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Captivating Creatures

PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 August 2015

Poppy Hare by Robert Gillmor.

Poppy Hare by Robert Gillmor.

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A new book explores our fascination with the brown hare, writes Chloe Tucker.

The enigmatic figure of the hare has provided inspiration for numerous writers and artists in the past. It is now explored through the art of printmaking in The Artful Hare by Norfolk-based publishers, Mascot Media.

Featuring 74 artists and 375 artworks, the book captures the fascinating character of the animal. With Norfolk being one of the last remaining strongholds for the brown hare, the significant contribution of East Anglian artists may not come as a surprise with 10 Norfolk printmakers and seven Suffolk artists contributing to the book. The extraordinary portfolio is a testament to the skill and artistic vision of the army of artists represented, as well as displaying the strikingly diverse forms that printmaking can take, with examples of linocuts, wood engravings, collagraphs, woodcuts, etchings and screen prints.

The Artful Hare is filled with anecdotes of each artist’s personal experience of the animal and the difficulties of translating an often fleeting encounter into print. For Sarah Bays, from Norwich, it is precisely this glimpse of the hare’s extreme agility during her morning walks in the countryside that inspires her works such as Running Hare and Homeward Bound. She explains: “Winter sunrises, the pattern of light through the trees . . . hares are a fantastic sight as they bound across the fields; iconic creatures that for me embody the spirit of freedom.”

Cley-based artist Robert Gillmor describes the “thrill of watching a running hare at full, graceful speed”, which he has captured in his dynamic Hurry Hare and The Running Of The Hare. The animal’s tantalisingly elusive nature influences the prints of Kerry Buck, a former student of The Norwich School of Art and Design, who enjoys imagining the secret life of the hare between dusk and dawn as seen in her prints such as As The Moon Rises and They Dance.

With its continual decline in numbers, the hare’s status as one of Britain’s most beautiful yet elusive mammals does not look set to change, but The Artful Hare is a wonderful example of how the animal continues to capture our imagination.

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