Porter & Jenkinson

Art Historian Collective Porter & Jenkinson and their pursuit for all things Victorian, curious and strange

The Misadventures of Porter & Jenkinson

Greetings to you, our Curious Readers!

Our hiatus since our spectacularly brilliant first exhibition Curious Pursuits needs careful examination and a dutiful explanation. We understand that you may be feeling neglected by our absence but, dear reader, we have been terribly busy hunting down all that is peculiar, intriguing and curious in the world!

Jenkinson’s mysterious Parisian jaunt only led to mischief in which Porter was dragged into in the merriest and most compliant of ways. It was during this time that we happened upon a strange den where the air was smoked and not a single glass was empty of a menacing green liquor that sent both members of our spectacular collective into a creative fervour.


Quick enough we made our way to Tartary (in truth, we reached no further than Luxembourg, not having the good fortune nor steam to find the old land of Tartary, Luxembourg we felt, would do) to create our own vegetable lamb (again however, neither of us could bring ourselves to slaughter and stuff the lamb and therefore had to improvise with hessian sacks and socks. The lamb - Florence, is alive and well and living in Jenkinson’s shed).

Upon completion of the Vegetable Sock-Sack Lamb of Luxembourg, we travelled East to Turkmenistan where we felt an undeniable urge to hold a séance for Chung Ling Soo the Marvellous Chinese Conjurer. After an evening of attempting to re-enact the infamous bullet catch that killed the Marvellous Chung Ling, (much to his distress) we packed up and headed west to Azerbaijan where we spent a good time chatting to one of their infamous flower sellers. It was at this moment that we both developed a sudden lust for flowers and hurried to Brussels to visit the spectacular Tapis de Fleurs.


It was later that evening when - over a game of Look-a-Bout - an epiphany of such magnitude struck us both at the same moment. We would create a space where people can bring their objects born out of inspiration from experiences found on travels, and through games and recreations explored by our Victorian predecessors - and introduce us to inventions worthy of an audience.

And what place to show these? We need a place to discuss ideas and play and to tip our hats to those whose idea of recreation involved sewing taxidermied fauna to flora, collecting objects of intrigue and delight and coming together to contact the dead.

And so it is with great excitement that we invite you, faithful reader, and your curiosity into our Parlour.

A selection of curiosities in our cabinets from Curious Pursuits. Featured artists: Alice Bradshaw, Abigail Betton, Abigail Drumm, Abraham Emajaro, Claire Batt, Lisa Temple-Cox & Anne Barlclay and Rebecca Key.

To see further curiosities visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/porterandjenkinson/

We would like to take this opportunity in the closing week of Curious Pursuits to celebrate one of our artists that unfortunately didn’t make it to the Portico.


Ben is a rather curious illustrator and printmaker hopelessly obsessed with detail. He originates from Norwich via Cape Town South Africa, and much of his work is based on the places he has been and the strange and fascinating things which he has seen.

Ben delights in making millions of tiny little marks to create intricate and ornate illustrations of birds and animals presented against a variety of elaborate hand drawn ornate borders on more or less anything he can lay his hands on. In his words, “there doesn’t always have to be a reason to create something beautiful, sometimes ‘just because’ is good enough.”


More of Ben’s wonderful illustrations can be seen here: http://www.benrotheryillustrator.co.uk/ or you can read more about him at: http://benrotheryillustrator.blogspot.com/.

Curious Pursuits Catalogue

We are delighted to announce that the catalogue for Curious Pursuits is now available for downloading.

If you would like an electronic copy of the cunning booklet containing all the names and works of spectacular art that are making up Curious Pursuits then please chase this charming link all the way to our PDF. http://bit.ly/wLDDPF

Curious Pursuits Now Open

We would like to thank everyone who came down last Thursday evening and made the preview such a fantastic night. We hope you all enjoyed it and manage to get back and see the work. Curious Pursuits runs until 29th February. The Portico is open 9:30 - 4:30 Monday - Friday with a late night opening on Thursdays until 7:30pm. 


More images can be found on our Facebook page 


Porter & Jenkinson Present Curious Pursuits

We are delighted to share with you our invitation to our Spectacular Premier Exhibition Curious Pursuits. The show previews on 2nd February 2012 from 6-8pm at the Portico Library & Gallery, Manchester. For more information please see our fantastic poster below designed by Curious Pursuits exhibiting artist Amanda Nicole White.

