The Leicester Guildhall is a Grade I listed building with parts dating back as far as the late 1300s. It has been used for many purposes over the centuries, from banquets and theatrical performances to civil war negotiations and court proceedings. But on October 12th 2018 it had a whole new purpose; a celebration of mortality, morbidity, and all things macabre - The Beautiful Death Art Exhibition.
The Beautiful Death Art Exhibition combines cruelty free Taxidermy, gothic art and alternative performance arts into a glorious and tasteful memento mori. I can think of no better place to host such an elegantly macabre event, the wooden framed structure of the Guildhall provides the perfect ambiance for such a delightfully gothic affair; with its classic black and white interior and exterior walls, high arched ceilings, vintage-style lighting, collections of vintage books and the extremely well preserved prison cells from when it doubled as Leicester’s first police station in the 1800s, The Guildhall ticks of numerous gothic appeal boxes in one fell swoop.
I only attended briefly on the first night of this 2 day event, but I saw the most awe inspiring trinkets, art pieces and Victoriana on display and for purchase. There were myriad styles and products available across the many stalls occupying the 3 rooms which make up the main body of the Guildhall’s 2 floors. From taxidermy, vintage books, anatomical drawings, gothicana, and flower arrangements to complimentary therapies, tattoos of varying styles, badges, burlesque and pole dance performances and even vegan street food.
It’s definitely the kind of event you need to bring money to if you want to get something out of it besides some nice photos and some wonderfully morbid memories, but even on a shoestring budget I managed to get myself a neat little souvenir, an A4 artistic rendering of a Death’s Head Hawk Moth by the extremely talented Vector That Fox Illustration (which my mum then sneakily bought the pin variant of for me and I shall wear it at every given opportunity).
The event was reasonably priced, at only £4 per person on the door or £2.50 if pre-booked. My only criticism is that the venue is far too small for the amount of people coming through the doors which made it difficult to move around and to get a good look at all the wares on offer. Perhaps for next year, they could operate time slots to avoid overcrowding.
Overall, the event was well worth the door price and I’d happily go to another in future, even if I run the risk of getting trampled by an ocean of goths in the process.
View the portfolios of some of the artists who were present on instagram;
GALLERY CONTENT WARNING:
This gallery contains images of taxidermied animals, clowns and similar morbid content.