02 May 2018

Paddy Hartley at the Maritime Museum

Paddy Hartley has been artist in residence at the National Maritime Museum since 2016. Since 2004 he has been researching and interpreting the lives of servicemen who suffered facial injuries during WW1 and who were treated by Sir Harold Gillies, a pioneer of reconstructive surgery.

The exhibition builds on his earlier work with the Gillies Archives, specifically the stories of Walter Yeo and William Vicarage, who were both injured at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

I saw only a part of the exhibition, some of the works relating to Walter Yeo, who after surgery returned to the Navy for the rest of the war. After that he became a pub licensee and then worked in a ship-supply store. He compiled crosswords in his spare time.

Paddy works from salvaged military uniforms. The embroidery, applique and stitching included in his work acknowledges Gillies's stitching of the body during reconstructive surgeries. Patients often did embroidery or made soft toys as part of their recuperation.

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