Pat Murphy Presentation

This presentation was a collaborative body of work which was inspired by one volunteers journey to fight against the fascists in the Spanish Civil war 1936.

Part of my task within the group was to source the suitcase for all the pieces of work to be displayed in. This one above was bought from an antique market place, called the Pumping Station situated just outside Cardiff. This was one of the cheaper ones, though it looked the best for what we were going for. I liked the compartments within it, as I would be useful for displaying our pieces clearly.


This was our final piece displayed in the studio. Below are all the pieces that made up the final body of work.

Within are two letters, one of which is letter from his wife while he was serving in WW1, the other a letter that was drafted to send to his wife when he left to fight. A packet of cigarettes from Howells in Cardiff (his home town), a box of matches with International Brigade advertisement on. Two recruitment posters in welsh “Save Spain against Fascism”. A handmade dairy with his first entry in about his journey to Spain. A Western Mail article depicting the horrors of the civilians being killed by the hands of the fascist. Also a magazine called the National Union of Seamen, which he was very fond of. The burn out cigarette pack was thought to be a souvenir from WW1, where he was shot and very lucky to escape with his life.

To go with the case we decided that a synopsis of Pat Murphy was needed to help the viewer understand more effectively. I wrote up and designed the synopsis. It was decided to give it a modern look which gave a nice contrast to the other pieces of work.


Everyone within our group worked really well together we had great communication which made the process run smoothly. The final piece came together better than hoped with interesting research being put into each individuals work, all playing an important role into the final message that we wanted to put across to the audience. The inspiration for Pat Murphy as to why he decided to go and fight in Spain was wholly because of the media and propaganda which had a massive influence where the Spanish Civil war was concerned, with recruitment posters, newspaper / magazine articles, and advertising. His passion to fight against something that he truly believed in and willing to give his life to cause that was so far from home is inspiring.

From researching and creating pieces for this brief, it has given me an insight into what it would have taken to go and fight. If it wasn’t for brave individuals like Pat Murphy Spain might have been over thrown by Fascism and the outcome of WW2 may have been very different. Just shows you that fighting for what you believe could be a change in the world for the better.


Pat Murphy’s Passport

1930’s Passports

In 1855 passports became a standardised document issued solely to British nationals. They were a simple single-sheet paper document, and by 1914 included a photograph of the holder.The British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act 1914 was passed on the outbreak of World War I. A new format was introduced in 1915: a single sheet folded into eight with a cardboard cover. It included a description of the holder as well as a photograph, and had to be renewed after two years. The Images above are of a 1930’s passport. A 32-page passport with a dark blue cover, commonly known as the old blue style, came into use in 1920 with the formation of the Passport Service following international agreement on a standard format for passports, and remained in use  until late 1988. The passport included: number, holder’s name, “accompanied by his wife” and her maiden name, “and” (number) “children”, national status. For both bearer and wife: profession, place and date of birth, country of residence, height, eye and hair colour, special peculiarities, signature and photograph. Names, birth dates, and sexes of children, list of countries for which valid, issue place and date, expiry date, and a page for renewals at the back. They don’t look that dissimilar to the ones that we hold today.

The Making of the Passport

Having participated in our bookbinding workshop I was pretty confident about recreating a 1930’s passport. I took measurements from my grandparents old passports, as the dimensions hadn’t changed much. It was very difficult to get a clean finish on the leather from cutting out the information panels, on the front cover. I also had issues with the emblem and text on the front. I had never painted leather before, and found that acrylic paint was not suitable. Proper leather paint was needed and I had difficultly souk_passport_1930urcing gold. I decided that I was going to have to stick the emblem on instead, which meant that I wasn’t able to emboss the leather either. I took the image of the emblem from the front cover of the 1930’s passport image (shown above). With a little bit of photoshop magic I was able to brighten, resize and crop the image and print it. It was then painted with gold paint and stuck to the front. The same process was used for the text.

