The Box of Delights - Art inspired by Stories

Juliet Lockart, Artist in Residence at The Writers Company, writes about her inspiration for her story-based art.

This story box project came from a discussion with Petra McQueen about children’s books. I have re-read a book from my childhood collection, created a paper puppet and made a box frame to remind me of why I loved those stories.

The Box of Delights or When the Wolves were Running was the sequel to The Midnight Folk.

A story set at Christmas that conjures up the most magical images of sleighs flying through the starry skies pulled by lions and unicorns; of Herne the Hunter in his wild wood; of forests full of giant trees with stars in their boughs; and of course, the wolves that run through the pages eventually turning into a pack of tiny motor cars with dazzling headlights.

It is a book that I read again and again always finding new inspiration in the detail.

Kay is joined in his adventures by the Jones family. I am particularly drawn to the child Maria, very untidy, whose thoughts are populated with robbers and gangs and battles with revolvers. ‘I’ve generally got a pistol or two on me and I’m a dead shot with both hands.’ After being ‘scrobbled like a greenhorn’ by a gang of crooks, she eventually escapes and returns home to tell the story. Refusing for the time being to tell the police, who have been searching for her, what has happened, she demands ‘underdone chops and plenty of them. I’m going to build up my nervous system before anything else, and then go to bed.’ Then, ‘I’m not going to drink any poison like cocoa, thank you,’ Maria said, ‘when one’s had a nervous strain as I have, one wants a posset with three fresh eggs in it and a spoonful of sherry.’

The Box of Delights, John Masefield, Puffin Books, 1971 (1935)

Here is my artwork based on the Box of Delights. To see more artwork or to discover how to buy pieces like these, please head over to my website.

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