Ed Bucknall & Malcolm Russell
Ed J Bucknall
I started mudlarking in 2011 when I first moved to London as a great way to revive my childhood passion for archaeology and art. I remember my first visit to the British Museum and was amazed by the stunning bronze head of Hadrian and the Battersea shield which had been dredged up from the River Thames in the 19th Century. I’m lucky to have found some truly beautiful objects, with many items recorded by the Museum of London as part of the PAS scheme. I also paint and draw with some of my artwork on mudlarked marble. As each piece is different, the resulting artwork is unique. The River Thames is a constant source of inspiration for me and capturing London’s ever-changing skyline. The reason why I enjoy going back to the River is the fact that you will always find something, no matter how small, insignificant, or you might find something amazing, but you’ll never leave the foreshore without picking something up.
Photo © Hannah Smiles
Thames Views on Mudlarked Marble
Ed also practices as an architect and artist in London, whilst mudlarking, sketching and painting for pleasure. The vibrant city of London and the River Thames are always a constant source of inspiration for his art, and these Thames views are painted on pieces of mudlarked marble. His paintings incorporate the marble’s natural staining and weathering from the river, to unique effect.
Ed has exhibited in several London galleries and some of his images have appeared in printed publications. He has recently exhibited two solo shows at The Brunel Gallery, Rotherhithe, and in various group shows over the years.
I started mudlarking in 2016, as a distraction following the death of a close friend. It was also the latest chapter in a lifetime of engagement with the past. I've dug bottles from Victorian rubbish dumps as a 10 year old, been a history student and dabbled in writing about music's past. Mudlarking is different though. Traditionally the past is presented to us as neat, discreet periods organised chronologically, the product of the biases and interests of those doing the presenting. The jumble of objects that can be found on the foreshore disrupts this. I love letting the serendipity of mudlarking dictate what new stories from the past I discover, finding connections between them, and how these can hopefully give me a better understanding of the present. I also love the simple, raw dopamine hit of just finding stuff.
Photo © Hannah Smiles