Fly on the wall


One of the aspects of trust that I wanted to investigate was the distinct lack of it!

The idiom ‘To be a fly on the wall’ came to mind. How often have we wished to have hidden access to the secret lives of others! Are things really as they outwardly appear? How does apparently well behaved society really behave behind closed doors?

This train of thought led me to consider public scandals and the controversy that oft accompanies them. In a previous piece I had discovered the poem titled ‘Trust’ by the controversial poet and author DH Lawrence and this particular source led me to further research other controversial English poets. Lord Byron presented himself as the epitome of such! A brief look into his colourful personal life, relationships and subsequent scandals ensure that Lord Byron was most certainly a suitable candidate for someone who you would wish to spy upon!

I envisaged what it would be like to have that secret perspective into people’s private lives and it seemed an obvious choice given the context to set the scene in a Regency styled home. I sourced several decorative wallpaper images from Creative Commons sites but settled upon an incredibly opulent but worn wallpaper complete with a decorative gold frame. The decadence of the paper is reminiscent to the pattern work of Marian Bantjes and therefore I concluded that this would be in keeping with my current design language. Furthermore the worn nature of the paper offered a more sordid quality to the composition further enhancing the narrative I was aiming to communicate.

If I had more time I would have liked to have created my own wallpaper pattern but time did not permit such a luxury and given the circumstances a public domain image offered a viable alternative.

The mother of all wallpapers

Fig 1.

Once I’d settled upon the backdrop I sourced a further public domain image this time of Lord Byron. Coincidently, the colours in the portrait and the frame were incredibly similar enabling a relatively seamless blend between the two images using Adobe Photoshop.

Lord Byron

Fig 2.

The last aspect to complete the composition, was perhaps the most critical aspect for the piece to deliver its intended message; the addition of the fly. I again sourced the image from a public domain site and finally combined all three in Adobe Photoshop, suitably editing and muting the colours to blend the items as seamlessly as possible.


Fig 3.

The finished piece

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 4.35.42 PM
Winstanley. L (2016) A Fly on the wall M’Lord

Throughout this project I have endeavoured to create all my own imagery, be that illustrative or photographic. This is one of the few pieces where I conceded that existing imagery would be superior in communicating my message, more so than what I could produce in the given time frame.

As I have already stated, I would have liked to have attempted to create my own pattern design for the wallpaper. However, I do believe by utilising existing photography I have been able to retain a degree of authenticity which would have undoubtedly been lost should I have attempted to apply new imagery. Conclusively this decision was, in this instance, the correct one.

Overall I am pleased with this piece, although it significantly deviates from my usual working methods and is distinctly lacking in typography! This however, was a considered choice as I wished the viewer to draw their own conclusions behind the meaning. Even without direct reference to Lord Byron I believe the contentious nature of his adulterous liaisons is communicated via the seedy imagery and sets a sordid scene which one would love to secretly discover.



Fig 1: D’Anjou, B. (2011). The mother of all wallpapers. [image] Available at: 23 Jul. 2016].

Fig 2: Flickr, (2014). Lord Byron. [image] Available at: 20729032939 [Accessed 23 Jul. 2016].

Fig 3: Lamerie, (2007). Fly. [image] Available at: [Accessed 23 Jul. 2016].

Fly on the wall

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