Dimensions: 21 x 14.8 cm
In the spring of 2021, my usually serene gallery at 20 Bourdon Street was transformed into the Bourdon Street Chemist – a joyful visual cacophony of felt pharmaceuticals by artist Lucy Sparrow. Lucy had been working on the concept of a felt chemist and the NFS (National Felt Service) for several years. Having been twice postponed by the pandemic, it was sheer serendipity that the project was finally realised just as London was coming out of the darkest days of lockdown. The health crisis caused by COVID created a heightened sense of gratitude for the NHS and for our local chemists, adding a poignant relevance to the project that we could have never predicted.
Bourdon Street Chemist existed for only three weeks (19th April – 8th May) and from the moment it opened, a steady stream of shoppers came each day to buy the individual items, over 10,000 different brand name pharmaceuticals, all lovingly hand made in felt. We just about managed to keep it looking full, though anyone who came in search of popular items like Durex condoms or Blackcurrant Lemsip found that we were long sold out. The chemist was a living thing and impossible to permanently capture, but it is my hope that this book will act a record of the event. We have included installation views of the space and dozens of Polaroids, mostly taken by Lucy over the duration of the show. There is also an insightful essay by Louisa Buck, giving a broader artistic context for Lucy’s work.