Saturday 16 February 2019

Debbie Chessell - Love Tokens and Bad Pennies

Debbie Chessell - #unsettledgallery at The National Archives, Kew
Does love endure forever? Does a bad penny always turn up? During this Valentine month the artists and writers from CollectConnect explore this flip-sided theme with an exhibition of 32 miniature sculptures. These objects are placed in public places (#unsettledgallery), helping us to remember those who we hold dear - or cast off those who we would rather forget. Every day throughout February we will be featuring one of these tokens/pennies on this website. A writer will also use the art as inspiration to create something new and fresh.

Art - Debbie Chessell / Words - Alban Low

In Whippingham I hold Pain
In Chale it’s Dyer
Ryde with divine St John
Sweet my desire

Northwood is full of Bull
The Barne, the Bunday and the Barker
Gone for a Burton
Betrothed to Butt and to the Baker

Our Haywards are not wayward
And Dimmers live bright in St John
Take this ring Cooley St Mary
Because the Flux wont move on

Harpwoods raise Hell in St Helens
The clever Tricketts and the Smart
Charmed by the Chessells
Love has found its heart

Henry Love married Ann CHESSELL on the 8th May 1855
From a document of Victorian Marriages on the Isle of Wight

Debbie Chessell
You can find Debbie's little book outside The National Archives in Kew. The National Archives is the official archive and publisher for the UK government and for England and Wales. It is the guardian of some of our most iconic national documents, dating back over 1,000 years. The site was originally a World War I hospital, which was later used by several government departments. It is open to the public, you can browse the records and documents without charge.

Debbie Chessell is an exciting new artist breaking onto the public art scene. As a Kingston University student she launched a non-profit campaign on confronting rape culture that brought together groups of artists, activists and designers in a series of workshops, art exhibitions and publications. She is currently collaborating with Kingston Council running a drawing and painting course for the Centre of Community Development, which focuses on outreach with Kingston residents especially those from ethnic minority backgrounds. Speaking about her burgeoning career so far, Debbie said: "I have loved drawing and painting since I was a small child. My artworks have been exhibited across the UK and feature in international collections including the Suzzallo Library in Washington USA and St George's Hospital in Wimbledon London." 

Alban Low is involved in many creative projects, these include album artwork, publishing chapbooks, making films, maps, conceptual exhibitions, live performance and good old drawing. He is artist-in-residence at the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Kingston University and St George's University of London. Low spends his evenings in the jazz clubs of London where he captures the exhilaration of live performances in his sketchbook. On Wednesday evenings he sketches the performers on the radio show A World in London at Resonance FM. This year Alban is working on a walking project that visits the homes of London Musicians from the 1920s-1940s.

Debbie Chessell
Don't forget to submit to our next exhibition. The Art of Caring is accepting submission until the 7th April 2019. More at

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