Broadsides and Penny Dreadfuls is a printmaking show of artist and musician Ian Bell’s works.
February 14, 2024
By Brian Thompson
Local folk musician and songwriter Ian Bell is about to showcase another side of his artistic talents.
Broadside Ballads and Penny Dreadfuls is a printmaking show with a musical theme incorporating songs Bell has written.
The artist employed antique wooden and metal type, wood engravings and linocuts, and a 118-year-old printing press to create artworks inspired by the broadsides and street literature of the early 1800s.
“These prints are in the style of the song sheets that were hawked on the streets by ballad sellers in the 19th century, crated with hand-set type and illustrated with (my) wood engravings and linocuts,” said Bell. “Some were printed on (my) 1906 Pearl printing press; others were done on a 70-year-old Nolan proof press.”
Additionally, some songs are presented in tiny, hand-stitched chapbooks known as Penny Dreadfuls.
Bell notes that most of the equipment and type was rescued from newspaper offices that changed printing technology in the 1970s, along with items found at yard sales and flea markets.
A selection of printing artifacts will be included in the exhibit of artworks.
Broadsides and Penny Dreadfuls opens with a reception at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18 at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre, 247 Main Street in Port Dover.
The show will run throughout 2024 at the theatre.