Pig Faced Lady of Manchester Square

I have not opened any of my art journals for a while so I thought I would crack one open and have a dabble.  I decided to draw one of my favourite figures from sideshow history, the Pig Faced Lady of Manchester Square (spoiler alert: actually a shaved bear).  I have drawn her before, including in an art journal page from back in 2015, but I decided to go a bit more cute and whimsical for this version.  I regret that decision now and actually wish I had gone darker and more grotesque with it.  I feel very meh about this illustration but it’s on a random (and crinkly) page in my art journal so that doesn’t matter.  Next Pig Faced Lady will be creepier though.

37 - Pig Faced Lady of Manchester Square

The Pig-Faced Lady of Manchester Square

The Documented Life Project prompt this week was to construct a character and the quotation was “If you’re going to be weird, be confident about it!”  Perfect!  I instantly had an idea for my art journal page.

One of my geeky interests is in the history of “freaks” and sideshows.  I find the social history of how people were treated through time to be fascinating.  I probably saw the Tod Browning film ‘Freaks’ at too impressionable an age.  One of the historic freaks who first captured my  imagination was the Pig-Faced Lady of Manchester Square.  She was one of many pig-faced women who gained fame but was possibly the most celebrated – or at least she is the one who has found a place in my memory.  Of course, the whole thing was a hoax.  A bear was drugged and shaved and made to walk upright while wearing a costume.  Completely random and astonishingly awful.  However, as weird characters go the Pig-Faced Lady was my inspiration, my bizarre muse.

I did not have much free time this week so I kept my page simple.  This is simply a watercolour sketch with the words stamped in archival ink.  My kids are hugely amused by it and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Week 32 - Weird Character