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Opened in 1822, in the poorer area of London, near Clements Lane in The Strand, Enon Chapel’s beginnings in having been built over an open sewer were grim. Serving a poor area, the chapel’s basement became the internment of the area’s dead, with thin boards, and thinner layers of soil separating the decomposing dead from the living who attended the church above.  Its minister Mr W. Howse, capitalizing on the lack of burial space in the area, took to filling the basement with the dead to its ceiling, and to maximize the space having the coffins smashed up and used as firewood. When the dead could no longer be crammed into the space, parts of the bodies were discarded into the sewer.


After Howe’s death the Chapel was subject to a couple of new owners, who undoubtedly knew the basement's contents, so much so that by 1844, the chapel was holding special dances on Boxing Day, the holiday after Christmas Day,  which in true phantasmagoric fashion embraced the putrid association of the basement's history’. Known as the ‘Dances on the Dead’ gala’s, advertisements state “Quadrilles, waltzes, country-dances, gallopades, reels are danced over the masses of mortality in the cellar beneath, ‘No lady or gentleman admitted unless wearing shoes and stockings”.


This artwork is an orginal interpretation inspired by the actual macabre history.

'Dances on the Dead' Gala Announcement

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    Recreation of titlepage with added historical elements. Printed on handmade paper resembling the look and feel of paper from the period the work was produced (8.5" x 11"), or textured watercolour paper (5"x7"). Printed with archival inks, and packaged in protective sheet and cardboard backing.


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