white earthenware, milano red Honda spray paint

white earthenware, underglaze colour, decals, lustres, vintage dome

They were unnaturally close
white earthenware, vintage dome

Artist's Statement

On visiting Preston Manor, I was drawn to the vast assemblage of ceramic figures displayed in the dining room. These 124 Buddhist Lions, made of Chinese porcelain, were collected by Ellen Thomas-Stanford between 1910 and 1914 as a diversion during her husband’s frequent trips to Norway and were used to provide a ‘talking point’ over dinner.

Commonly known as ‘Dogs of Fo’, they were traditionally placed at entrances to buildings, particularly temples, in China to protect against ‘evil spirits’. Out of context, these lions take on the appearance of harmless dogs and their powers are removed.

The flag of St George has been used by racist groups intent on defending ‘us’ against ‘outsiders’. Is a symbol intended to unite the country being used to divide and stand for inward-looking xenophobia, aggression and fear?

By inserting two strips of red British bulldogs into the display, a St George’s cross has been created, merging a symbol of nationalism with a group of Chinese lions. These truly British bulldogs – a symbol of what makes this country great – were made using American moulds and coloured using Honda spray paint. The devil is in the detail.

Ellen wanted a conversation piece.