It isn’t often that as a curator you get to see your collections inspire the rebirth of a long defunct organisation, but here in 2010 the Leeds Savage Club has sprung to life again. This seems to be in part inspired by display in Leeds City Museum’s Collector’s Cabinet gallery of memorabilia from the original artist’s club which thrived in late Victorian and Edwardian Leeds under the leadership of their Chief Edmund Bogg (pictured left). The club brought artists, musicians and writers together to drink “firewater”, dress up as “savages” and pool artistic ideas.
The new Leeds Savage Club has taken much inspiration from its precedessor, but dropped some of the less politically acceptable aspects (such as the “Red Indian” imagery and the ban on women members). They have also been very keen to avoid the fate of the original club which foundered when Edmund Bogg refused to retire as Chief. The new Chief will only be allowed to hold office for two years.
I was privileged to attend the launch party on Wednesday 28th April at Temple Mill to see the new savages at play. They proved to be very 21st century and involved in lots of new interactive projects – and not a feather head-dress in sight! http://leedssavage.com/
The venue, Temple Mill, was also another chance to step back into the City Museum Displays. The history of John Marshall’s Egyptian-inspired flax mill is explored in the Leeds Story gallery.