Hydriotaphia / Arusha Gallery, London 09.02.24 - 02.03.24
Hydriotaphia, the title of this latest exhibition of McLachlan’s work, is taken from the writings of the 17th century polymath, physician, philosopher and supreme prose stylist Sir Thomas Browne. Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, or a Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns lately found in Norfolk, to give the work its full title, is one of the greatest, most influential essays in English literature. A profound meditation upon mortality, melancholy, “the ruins of forgotten times,” the vicissitudes of fate and fortune. It is a treasure-trove of weird and wonderful erudition, arcane scholarship and illumination.
In what is perhaps the most famous passage in the book, Browne writes:

But man is a Noble Animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave, solemnizing
Nativities and Deaths with equal lustre, nor omitting Ceremonies of bravery, in the
infamy of his nature. Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us.

Rosie’s work is an incarnation of that ‘pure flame.’ Blessed with a rare ability to glimpse eternity in a handful of clay and dream the world anew, she brings together symbols from across cultures and times, aiming to create ‘artefacts from the world as it could be, not as it is.’ Fieldwork for future archaeology.

Her ceramics appear both familiar yet ineffably alien. They satisfy our deepest atavistic yearnings and evoke shadowy folk memories whilst also breathing strange new life into ancient forms and subjects, confounding expectations and subverting the familiar.

Rosie McLachlan’s creations are the unclassifiable products of a unique ‘archaeo-futurist’ vision, representing a defiant riposte to prosaic, earth-bound realism, re-animating and sabotaging tradition in ways that are both hopeful and utopian.

~ Stephen Ellcock, January 2024

©2024 Rosie McLachlan