The Arsonist’s Tale

The origins of this work began with the burning of a paperback copy of Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’ and collecting what fragments remained. Using fire as an ‘editor’, brought an element of chance to the process and provided the raw material from which a new narrative in the style of Chaucer emerged - ‘The Arsonist’s Tale’.  Chaucer uses fire as metaphor to describe character traits - from nurturing and passionate to destructive and vengeful. These characterisations are often stereotypes, seemingly describing an ‘everyman’ or ‘everywoman’. Canterbury Cathedral burnt in 1174 and again in 1872. Was this an act of man, woman, god or chance?

The publication, ‘The Arsonist’s Tale’ was launched at ‘Strange Pilgrimage’ and was supported by NUA and UCA Research Funds. Printed in an edition of 20. Risograph. 120/240gsm Muncken paper. Printed by Notewell Press. A selection of pages is shown below.






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Matthew Richardson Artist + Illustrator
© Matthew Richardson 2021