Paul Glendell, b/w photographic print of Bakers Tannery Colyton

The last oak bark tannery – traditional process captured in Paul Glendell’s photographic exhibition at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen

Tannery: Photographs by Paul Glendell
Exhibition: 5 January – 4 March 2018
Venue: Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey,
Devon TQ13 9AF

The last oak bark tannery in the UK at Colyton in Devon is celebrated in the black and white photographs of Paul Glendell showing at Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey.

The tannery has been processing leather in this traditional way for centuries on the same site to produce top quality leather which is favoured by distinguished shoemakers and top stables for its quality, durability and finish.


This exhibition will explain the tanning process, emphasising the time and care taken as well as showing some beautifully made items crafted from the oak tanned leather.

Paul describes his photography at the tannery: “I spent five days photographing around the tannery over a period of two months with free access to the site.

“I wanted to show the care taken and the effort made to produce such high quality leather, and to document a working practice that has changed so little over time.

“In our race for the new and latest ‘must have’ I feel we lose our understanding and forget the need to sometimes to wait for quality to be created.

“Much of the work at the tannery is physically hard and I have tried to portray that and capture the feeling of being in this unique place.”

Paul holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Photojournalism from University Of Wales Cardiff. His award-winning work documents environmental issues and disappearing cultural history, gaining an ‘award of excellence’ in the 54th ‘Pictures of the Year’ competition in 1996, USA and nominated in the UNESCO ‘Humanity Photo Awards’ in 2002 and 2014 for his reportage of rural life in Romania and the Tannery.

Paul’s photos have appeared in leading publications, including Time, Nature and Life magazines; he regularly photographs and produces audio slideshows for the BBC News website and undertakes commissions for a variety of magazines and charities.

Paul’s photography projects include travels around Britain, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania and Israel and have been exhibited in Britain, France, China, Slovakia and Hungary.


(the exhibition is supported by the Leathersellers’ Company Charitable Fund.)

Opening: Exhibition is free entry and open daily 10am-5.30pm to 4 March, 2018.

Associated Events
• Opening event
Friday 19 January 6 – 8pm
Celebrate the opening of this exhibition and the Jerwood Makers Open in the Jubilee Gallery.

• Meet the Maker: Paul Glendell
Sunday 21 January 2-4pm
Paul will show and talk us through a selection of his BBC-commissioned short audio slide shows.
Free, drop-in event. No booking required.

• Leather workshop with Green Shoes
Thursday 15 February 10am – 12.30pm & 1.30 – 4pm
Use coloured leathers and simple techniques to make a keyring, purse or bracelet.
Free, drop-in family event.
No booking required but limited numbers on a first come first served basis.

Paul Glendell | Facebook | Twitter: @paulglendell

Devon Guild of Craftsmen | Facebook | Twitter: @devonguild 


(image: Paul Glendell, b/w photographic print of Bakers Tannery Colyton)

(from a press release)