Curious Pursuits Exhibiting Artists

We are delighted to announce our selected artists who will be exhibiting in our Curious Pursuits exhibition! A hearty welcome goes to…

Ben Rothery

Alice Pattullo

Alice Bradshaw

Corinna Spencer

Amy Louise Nettleton

Abigail Drumm

Andy Clark

Amanda’s Autopsies

Lisa Temple-Cox & Anne Barclay

Paulina Sandberg

Abraham Emajaro

Kirsty Logan

Andrew G Magee

Jane Hoodless

Jake Tyas

Liam Smyth

Amanda Nicole White

Abigail Betton

Kirsty Greenwood

Fiona Birnie & Kevin Broughton

Laura Deane

Lucy Freegard

Oliver Flude

Russell Mountford

Alison Craig

Hannah Elizabeth Allan

John Brewer

Julia Hembrow

Paul Imrie

Rebecca Key

Rhiannon Moxon

Elizabeth Willow

Tony Richards

Gwilym Hughes

Claire Batt

Damien Woolliscroft

June Kingsbury

Ellie Tarrat

We are excitedly awaiting the arrival of the works - some coming from the land of Canada and the artists - some of whom are coming from the South to share this collection of ever curious contemporary work. Looking forward to February!

Curious Pursuits Open Call Closed


Firstly we liked to wish you all a very happy New Year! Our open call for Curious Pursuits closed yesterday - we saw a great response and have had some truly spectacular submissions. We are going to be looking through all the works over the next few days and will be in touch with everyone and announce the successful applicants very soon.

Thank you again for the amazing response and we look forward to seeing you all at the Portico Library and Gallery in February.

Nautical Superstitions


Superstitions are curious little things gifted to us through often peculiar origins and are relied on to bring fortune, protection and clairvoyance. Some are fairly logical -for example never walk under a ladder but others boarder on the ridiculous such as dropping an umbrella onto the floor means there will be a murder. Some people take them with a pinch of salt, others follow them to the word. Everyday situations hold superstitions, some of which we can often find ourselves acting upon such as knocking wood for good luck and insisting that when getting married, the bride and groom don’t see each other beforehand.

In this particular entry on Superstitions we’d like to explore some of a nautical nature. With the potential of terrible things happening to them - mermaid seductions, pirate abductions and the endless problem of sea monsters, sailors and fishermen developed powerful superstitions to protect them from physical harm. Below are examples of such superstitions taken from Dom Lemon’s Everybody’s Scrap Book - Curious Facts - A Book for Odd Moments (1890), so read on and take heed dear ocean-bound traveller…

Mariners do not like to have a corpse on board.

It is unlucky to point with the finger at a ship when at sea.

The nails and hair must not be cut at sea except during a storm.

Rats are supposed to leave a vessel only when it is going to sink.

It is unlucky to sneeze on the left side at the moment of embarking.

A knife stuck in the mast, the killing of a pig, or whistling is each believed to bring wind.

The stormy petrel is supposed to herald bad weather, and the great auk to tell when land is near.

The cat is generally disliked by sailors, but a cat will not be thrown overboard, as this would bring on a storm.

Cornish sailors will not walk at night along portions of the shore where there have been wrecks, as they believe that the souls of the drowned inhabit those localities.

So wary sea-fairing friend, take caution of the long haired shipmate dangling poor kitty over the side of your ship with his taloned fingers and perhaps advise him to cut his hair and nails before setting off to help save the life of the Ship’s cat. And the lives of your fellow travellers of course.

Curious Cookery

Porter & Jenkinson will always accept gifts of bizarre food items, often conducting their ramblings over the most delightfully shaped gingerbreads. We were excitedly reminded recently of Edward Lear’s fantastic nonsense recipes and wanted to share the following with you:


"Crumbobblious Cutlets"

Procure some strips of beef, and having cut them into the smallest possible slices, proceed to cut them still smaller, eight or perhaps nine times.

When the whole is thus minced, brush it up hastily with a new clothes-brush, and stir round rapidly and capriciously with a salt-spoon or a soup ladel.

Place the whole in a saucepan, and remove it to a sunny place, — say the roof of the house if free from sparrows or other birds, — and leave it there for about a week.

At the end of that time add a little lavender, some oil of almonds, and a few herring-bones; and cover the whole with 4 gallons of clarified crumbobblious sauce, when it will be ready for use.

Cut it into the shape of ordinary cutlets, and serve it up in a clean tablecloth or dinner-napkin.


Recipe taken from Edward Lear’s Complete Nonsense which is brimming with Lear’s nonsense stories, limericks, nonsense cookery, nonsense alphabets and nonsense botany.