Overall I was pleased with the final outcome, even though I hit a few hurdles. It was especially nice to create something with my hands.





Pat Murphy

Pat Murphy was a volunteer for the Spanish civil war. From his story we were given a brief to create a collaborative body of work in response to text that was provided.

Pat Murphy was one of the first Spanish civil war volunteers to go to Spain to fight against the facist regime. Born in Cardiff in 1897 to the first generation Irish immigrant.  He served in the first world war, and had gained some experience in a war zone. He was outraged by the Pro Franco propaganda, he enlisted at the Cardiff recruitment office for international brigades. He suffered two major injuries during the war, laying him up both times for a few months, but his anarchist convictions kept him going to. He left Cardiff early December 1936 in the midlle the night, unexplained to his wife due to secrecy, and boarded a ship bound for Albacet, Spain to become an anti Fascist fighter with The International Brigade. Having an Irish background Pat ended up fighting with several Irish comrades and regarding his self as fighting for the Irish contingent, he had very similar outlook on politics the Irish volunteers. He was as an “indomitable warrior remaining true to his anarchist convictions.” Fearless in battle, which had very high casualties, he only just survived the war. Unfortunately, he had to be sent home invalided, much to his disappointment, I would have thought. However he still supported his comrades in Spain by sending then letters of encouragement and cigarette supplies.

I wanted to find more out about Pat Murphy. At first I could find anything on Patrick Murphy. I started to question whether or not his first name was actually Patrick. However from further research into the Civil registration, which is records of births, deaths and marriages. I came across a Patrick Keenan Murphy, the dates match up with his birth and death, and also was registered in South Glamorgan.


Record of War Service for WW140584_606246_0910-0020040584_606246_0910-00200

From extensive research, there was not much else that I could find about Pat as a person in reference to the Spanish Civil war. But I did come across some interesting letters spent from other Irish volunteers during the Spanish Civil war. I particular like this exert from a letter written by Padraig de Stannligh to his father

“I came here to fight not only for the Spanish people but for the workers of the world against Fascism, not forgetting O’Duffy and his crowd. If the fascists by any miracle win it would mean first the death knell of democracy throughout the world and the finish of Irish nationalism. That’s why I came over here, because I understood this from the very beginning. In a few month’s time we shall be writing Robert Emmet’s epitaph: ‘When my country takes its rightful place among the nations of the earth, then and not till then let my epitaph be written.’ (Emmet) If James Connolly was alive today and saw what was going on throughout the world, especially in Spain, what would he do? He’d unite all those good Irish fighters, all of them, and he’d shove the fascists into the sea wherever he found them. We’ll do that. And if any of them wash ashore in Dublin Bay let them [know] that no murderers of women and children have a place in the fair land of Eirinn.

The morale of the people here, even to the smallest children, is of the highest. The people smile and welcome you, greet us as their deliverer, and even cry about you when you leave. That is not the way they treat the fascists, and that’s why Franco and his cutthroats will never conquer Spain, nor O’Duffy Ireland. You read in the ‘Irish Independent’ what the Spanish Government is supposed to be doing. But what about Franco and his German and Italian hired assassins and conscripted ‘volunteers’, who are afraid to meet soldiers in the field and sneak behind the lines in their aeroplanes, killing women and children, innocent all of them. This I have seen with my own eyes. We can’t lose, we won’t lose, and when your Pattie comes marching home again he’ll have stories to tell that will put the lie to the things that have been told to the people at home by papers owned by Irish capitalists, fascist liars.”

I think that it shows the political view point that Murphy was fighting for aswell.

After researching we met as a group to discuss what we wanted to produce as a piece together. We came up with an initial concept pretty quickly, we thought that by creating a body of work which encapsulated his initial reasons for joining as a volunteer was a strong way to proceed. Below is a mind map of what we needed create to put into a suitcase which Pat would have possible taken with him. I was going to make his passport and a newspaper article which might have inspired him to go and fight against the fascists. img_3882d650ec3b-1