Blog Sweet Fanny Adams' Bitter End Banner image: Untitled from the series Country Girls 1997 © Anna Fox, courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London Completing her degree in Audio Visual studies at The Surrey Institute in 1986, Anna Fox has been working in photography and video for over twenty years. The Professor of Photography at University for the Creative Arts in Farnham is currently exhibiting two of her photographs from the series, ‘Country Girls’, in our Main Gallery exhibition, Women in Photography: A History of British Trailblazers. Untitled from the series Country Girls 1997 © Anna Fox, courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London In collaboration with Alison Goldfrapp, Anna’s series of photographs, ‘Country Girls’, is based on both personal experiences growing up as a young woman in rural Southern England, and the story of Sweet Fanny Adams, who was violently murdered in Alton in 1867. Fanny’s story has been told many times and has been the inspiration for many articles, exhibitions, plays and poetry. Fanny Adams lived with her parents, George and Harriet Adams, and five siblings; Ellen, George and Walter, who were older, and younger sisters Lizzie and Lilly. At only eight years old, Fanny was an intelligent, cheerful and lively young girl, who, like any child, loved to play games with her family and friends. Untitled from the series Country Girls 1997 © Anna Fox, courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London One sunny Saturday afternoon, Fanny was playing in the nearby Amery hop gardens with her younger sister, Lizzie, and a friend from the neighbourhood, Minnie. Approaching from some way away, was a smart-looking man wearing a black frock-coat, light waistcoat and trousers. He watched the girls playing, and fumbled around in his pocket as he approached. From his coat, he pulled out a halfpenny, which glistened in the sun and caught the attention of the three girls. The man offered Fanny the coin on the condition that she accompany him on a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood. Lizzie and Minnie, however, did not think this fair, and wanted to come too. He delved deeper into his pocket and withdrew three further halfpennies, which he gave to the two girls and suggested they go and buy some sweets. Thrilled, Lizzie and Minnie dashed off with their riches to go and buy the tastiest treats they could find. Fanny was left with the older man, alone and unsettled. Untitled from the series Country Girls 1997 © Anna Fox, courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London With a full belly, Lizzie returned home happy after a delightful day out, just in time for tea. Immediately, her mother noticed Fanny’s absence, and after hearing what had happened, a search began for the missing child. At the same time, a labourer was returning home from a hard day’s work. Crossing the hop garden, he was horrified to find the lifeless face of a child resting on two hop poles beside a hedge. Slowly the full horror began to reveal itself, as horrendously ripped apart body parts were discovered strewn over a wide area. The man was identified by a terrified Minnie as Frederick Baker, a solicitor’s clerk originally from Guildford, and was apprehended whilst wearing clothes covered in Fanny’s blood. He had written in his diary, ’24 August, Saturday – killed a young girl.’ Untitled from the series Country Girls 1997 © Anna Fox, courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London The murderer was convicted and sentenced to death, whereby his execution, one of the last public hangings in front of the County Jail in Winchester, was attended by over 5,000 people. Fanny’s story captured the hearts of the nation, and for many years, her tragic tale has been used as a warning to children to stay away from strangers. Anna’s series, ‘Country Girls’, explores storytelling and constructed imagery in a series of staged colour photographs. Two of these photographs can be seen in Women in Photography: A History of British Trailblazers, on display until 2 June 2019. Untitled from the series Country Girls 1997 © Anna Fox, courtesy James Hyman Gallery, London To coincide with the exhibition, Anna and colleagues will be discussing the significance of uncovering hidden histories and revealing new role models for female photographers, in the panel discussion Fast Forward: Her Stories in Photography on Thursday 30 May 2019. The discussion is free to attend, and can be booked in advance here.