In Search of Frankenstein

5 Oct 2018 – 5 Jan 2019

Event times

Tuesday - Thursday: 10.00am - 6.00pm
Friday - Saturday: 10.00am - 5.00pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday

Cost of entry

Free entry

Impressions Gallery

Bradford, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • For further information on local bus routes and times please visit the Metro website (www.wymetro.com).
  • By rail and bus Bradford Interchange is five minutes walk away from Impressions Gallery, with rail, bus and taxi services all under one roof. Bradford Interchange is only a 20-minute direct journey from Leeds station with links to the rest of the country.

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From melting glaciers to nuclear bunkers, In Search of Frankenstein reveals present-day landscape that once inspired Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking novel.


In Search of Frankenstein is the outcome of an Artist Residency at Verbier 3-D Foundation in Switzerland, and is a British Library Exhibition supported by Verbier 3-D FoundationGenesis Imaging, the Bodleian Library and Impressions Gallery.Dewe Mathews was inspired by the novel’s genesis in 1816, when Mary was holidaying on the shore of Lake Geneva with her future husband the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and companions including Lord Byron. The peculiar climactic conditions of ‘The Year Without Summer’—the repercussions of a volcanic eruption in the Dutch East Indies—forced Shelley and her companions to remain indoors, competing to write the best ghost story. Despite the efforts of the more experienced male writers, it was the eighteen-year-old Mary who created the monster that would become one of literature’s most enduring creations.

Travelling to Lake Geneva and the Swiss Alps two centuries later, Dewe Mathews photographed the snow-covered mountains—not only from the outside, but also from within. Her images reveal a network of eerie subterranean bunkers, built in the Cold War to shelter the entire population of Switzerland in the event of a nuclear disaster. The miles of tunnels and chambers remain equipped and on standby, their curious apparatus evoking the electro-mechanical laboratory of Dr Frankenstein. These images stand in stark contrast to Dewe Mathews’ pale and fragile landscapes of mountains, lakes and glaciers.

As well as her photographs, the exhibition includes Dewe Mathews’ collection of vintage Alpine photographs and prints, and facsimiles of handwritten pages from Mary Shelley’s original manuscript The Geneva Notebook, now part of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. 

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