Life of Saint Cuthburt ,Durham 1200.

Often disabled pilgrims were portrayed on their way to a holly shrine for a cure.


Pilgrims, 2 lame and one blind, on their way to Mount St.Michel in France. The Luttrel Psalter Lincoln 1325

Sometimes just a thorn from Christs Crown, nails from his cross or his winding sheet-the holy grail were attributed with cures.

The Holy Grail is carried to Sarras(Jerusalam) La Queste del Saint Graal France 1316. Note lame man cured.

The holy grail is carried to Sarras(Jerusalam) by knoights assisted by a lame man cured by Galahad The Quest for the Holy Grail France 1316

Manuscript illustrations give us glimpse into the life of disabled people during this period

meideval crutches July 18 Hermann of Reichenau 1013-1054Medieval crutches July 18 Hermann of Reichenau 1013-1054

MS. Bodl. 264, part 1. 14th C. The Romance of Alexander. Buttons up past elbow & low toward hem.

Disabled people as figures of fun. Harvesting

Royal 13 B VIII fol. 30v - A crippled man.


Stredovek Miniature fighter with a sword and crutch.

Fighter with a crutch!

n medieval England, the 'leprechaun', the 'blynde', the 'dumbe', the 'deaff', the 'natural fool', the 'creple', the 'lame' and the 'lunatick' were a highly visible presence in Everyday life.


Luttrell Psalter 1325.  In medieval England, the ‘leprechaun’, the ‘blynde’, the ‘dumbe’, the ‘deaff’, the ‘natural fool’, the ‘creple’, the ‘lame’ and the ‘lunatick’ were a highly visible presence in Everyday life and reflected in Manuscript illustrations.

Stained Glass windows in Cathedrals and Churches sent out similar messages.

William heals ablind woman York Minster

William heals a blind woman. York Minster

a-stained-glass-window-depicting-jesus-curing-the-man-with-palsy-church Church of Christ the Consoler, Skelton Cum Newby1


A-stained-glass-window-depicting-jesus-curing-the-man-with-palsy-church Church of Christ the Consoler, Skelton Cum Newby

Timur the Lame or Tamberlain featured in of minatures. The unlikely combination of a war leader who captured a sizeable central Asian empire whilst bein disabled from injuries in his leag and hand.

_64520891_tamerlane624Tamberlain in AnatoliaTamerlane who won the Ankara war against the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I in July 28, 1402 did not immediately left Anatolia and stayed there for approximately one year.

Tamberlain in Anatolia. Tamerlane who won the Ankara war against the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I in July 28, 1402

He did not immediately left Anatolia and stayed there for approximately one year.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20538810

A fallen rider revived by St Dominic. The caption says he broke his neck 1330 Yates Th0mpson MS England


A fallen rider revived by St Dominic. The caption says he broke his neck, 1330, Yates Thompson MS, England

Tamerlane imprisoned and humiliated the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid.


Lame Tamerlane imprisoned and humiliated the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid.

Timur defeats the sultan of Delhi

Timur defeats the Sultan of Delhi

7adecd0a4984cbe1c768583f03fa0ae2 (1)


The brazen serpent Hebrew Northern France 1278-98

The brazen serpent. Hebrew Northern France 1278-98

Source  Marvellous to Behold Miracles in Medieval Manuscripts Deirdre Jackson  2007 The British Library

Stephen Wiltshire, 1974–

September 22, 2017 by richard


Disability: Autistic Wiltshire was born in 1974 in London to West Indian parents. He is an autistic savant and world famous architectural artist. He learned to speak at the age of nine, and at the age of ten began drawing detailed sketches of London landmarks. While he has created many prodigious works of art, his most recent was a eighteen foot wide panoramic landscape of the skyline of New York City, after only viewing it once during a twenty minute helicopter ride.

 Stephen Wiltshire MBE - Biography
Stephen Wiltshire is an artist who draws and paints detailed cityscapes. He has a particular talent for drawing lifelike, accurate representations of cities, sometimes after having only observed them briefly. He was awarded an MBE for services to the art world in 2006. He studied Fine Art at City & Guilds Art College. His work is popular all over the world, and is held in a number of important collections.Stephen was born in London, United Kingdom to West Indian parents on 24th April, 1974. As a child he was mute, and did not relate to other people. Aged three, he was diagnosed as autistic. He had no language and lived entirely in his own world.

At the age of five, Stephen was sent to Queensmill School in London, where it was noticed that the only pastime he enjoyed was drawing. It soon became apparent he communicated with the world through the language of drawing; first animals, then London buses, and finally buildings. These drawings show a masterful perspective, a whimsical line, and reveal a natural innate artistry.

