Nick Simpson

My art expresses a fascination with stories steeped in the bizarre, the exotic and the fantastic. Stories are told with an eclectic collection of visual clues, fictional objects, artefacts and curiosities. These clues all cause the narrative to hover between the real and the imaginary. Often an accompanying text seems to add further detail, but this is merely there to garnish a much deeper story. By careful planning, these richly detailed photographic tableaux are devised to invite the viewer to at first question, and then piece together their own version of the whole story.

In this body of work; ' The Bumforth Manor Collection ' I present a collection of photographs as though recently discovered in the attic of an imaginary long-deceased relative, my great grandfather, the 19th century eccentric and photographic pioneer, Samuel Heracles Gascoigne-Simpson (b.1839 d.1910).

I have borrowed heavily from the Victorians using cues and objects seemingly from that era. The resulting images highlight a shared obsession with the unusual and the obscure, the dark and the inexplicable. Often cloaked in humorous melodrama, these tales are created to exploit ironic notions such as colonialism, pomp, morality and the unstoppable march of progress.

The apparatus I have chosen to use to create these works;– an original 1867 Petzval lens mated to a full-plate mahogany view camera of similar vintage, further immerses us into the world of Victorian salon photography. It provides an authenticity that connects the process with the final artwork.

Photo of Nick Simpson

The Bumforth Manor Collection

Additional Images


Nick Simpson was born in 1962 and brought up in picturesque rural Lincolnshire, England.
After leaving school, he spent a short time working on a pig farm before moving to London to pursue a career as a photographer. During this time, he additionally gained extensive experience in a variety of different creative categories, including art direction, set and lighting design, and fine art printing. He eventually built a reputation within the advertising industry as an imaginative photographic maverick, and worked with some of the capital's leading agencies on some of the world's biggest brands. He has also written, directed and produced numerous commercials, documentaries and short films. Simpson retired from the commercial world in 2012 in order to concentrate exclusively on a career in fine art.

Throughout his career, and with emphasis latterly as an artist, Simpson sought to express a fascination with the way stories can be brought to life through a visual narrative. After initially grabbing a viewer’s attention with his striking visual play, Nick uses a number of subtle and carefully placed clues within the image to fire the viewers curiosity, and draw them into the intricate web of his imagination. Skillfully directed by cues and visual signposts, the viewer is actively encouraged to piece together the unfolding story that is woven into the tableaux.
He seeks to constantly develop his visual storytelling, experimenting with different styles of narrative ranging from surreal to historical, witty to dark, real to the imagined. His influences are taken from such eclectic sources as Oscar Rejlander, Albrecht Durer, Max Ernst, Hugo Ball, William Mortensen, Cecil Beaton, Agnolo Bronzino, William Blake, H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.

April 9th - May 23rd 'EXPOSED! The Peculiar Photographic
Revelations of a Victorian Eccentric'.
Solo show, Stories Art Gallery, Mayfair, London W1

March 7th - April 22nd 2018 'Peculiar Rarities' The Carrie Haddad Gallery
Hudson, NY,USA

Feb 10th- May 13th 2018 The Neo-Victorians: Contemporary Artists Revive Gilded- Glamour' - The Hudson River Museum, New York.

Oct 2016 – May 2017 “Fabricating Histories' (group show).
The Discovery Museum, Newcastle.
(Arts Council funded)

Nov 19th – Dec 5th 2015 Arcadia Contemporary, New York (group show)

Oct 23rd – Nov 30th 2015 'Unreliable Evidence of the Ovulating Sideboard and the Misplaced Deceit of the Casually Satanic...'(solo show)
Hawkhurst Vault, London E2.

Aug 15th- Sept 15th 2015 Arcadia Contemporary, New York (group show).

July 15th - Aug 23rd 2015 Carrie Haddad Gallery , Hudson NY (group show).

April - May 2015 The Cynthia Corbett Gallery Spring Exhibition, London.
(Group show).

April 2015 Stephen Romano Gallery , Brooklyn, New York
(Group show)

Dec 2014. The Photographer’s Association Awards,
Design Centre, London, N1.

Oct 2014. The Bumforth Manor Collection - Young Masters Art Prize
Sphinx Fine Art ,London W8.

Sept – Dec. 2014 Young Masters Art Prize, The Lloyds Club , London EC3.

Oct 2014. 'Pictures from an Attic' - The Bumforth Manor Collection atThe Proud Archivist, London
(Photomonth 2014 – Solo show).

June 2014. Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead, London.
Bo Lee Gallery.

June – July 2014. 'Weirdness at Bumforth Manor' (Solo show)
Oakley Lodge, London W11.

May 2014. 'Weirdness at Bumforth Manor (Solo show )
Bristol Festival of Photography.

Feb - March 2014. Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London -
Bo Lee Gallery.

Dec 2013 - Jan 2014. Group show - Medici Gallery, Cork Street, London, W1.

April - May 2012. 'Unreliable Evidence' (Solo show) Bristol Photo Festival.