Loïs Cordelia | Poor Powder Monkeys (Portsmouth Historic Dockyard)

Twelve Nutcracker statues form a trail for the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard's Victorian Festival of Christmas 2017, presented by Wild in Art in association with Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Each Nutcracker is inspired by a nautical brief, celebrating key historical figures, ships or themes, brought to life by artists including Deven Bhurke, Donna Newman, Jess Perrin, Lois Cordelia, Megan Evans and Rachel Blackwell. Most of the statues have been painted on-site at the Dockyard. #NutcrackersOnParade

Ipswich artist Lois Cordelia's Nutcracker design responds to a brief called "Poor Powder Monkeys". The so-called Powder Monkeys were yong boys (aged about 10 - 14) who were recruited into the navy in the 1800's and exploited for their small size to run and fetch gunpowder from the ship’s hold and carry it to load the artillery guns onboard warships. Their job was demanding and dangerous. Lois's design features a collection of dramatic silhouette vignettes telling the stories of the daily life of the powder monkeys. On the back of the Nutcracker, Lois has painted an evocative portrait in sepia tones based on the most famous photograph of a powder monkey, dated circa 1864.

Lois travelled to Portsmouth in November 2017 to paint her design onto a blank Nutcracker statue. Being a speed-painter, Lois completed the entire paintwork in about 8 hours.