Trish Roberts

Collage of architectural and natural shapes
(Room 3)
Decorated tea cup with biscuits
(Room 1)

103. The Little Tent of Blue, Collagraph and block prints, 40 x 60cm, framed, NFS

This work depicts Wilde's fall from a rich and flamboyant lifestyle into ignominy and the confines of stone prison walls. His use of colours in the poem was my starting point for 'The Little Tent of Blue'. Reading the Ballad revealed certain colours – red, grey, white, black, purple, blue, silver, gold, green & yellow – which are translated into this print, roughly in proportion to the number of references therein.

This colour palette overlays a collagraph print, where architectural shapes seen in the Gaol cut across the more opulent areas, indicating portentous visions of his future. The 'little tent of blue' – that small patch of sky viewed by the prisoners above their exercise yard – is for me the most poignant reference to their lack of freedom.


104. It Takes The Biscuit, 3-D work on 20cm square base x 15cm high, NFS

When the call came to create reliquaries for the "New Relics for Reading" artists collaborative project, my mind went straight to biscuits – as it so often does! More precisely, Huntley & Palmer's biscuits were the obvious thought for my reliquary.

Huntley & Palmer's was founded in Reading in 1822 and its iconic red brick biscuit factory was a local landmark, known to all who lived in and around the town. It certainly was a childhood memory for me – as were their very special biscuits!

When creating my reliquary, a decorated cup and saucer, the choice of biscuit wrappers for the decoupage was enormous, since at their height H & P made 400 different varieties, while employing 5,000 workers. I don't recommend trying the relics themselves – rock hard, salt dough biscuits for decoration only!

Sadly the factory closed in 1976. 'It Takes The Biscuit' is a small tribute to a great company.


For more about the artist, see RGA Gallery page: Trish Roberts