WHAT do Clive of India, Oliver Cromwell, Napoleon, Emmeline Pankhurst and Charles Dickens have in common?
The answer is quite unexpected - they have had iconic pictures of themselves recreated using their own distant descendants.
The dazzling portraits are all due to debut, along with some other currently secret additions, at Oxford’s first international photography festival.
London-based artist Drew Gardner will be bringing the show to Studio 45, in Herschel Crescent, as part of Photography Oxford, which runs from September 14 to October 5 in venues across the city.
He said: “It was partly driven by an anti-celebrity culture. People these days are famous for doing nothing at all, but we have people who are living embodiments of the people they are related to and who are doing really important things.”
Mr Gardner undertook nine years of painstaking reasearch to trackdown each descendant and then photographed them in groups – meaning in some cases he was in the surreal position of seemingly having Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington in the same room.
“It was like a meeting of history in front of your eyes.”
And he said that some of his subjects, such as Helen Pankhurst - the great grandaughter of women’s rights activist Emmeline Pankhurst – bore striking resemblances in looks and character to their relatives.
He said: “It was common for most of them to loath comparing themselves directly to their relatives, but then I would start talking to them about their interests and passions and certain similarities would emerge.
“That is what really excites me. Helen is not only still active in womens’ rights movements, but she also has an interest in Pan-Africanism, like Emmeline’s sister Sylvia.
“I hope the exhibition encourages people to think about where they come from, and examine if they have anyone in their past who has achieved something, and consider their roots.“ Photography Oxford, which the exhibition is part of, will see a wealth of free exhibitions open up around the city.
The Oxford Mail’s sister paper The Oxford Times is the official media partner of the event, which will bring some 30 leading photographers from around the globe to the city.
Festival director Robin Laurance said: “In Drew Gardner we have found a photographer with a passion for history.
“His journey of discovery reads like a page-turner detective story and Photography Oxford is thrilled to be hosting the debut exhibition of the pictures that resulted from his quest.”
For more information, visit photographyoxford.co.uk
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
7:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
SUNKEN boat owner John Simmonds was stunned into silence yesterday when he was handed hundreds of pounds worth of donations from Oxford Mail readers.
6:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
In a special report, the Oxford Mail exclusively reveals how the owners of Oxford Stadium were still making a profit before closure despite claims it wasn't "viable"
8:00am Wednesday 10th February 2016
FANS could soon be buying Oxford United toothpicks, pet clothing and even lingerie after the club registered its name as a trademark.
6:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
THE mother and aunt of Prime Minister David Cameron have backed the campaign to save the county’s children’s centres.
5:10pm Tuesday 9th February 2016
HE'S the underdog with the overbite who has been described as the world's ugliest dog.
7:00am Tuesday 9th February 2016
A TEACHER recruitment crisis affecting the ability of schools to improve standards and create stability for pupils is “worse than ever,” it is claimed.