David Jacques: The Irlam House Bequest
2 February 2011 – 12 May 2011 (Extended)
The Irlam House Bequest is a fictional subversive banner workshop “discovered” in an abandoned flat in Irlam House, a tower block in Bootle. Winner of the Liverpool Art Prize 2010 and nominated for this year’s Northern Art Prize, David Jacques’ installation is inspired by the history of trade union banners and the entrepreneur George Tutil, whose workshop dominated banner production in the nineteenth century.
Tutill’s success lay in combining easily interchangeable templates of mottos, portraits and decorative elements to produce unique banners. He operated a slick production line which resulted in his monopolising this niche industry. Commissions came from a broad and conflicting range of groups including Orange Lodges, trade unions and temperance societies.
The installation includes an accompanying text written by a fictional curator in the process of making an inventory of the works. These ‘notes’ record an interview with the tower block’s caretaker about the discovery of the drawings and the mysterious anti-establishment artistic collective who produced them.
Part of ‘City of Radicals’ a city wide programme of events commemorating the 1911 General Transport Strike in Liverpool.
Photo © David Williams