The instructors at Queensmill School encouraged him to speak by temporarily taking away his art supplies so that he would be forced to ask for them. Stephen responded by making sounds and eventually uttered his first word – “paper.” He learned to speak fully at the age of nine. His early illustrations depicted animals and cars; he is still extremely interested in american cars and is said to have an encyclopedic knowledge of them. When he was about seven, Stephen became fascinated with sketching landmark London buildings.

Stephen Wiltshire - child artist
One of Stephen’s teachers took a particular interest in him, who later accompanied his young student on drawing excursions and entered his work in children’s art competitions, many of which garnered Stephen awards. The local press became increasingly suspicious as to how a young child could produce such masterful drawings.

The media interest soon turned nationwide and the 7 year old Stephen Wiltshire made his first steps to launch his lifelong career. The same year he sold his first work and by the time he turned 8, he received his first commission from the British Prime Minister to create a drawing of Salisbury Cathedral.

In February 1987 Stephen appeared in The Foolish Wise Ones. (The show also featured savants with musical and mathematical talents.) During his segment Hugh Casson, a former president of London’s Royal Academy of Arts, referred to him as “possibly the best child artist in Britain.”

Casson introduced Stephen to Margaret Hewson, a literary agent who helped Stephen field incoming book deals and soon became a trusted mentor. She helped Stephen publish his first book, Drawings (1987), a volume of his early sketches that featured a preface by Casson. Hewson, known for her careful stewardship of her clients’ financial interests, made sure a trust was established in Stephen’s name so that his fees and royalties were used wisely.

Hewson arranged Stephen’s first trip abroad, to New York City, where he sketched such legendary skyscrapers as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, as part of a feature being prepared by the London-based International Television News. While in New York Stephen met Oliver Sacks.

Sacks was fascinated by the young artist, and the two struck up a long friendship; Sacks would ultimately write extensively about Stephen. The resulting illustrations from his visit – along with sketches of sites in the London Docklands, Paris, and Edinburgh – formed the basis for his second book, Cities (1989), which also included some drawings of purely imaginary metropolises.

Lord Byron, 1788 – 1824

September 20, 2017 by richard

Lord Byron

by Ellen Castelow

‘Mad, bad and dangerous to know’. That is how Lady Caroline Lamb described her lover George Gordon Noel, sixth Baron Byron and one of the greatest Romantic poets in English literature.

As famous for his scandalous private life as for his work, Byron was born on 22nd January 1788 in London and inherited the title Baron Byron from his great uncle at the age of 10.

He endured a chaotic childhood in Aberdeen, brought up by his schizophrenic mother and an abusive nurse. These experiences, plus the fact that he was born with a club foot, may have had something to do with his constant need to be loved, expressed through his many affairs with both men and women.

Lord Byron

He was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge. It was at Harrow that he experienced his first love affairs with both sexes. In 1803 at the age of 15 he fell madly in love with his cousin, Mary Chaworth, who did not return his feelings. This unrequited passion was the basis for his works ‘Hills of Annesley’ and ‘The Adieu’.

Whilst at Trinity he experimented with love, discovered politics and fell into debt (his mother said he had a “reckless disregard for money”). When he turned 21 he took up his seat in the House of Lords; however the restless Byron left England the following year for a two-year European tour with his great friend, John Cam Hobhouse. He visited Greece for the first time and fell in love with both the country and the people. Byron arrived back in England in 1811 just as his mother died. Whilst on tour he had begun work on the poem ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’, a partly autobiographical account of a young man’s travels abroad. The first part of the work was published to great acclaim. Byron became famous overnight and was much sought after in Regency London society. His celebrity was such his future wife Annabella Milbanke called it ‘Byromania’.

In 1812, Byron embarked on a affair with the passionate, eccentric – and married – Lady Caroline Lamb. The scandal shocked the British public. He also had affairs with Lady Oxford, Lady Frances Webster and also, very probably, with his married half-sister, Augusta Leigh.

In 1814 Augusta gave birth to a daughter. The child took her father’s surname of Leigh but gossip was rife that the baby girl’s father was in fact Byron. Perhaps in an attempt to recover his reputation, the following year Byron married Annabella Milbanke, with whom he had a daughter Augusta Ada. Because of Byron’s many affairs, the rumours of his bisexuality (homosexuality was illegal at this time) and the scandal surrounding his relationship with Augusta, the couple separated shortly after the birth of their child.

Lady Byron
Annabella, Lady Byron

In April 1816 Byron fled England, leaving behind a failed marriage, notorious affairs and mounting debts. He spent that summer at Lake Geneva with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary and Mary’s half sister Claire Clairmont, with whom Byron had had an affair whilst in London. Claire was an attractive, lively and voluptuous brunette and the couple rekindled their affair in Italy. In 1817 she returned to London and gave birth to their their daughter, Allegra.

