In a dark, dark town there was a dark, dark street
and in the dark, dark street there was a dark, dark house,
and in the dark, dark house there were some dark, dark stairs
and down the dark, dark stairs there was a dark, dark cellar
and in the dark dark cellar….
three skeletons lived!

Halloween work of the week is the wonderful Dancing Skeletons by Edward Burra.

Does anyone else remember the book and TV programme Funnybones? It changed skeletons from frightening, dusty horrors into fun characters, and that’s something that Edward Burra had been doing since the early 20th century with this and other works such as Skeleton Party. He often used elements of death and the underworld and delighted in the macabre.

I absolutely love the cackling skeletons in their ostentatious drapery dancing by the glow of the smiling moon. I love the contrast between their colourful bones (white, pink, red and blue) and the dark shadows surrounding them, and was surprised to read that Edward Burra worked exclusively in watercolours. It is very difficult to achieve such vibrant colour using water so I imagine the paints were very thickly layered.

If you need inspiration for your Halloween costume this week look no further! What will you dress up as?


I never tire of seeing Burra's work - he proves that watercolours don't have to look whimsical or less vibrant than oils or acrylics. I notice that he likes pink - often a splash of this colour is seen in his work.