poster, 1964

Walter Hoyle’s poster celebrating the Morris Dancing at Thaxted perfectly captures the colour and exuberance of the age-old tradition of this English folk dance. In late May or early June, the Thaxted Morris Men perform their version of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance during a weekend of celebration, with roads closed and pubs brimming. They would usually reprise their dance during the Thaxted Festival, a music festival that has its origins with Gustav Holst back in 1916. Although the Festival is performing this year, from the 24th June to the 4th July, with an eclectic mix of classical and other styles of music, the Thaxted Morris Men have been forced to hang up their bells and pipes this year due to the ongoing COVID restrictions. Despite its proximity to Great Bardfield and Saffron Walden, Thaxted features in very few of the works of the North West Essex Collection at The Fry.

Purchased by The Fry Art Gallery Society