“The ‘Pandorama’ consisted of a stage-front made of painted cardboard and fixed on the front of a wooden box…The ‘Show’ was a lot of pictures cut out of illustrated weekly papers and pasted together, end-to-end, so as to form a long strip or ribbon”

from ‘The Pandora’ in The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell

This blog is part of a creative project that is taking place over the summer of 2017 in Croxteth, Liverpool. Artists Patricia MacKinnon-Day, Paul Rooney and Neville Gabie are developing new works in response to the novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell. Set against the backdrop of Croxteth Hall and Country Park, the blog explores the artist’s works and the history of the area, and it reflects on themes of labour, leisure and creativity.

The blog is inspired by a chapter in The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – ‘The Pandora’. In this chapter, painter and decorator Bert White creates a toy theatre – a ‘Pandorama’. The ‘show’ he creates for children at a birthday party depicts the two extremes of lived experiences under a capitalist system. Bert juxtaposes photographs of starving workers with images of luxurious dining tables and the well-fed pets of the aristocracy. Taking the toy theatre as a starting point, the blog aims to be a kind of contemporary ‘pandorama’ that documents the individual practices of each of the artists working at Croxteth, as well as the history of the area and its intersections with wider conversations around labour and creativity.

About me:

I’m a writer and academic, currently based in Bath.  I am just finishing my PhD thesis – Recomposing the image of ‘the globe’: micropolitical art interventions in the 20th Century –  in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths.  My research focuses on themes of globalisation, politicised art practices and institutional practices.  For art writing please visit my blog:


and for academic writing:


The project – Did the Raggeds paint Croxteth Hall? – is supported by ACE Grants for the Arts, Liverpool John Moores University & Liverpool City Council Croxteth Hall. The project is coordinated by Frances Downie.

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