Photography and Local History
Selected images from a series inspired by the drolls and folktales collected by William Bottrell and Robert Hunt in 19th-century Cornwall. Notes on key Cornish folklorists can be found here (PDF).
Bottrell and Hunt sat by firesides listening to stories told by fishermen and tinners, weavers and agricultural labourers, during a time when science, education and religion changed the patterns of life and work, and railways reached into Cornwall bringing increasing numbers of tourists.
Many folktales and superstitions were written down just in time, before the people who knew them died. As the oral tradition faded, the invention and development of photography provided visual records of families and generations and the landscape in which they lived and worked, but spriggans scattered out of sight of the cameras.