A Victorian fantasy

2009-10-29 00:00

WHEN Pietermaritzburg resident Eve Hatton was left around 21 Victorian scrapbooks by her partner of 24 years, Pat Moran, she decided to share the contents with the rest of the world.

Over a period of six years, she carefully removed pictures from the scrapbooks, which were made in the 1870s by a woman living in Wellington named Johanna le Roux, and used them to create beautiful Victorian-style cards.

“The scrapbooks were in a sad state of disrepair,” Hatton said. ­“Because of their age the pages were very brittle and would crumble with the slightest pressure; however, the charming Victorian images were evocative of a bygone era. My imagination was piqued.

“It took me months to remove the images from the books and sadly a few were damaged in the process. I restored the images onto new cardboard and then set about building collages, combining images that evoked a sense of a Victorian fantasy that will hopefully last another 100 years or more.

“To enhance their beauty, some lucky ladies have necklaces made from tiny Victorian turquoise and crystal stones, which I found in a small rusty tin among the scrapbooks.”

It’s not the first time that Hatton has given beautiful objects a new lease on life. A few years ago she ­repaired and restored 500 antique dolls from France and Germany, and she’s also made beautiful necklaces incorporating antique brooches.

This project was, however, more personal and looking at the finished products, it’s clear to see that making the cards has been a labour of love. There are more than 1 000 cards in the collection and each one is unique.

“I believe these cards will become family heirlooms and will increase in value in the years to come,” she said, adding that she would like to exhibit them in the city if a venue can be found.

“Creating these cards proved to be wonderful therapy. I poured my heart and soul into this project, but, as I can’t keep them all forever, I hope someone else will be able to enjoy them.”

To view the cards phone Eve ­Hatton at 082 076 7710.

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