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Creator:
Maggi Hambling, born 1945, British
Title:

Excavations at the Royal Mint

Date:
1985
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Support (PTG): 57 x 59 inches (144.8 x 149.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Gift of the Artist
Copyright Status:
© The Artist
Accession Number:
B1991.27
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
archaeological | bodies | bones | death | excavations | genre subject | skeletons
Access:
Not on view
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:1334
Export:
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IIIF Manifest:
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In the early 1980s, archaeologists began excavating a medieval burial ground on the site of the old royal mint in East Smithfield, London. The skeletons uncovered were the remains of more than two and a half thousand Londoners, all victims of the Black Death that decimated the city’s population in 1348–50. The burial ground was opened specifically to cope with this epidemic with each body being buried in a narrow grave in row after row. Hambling saw a photograph of the excavations in a newspaper and made this large canvas in response to that powerful image, later describing it as a pivotal painting in her career that took death as its explicit subject. As she once put it: "You can fight against the inevitability of death or you can accept it. I think it’s a mistake to ignore it. The greatest art has always been about life and death."

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2020

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