Byron travelled on to Italy. In Venice he had more affairs, with Marianna Segati, his landlord’s wife and Margarita Cogni, wife of a Venetian baker.

The sale of Newstead Abbey for £94,500 in the autumn of 1818 cleared Byron’s debts and left him with a generous income.

By now, Byron’s life of debauchery had aged him well beyond his years. However in 1819, he began an affair with the Countess Teresa Guiccioli, only 19 years old and married to a man nearly three times her age. The two became inseparable; Byron moved in with her in 1820.

Teresa Guiccioli
Teresa Guiccioli

It was during this period in Italy that Byron wrote some of his most famous works, including ‘Beppo’, ‘The Prophecy of Dante’ and the satiric poem ‘Don Juan’, which he never finished.

By now Byron’s daughter Augusta had arrived in Italy, sent by her mother Annabella to be with her father. Byron sent her away to be educated at a convent near Ravenna, where she died in April 1822. Later that same year Byron also lost his friend Shelley who died when his boat, the Don Juan, went down at sea.

His earlier travels had left Byron with a great passion for Greece. He supported the Greek war for independence from the Turks and in 1823 left Genoa to travel to Cephalonia to become involved. He spent £4000 refitting the Greek fleet and in December 1823 sailed to Messolonghi, where he took command of a Greek unit of fighters.

His health began to deteriorate and in February 1824, he fell ill. He never recovered and he died at Missolonghi on April 19th.

Death of Lord Byron

His death was mourned throughout Greece where he was revered as a national hero. His body was brought back to England to be buried in Westminster Abbey but this was refused on account of his “questionable morality”. He is buried at his ancestral home Newstead Abbey, in Nottinghamshire.

Early Graphic Illustration, Comic Strips and Disability

September 18, 2017 by richard

The history of printing goes back to the duplication of images by means of stamps in very early times. The use of round seals for rolling an impression into clay tablets goes back to early Mesopotamian civilization before 3000 BCE, they feature complex and beautiful images. In both China and Egypt, the use of small stamps for seals preceded the use of larger blocks. In China, India and Europe, printing on cloth certainly preceded printing on paper or papyrus. The process is essentially the same: in Europe special presentation impressions of prints were often printed on silk until the 17th century. The development of printing has made it possible for books, newspapers, magazines, and other reading materials to be produced in great numbers, and it plays an important role in promoting literacy and in its earlier form reinforcing religious belief and moral codes.

Printing methods where used to reproduce images and made these much more widely available. As the vast majority could not read graphic illustration using a variety of printing methods replaced manuscript hand illustrations that had been limited to monasteries and royal palaces. Artists could reproduce their work and make cultural, social and political comments. Disability features in these prints as moral tales, Bible stories and political and social comment. Disabled people show as pitiable and pathetic, triumphing over tragedy, figures of fun, a burden, penitent sinners, evil, powerless, immoral, but never as just ordinary living their lives as most people did at these times.


An early engraving in Europe is Martin Schugauer (1450-1491) in his take on St Martin of Tour. A Roman Centurion who cut his cloak to give to a disabled beggar to keep him warm. He was put to death by the Roman Army and so became a Saint. The print evokes attitudes of pity and charity. The disabled person is seen as pathetic.


Early illustrations were to show the seven deadly sins or 10 commandments. A good example is the title page of -Purgatory and the lament of Roman courtesans 1530

Title page Maestro Andreas Purgatory and lament of Roman coutyesans 1530 BM

The visual language used then moved on to narrative –telling a story in pictures usually having a moral.

An Italian transformation pint c.1600, the Dangers of love is a strong message to steer clear away from love or you will contract disease and disability and end up being taken to the mad house. This  moral tale was conveniently folded so you could keep it about your person and so when tempted take it out to refresh your resolve. Interestingly one of the only copies is in the Queen’s print collection at Windsor.



Similar story is oft repeated where disability is the reward for sin or immoral behaviour

Teunissen Rise fall of a high flying youth 1535


Teunissen Rise fall of a high flying youth 1535 where he acquires an impairment as his just deserts only to become more modest and recovers. The same German print maker shows what happens to a man who misuses his property.

