From the 1400s to the Victorian period and beyond, witches have captured the artistic imagination. Often portrayed as monstrous hags with devil-worshipping followers, they have featured in prints, drawings and objects as an inversion of a well-ordered society and the natural world. Now, the artistic representation of witches through history is explored in a new exhibition at the British Museum
Now open to the public, ‘Witches and Wicked Bodies’ explores the origins of the traditional image of the witch, and considers how this changed as artists reacted to public attitudes and current events.
Co-curated by the artist and writer Deanna Petherbridge, the exhibition is adapted from her book, Witches and Wicked Bodies, which was first published in 2013 to accompany a display at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. Works from the British Museum collections are displayed alongside loans from the V&A, Ashmolean, Tate Britain and the British Library.
Here we reveal some of the most intriguing items to feature in the exhibition, which runs until 11 January 2015: