Chris Hoggett

Chris Hoggett has built up an extraordinary body of two and three dimensional work over a lifetime as an author, teacher and professional artist. The urge to create is still as strong as ever. As well as photographic prints from his Pyromania series, we have shown paintings from his latest, Purton Hulks, series.

In 1909, following a collapse in the bank of the river, the canal company’s chief engineer, Mr. A.J. Cullis, called for old vessels to be run aground along the bank of the Severn, near Purton, thus creating a makeshift tidal erosion barrier to reinforce the narrow strip of land between the river and the canal. Barges, trows and schooners were ‘hulked’ at high tide, and have since filled with silt. Over the years, more boats, many with fascinating histories, have been added, creating the largest ship graveyard in mainland Britain.

Cullis’s ingenious idea was to ‘hulk’ the boats at high tide to fill them with silt and so the boats are gradually being covered and are disappearing. The collection of Purton paintings capture the seen and unseen fabric of these vessels and their half-obscured, yet powerful, presence as they lie along the bank.