Teunissen 1535 Misuse of property


A wonderful true story of an 18 year old crippled girl at Einsiedeln 1580 Swiss

The wonderful story of an 18 year old crippled girl at Einsedeln April 9th 1580 . A Miracle cure. The girl  lame from birth, is determined against all reason and advice to crawl alone many miles to the famous pilgramage  Centre of Einsieldeln in Switzerland. She crouches by the river screaming until 2. She is ferried across. She crawls on, to  the amazement of passers-by, until she meats a noble bearded man in a white gown, who marks her on the knee. 3. Healed she thanks her Benefactor, who 4. Sends her on her way. She disappears into the distance towards the shrine, still looking over her shoulder to the scene of the miraculous cure. Unknown Swiss or German Artist .



Guiseppi Maria Mitelli a century later gives us a more documentary allegory of man’s life.. 1706 You who love and esteem deceitful world, consider its promises, fruits and trickery. 1. At birth, man groans under the oppression of swaddling clothes. 2. Then, as a child, he is subject to the scourge of others. 3. As a young man, he is tyrannized by love. 4. As a grown man he labours to earn a living. 5. He is threatened and scolded by a superior. 6. There is no end to the lawsuits against him. 7. Creditors imprison him. 8.No one helps him when he is reduced to beggary. 9. Once again unjustly attacked. 10. He reaches old age full of disease. 11. He lies in painful illness and prolonged sorrow. 12. Finally he is reduced to a miserable corpse.

In another more moralistic print Mitelli gives us the unhappy Life of a prostitute divided into the twelve months of the year. Again she ends up disabled with a crutch.

Mitelli The Unhappy life of a prostitute 1691


Mitelli was kean on portraying disabled people using them to put across a moral message.Giuseppe Maria Mitelli (1634–1718) was an Italian engraver and painter of the Baroque period. He was the son of the prominent quadratura painter Agostino Mitelli. The younger Mitelli was best known for his prolific engravings, in a great variety of subjects, including scenes from grand epics to mundane page boards for games of chance using dice, Tarot cards, and an Iconophor with anthropomorphized alphabets.[1] He also engraved genre subjects, allegories, moralistic scenes, but even some bizarre cartoons that could be interpreted as sometimes provocatively subversive, or presciently revolutionary, and sometimes imaginatively bizarre.[2] He often depicted dwarfs engaged in buffoonery or satirical depictions of aphorisms, which recalls the Bambocciate di nani or arte pigmeo of genre painter Faustino Bocchi (1659–1742).

Pilgrim, Tarrot Card and Discordant Musicians.



1678 Guiseppi Mitelli Proverb FiguratiC17th Tarot Card MitelliDiscordant Musicians Mitelli


Mitelli A_life-class_in_a_grotesque_academy_of_artists;_a_hunchback_Wellcome_V0048969

An Academy of Dwarf Painters drawing a hunchback.


This last is reminiscent of the work of  Jaques Callot 1592 in Nancy ; † March 1635  .

L’Estropié a la Béquille et a La Jambe de Bois (The Cripple with a Crutch and a Wooden Leg), from Varie Figure Gobbi Jaques Callot 1616

DP818577L'Estropié a la Béquille et a La Jambe de Bois (The Cripple with a Crutch and a Wooden Leg), from Varie Figure Gobbi Jaques Callot 1616

Le Joueur de Flageolet (The Flageolet Player), from Varie Figure Gobbi, 1616-20 Jaques Callot NYM

DP818534Le Joueur de Flageolet (The Flageolet Player), from Varie Figure Gobbi, 1616-20 Jaques Callot NYM


As the Eighteen Century began. Disability was used as a metaphor for political or national weakness.

Romeyn de Hooghe(1701) Cartoon shows Louis XIV ( The Sun God who built Versailles and attacked the Protestant Dutch) as a crippled Apollo,

driven by Mme de Maintenon(his mistress) in a broken chariot over the terrestial globe, while the Dutch lion springs forward to tear down the horse.

Romeyn de Hooghe 1701 Louise XIV


Hogarth used disability as a sign of moral weakness as exemplified by the explaination by Simon Jarrett on this website.

Hogarth Plate 6 Industry and Idleness Billy in the Bowl and band

As did Cruikshank in many prints such as the the History of John Bull’s (Britain) warlike expedition (1793) or in John Bull’s Progress or

Admiral on crutches , being a comment on the Navy’s poor performance.




John Bull Criukshank 1793


gillray_johnbull progress 1793


Admiral on crutches


Similarly Rowlandson lampooned the fashionable Spa Town of Bath in as full of useless overweight and disabled aristocrats in Bath Races 1898 and 1910

bath_races-400rowlandson_the-bath-races-plate-12-from-comforts-of-bath-1798Bath Races Rowlandson 1810

In compiling this page great reliance was placed upon “The Early Comic Strip: Narrative Strips and ‘Picture Stories in the European Broadsheet from c.1450 to c.1825″ by David Kunzle , Berkley, California; University of California Press 1973