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Matthew corbin bishop THE MAKING OF THE MODERN WORLD Preface by Philip Mansel ∙ Edited by Rose Issa

Foreword It was the British artist Graham Day who first introduced me to his student, Matthew Corbin Bishop, in 2008. Day was very excited about Bishop’s final-year project at Bath Spa University – some eighty paintings of stamps from countries under British colonial rule, from the height of Empire in the 1900s to its disbandment in the 1960s. Unsurprisingly, Bishop graduated with a First. Bishop was born in Taplow, England in 1984 and now lives and works in Southampton. From a very early age he showed a profound and wide-ranging interest in history, geography and fine art, and as a boy started collecting stamps, maps, and antique and modern globes. His knowledge of his subject is impressive, but what struck me the most when I first saw his work was his exquisite craftsmanship. He explained how he made his paintings with layers of gesso, oil, acrylic, ink transfer and beeswax on stretched canvas. The process is time-consuming and demands dexterity, skill, craftsmanship and patience. I am still in awe of his technique. Confident in his knowledge and skill, Bishop has devoted more than two years of his life to painting these series of stamps. They represent not only the history of the British Empire (his graduation project), but also other colonies in “the Greater Middle East” – a region I am particularly interested in. His latest works are of maps that complement the stamp paintings: they are made of layers of transparent paper to depict shifting frontiers and place names, indicating the different stages of history in which the stamps originated.


Tripolitania (Libya), 17 x 28 cm


14 The Greater Middle East, 2008-09


Mauritania, 18 x 28 cm

Pakistan, 24 x 20 cm

Libya, 18 x 28 cm

18 Eritrea, 20 x 16 cm

Kuwait, 17 x 28 cm

Sudan, 16 x 19 cm

19 Western Sahara, 28 x 17 cm

Somalia II, 24 x 19 cm

United Arab Emirates V, 20 x 25 cm

Iran, 23 x 17 cm


Syria, 20 x 18 cm

Oman, 23 x 21 cm


Israel and Palestine (West Bank and Gaza), 17 x 14 cm

Djibouti, 28 x 18 cm


Egypt, 17 x 14 cm

Algeria, 28 x 18 cm


42 The Ottoman Arab Vilayets, 2008-09


Mecca, 24 x 38 cm

Aleppo, 21 x 18 cm

Basra, 23 x 35 cm

46 Hejaz (Medina), 21 x 31 cm

Misir (Cairo), 21 x 32 cm

Tripolitania, 32 x 24 cm

Beirut, 25 x 38 cm

47 Benghazi, 21 x 34 cm

Matthew corbin bishop THE MAKING OF THE MODERN WORLD Preface by Philip Mansel ∙ Edited by Rose Issa


Preface by Philip Mansel. Edited and with a Foreword by Rose Issa. Essay by Matthew Corbin Bishop Published to accompany the first solo sho...