From Sunlight Through Bars in 2018 at the Crypt to Light Through Bars at Marazion in 2023 – see above, page 4. Unsurprisingly, I was also moved to create this piece: Purple Light Through Bars.
The juxtaposition of these solid blocks of colour feels very satisfying. The two simple rectangular stretches of black, top and bottom, seal what lies between. The blue edging dissolves into the blue interior which in turn gives way to the purple – and then deeper still into the vertical exploration of purple light through bars.
What have Quakers done to bring the Light through bars? Here is the story of Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845):
Elizabeth Gurney was born in Norwich, England in 1780 to a well-off Quaker family. In 1800 she married Joseph Fry who was also a Quaker. In 1813 Elizabeth Fry made her first visit to Newgate prison where she observed women and children in terrible conditions. Elizabeth began working for the reform, campaigning for segregation of the sexes, female matrons for female prisoners, education and employment (often knitting and sewing) and religious instruction.
In 1817 Elizabeth Fry created the Association for the Improvement of Female Prisoners and along with a group of 12 other women lobbied authorities including Parliament. In the 1820s she inspected prison conditions, advocated reform and established more groups to campaign for reform. In 1823 prison reform legislation was finally introduced in Parliament.
Whilst Elizabeth Fry is most well known for her prison reform activities, she was also involved in investigating and proposing reforms in mental asylums. For more than 25 years she visited every convict ship leaving for Australia and promoted reform of the convict ship system. She worked to improve nursing standards and established a nursing school which influenced her distant relative, Florence Nightingale. She worked for the education of working women, for better housing for the poor and was responsible for the establishment of soup kitchens.
My Purple Light Through Bars measures 37.5” x 36.5”.