Friday, 22 February 2013

(Re) Introducing Albert Cropper, Monster Stopper...

I'm not a great one for reworking old images but this is one I've intended for a while to do more justice to than my initial attempt a couple of years ago, with the intention of beginning a series of limited edition art prints for sale on a vaguely steampunk-cum-monsterish theme. I used to live right on the edge of the notorious and folk-lore fuelled Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, and still walk out there at least a couple of times a month. Not infrequently I come across semi-devoured carcases and the weathered remains of livestock, and often speculate how they met their demise and if by another creatures hand or maw, then in which mine shaft, quarry pool or bog did that particular carnivorous beasty slide back into once its belly was full.

I'll be setting up shop pages on my main website soon and offering this print, on 310gsm heavy art media, approximately 24cm X 45.5cm.


During the late1800’s in Cornwall, the ‘bug’ hunter Albert Cropper was a familiar figure tramping the byways and cliff paths of the county, peddling his services in much the same way as itinerant knife grinders or mole catchers of the time.

His father operated a night soil collection business in Redruth . As an offshoot to this already dangerous work, Albert became the family firm’s parabiologist, specialising after a couple of grim encounters on the early morning collection round, involving a Devonian tape lizard and a pair of giant stool grubs.

Seeing the potential for travel and the occasional balloon ride out to the Scilly Isles, Albert went freelance in 1879 with the aid of a sponsorship deal from Sir Richard Trevithick, the famed Cornish inventor, mining engineer and monster trap designer.

This particular image was made as part of the 1885 Eldritch Expedition to Bodmin Moor and its interior, to which Albert was co-opted by local magistrates as native tracker to Lady Elizabeth Eldritch, famed ectoplasmologist. It shows Albert presenting a captive grockle mite after an emergency roadside extraction from a Belgian tourist, who had unwisely visited the shire without first taking the right inoculations.

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