at ART JERICHO 6 King Street Oxford OX2 6DF

Prints, Collage, Chine Collee, Etchings, Monotypes inspired by Gifford Circus (text & images below)

The circus has delighted and astounded audiences since Phillip Astley, ‘father of the modern circus’, conjured up an extravaganza of horsemanship in 1760’s. Nell and Toti’s creation emerged from an Oxfordshire barn in the Cotswolds sixteen years ago. Gifford Circus has all the magic, the frissant of the unexpected, the humour, pathos and daring, the glamour and the glitter, to bedazzle us all - with extraordinary acts by dancers, acrobats, musicians, clowns, jugglers and beautiful horses set around themes such as The Wild West and War and Peace.

As an artist, Carolyn Horton has been a devotee of Gifford Circus returning repeatedly to savour each season since its inception… and she is not alone. For 250 years since the earliest circuses emerged, artists such as Chagall, Degas, and Toulouse-Lautrec have been inspired to capture the drama of the acts that have beguiled them. Georges Seurat’s final painting The Circus, 1891 was made at a time when there were no less than five circuses performing regularly in Paris, such was demand.

Horton is an artist specialising in printmaking, drawing and painting, and master paper restorer of Old Master drawings. Her world is paper - from hand-dyed, as fine as gossamer, to hand-made, with weight and texture. Pegged up in the studio, paper sheets hang like exotic laundry - richly coloured with patterns ‘lifted’ from surfaces such as old scoured printing plates - spotted and spangled to recreate the sawdust of the ring, the shimmer of an over-skirt, the speckledy-hen feathers of a chicken.

Composing her narrative from a mêlée of chosen themes from the past 16 years, Horton weaves together tableaux that combine different elements of stage, dress and performance. The printing process she has developed is unique and labour intensive - her attention to detail immaculate, not surprising given her trade of almost forty years in restoration. She sketches first, then creates hard and soft ground etchings and chine collé that she scalpels out and collages onto canvases lined with Japanese kozo paper.

The overall effect is glorious. Carolyn Horton’s canvases of the circus are stunning, a visual treat of horsemen galloping round the ring, musicians in top hats, girls in exquisite costumes with doves, jugglers and acrobats teamed and focussed, and the art, charm and wit of exchange between players. In short, Horton captures the ‘frissant’ that makes the circus irresistible to us all.

Jenny Blyth 2016

Jenny Blyth Fine Art showed work by CAROLYN HORTON at AFFORDABLE ART FAIR 2013

Battersea from 23 - 28 October 2013, Stand K1.



** 8 APRIL – 1 MAY 2010 **

Jenny Blyth Fine Art and Art Jericho present an exhibition of new work by CAROLYN HORTON.

**‘Carolyn Horton’s experience has given her the authority to extend the medium of printmaking in new and uncharted directions…. The result is an extraordinary marriage of observation and imagination’ Norman Ackroyd R. A. 1997 **

CAROLYN HORTON creates an intimate world of paper that springs from her personal life, experience and surroundings. Drawing on thirty years of drawing, printmaking and conservation, working with Old Master Prints and Drawings from Perugino to Picasso, she has stepped across from the invisible world of restoration to create her own work.

Horse hair mattresses and sofas are upholstered in Japanese Kozo paper providing ‘canvases’ for her contemporary collage. Curled up, or languishing amongst discarded dressing gowns, long dogs capture a moment in the day. Drawing on her love of the classical and an enjoyment of theatre, Horton prints onto hand-coloured paper composing a mélange of whippets, silk stockings and camisoles that are strewn across beds and trail over armchairs and screens. Delicate chine collée prints are pasted onto canvases to create compositions that are unique and beautifully executed.

A graduate of Advance Printmaking at Central St. Martin’s (1991-2) and Fine Art and Printmaking at Cheltenham College of Art (2001-4), Carolyn Horton was awarded an EEC Scholarship for Fresco Painting in Venice (1983) and the Prix de Rome at the French Academy for Conservation and Printmaking (1987-88). She worked in Florence, Oxford and Paris at The Uffizzi, The Bodleian and The Louvre, and in California she studied conservation of Old Masters working with an array of Japanese paper, under the pupillage of Keido Keyes. She now lives and works from her studio in Gloucestershire.