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Queen Mary, University of London

HINCHLIFFE, Ian (1942-2010)


Reference code(s): GB 0370 IH

Held at: Queen Mary, University of London

Title: HINCHLIFFE, Ian (1942-2010)

Date(s): 1942-2010

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 16 boxes

Name of creator(s): Hinchliffe | Ian | 1942-2010 | performance artist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Ian Hinchliffe (1942-2010) was born in 1942 in Huddersfield, and many of his early influences of music hall, vaudeville and jazz originate from this time.

Following a move to London, Hinchliffe enjoyed his most productive years in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1971, Hinchliffe founded the Matchbox Purveyors, a performance group based at Oval House, whose first show took the form of Hinchliffe and Mark Long (of the People’s Show) selling boxes of matches. Jude Morris joined the same year, and left in 1975, and this set the stage for a combination of solo performances and a sequence of guest performers collaborating with Hinchliffe under the Matchbox Purveyors name, including Dave Stephens, Laura Gilbert and Derek Wilson (Jail Warehouse Co), Lol Coxhill, Rob Con, Diz Willis, Rose Maguire, Jeff Nuttall, Chris and Tim Britton, Phil Minton, Emil Wok, and Alan Porter. His performance work took place in a variety of locations, including art galleries, clubs, pubs, festivals and the street. Hinchliffe also undertook film work, acting in ‘Walter’ (1982), ‘Stormy Monday’ (1988), and ‘Diary of a Sane Man’ (1989).

Hinchliffe's later career, from the 1990s onwards, represented a distinct phase in his creative output, with a focus on durational performance via projects such as Woodwork and Gargantua. The culmination of this approach came in the form of the 4 week exhibition at Beaconsfield, 'Estate - the Ian Hinchliffe Retrospective' (1998), with an installation that developed through daily performances during gallery hours. Regular collaborators during this time included Tony Green, Hugh Metcalfe and David Crawforth. The venues most commonly frequented in this period were The Water Rats, Nosepaint and Beaconsfield.

Alongside his performance work, Hinchliffe was also a visual artist, whose sculptures, paintings and collages form part of his artistic output. Further contributions came in the form of his writing, with Hinchliffe's columns 'HINCHLIFFE LASHES OUT' appearing in Performance Magazine.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers concerning the career of performance artist Ian Hinchliffe (1942-2010), primarily comprising of promotional material and photographs capturing performances by Hinchliffe and his collaborators. Includes promotional material relating to Hinchliffe's performance group, the Matchbox Purveyors, founded in 1971.


he material covers both Hinchliffe's early to mid career in the 1970s and 1980s, with the focus predominantly on work undertaken under the Matchbox Purveyors, to his later work, concentrating on durational performances with regular collaborators such as Tony Green, Hugh Metcalfe and David Crawforth.

Also contains a smaller volume of material relating to the planning and execution of Hinchliffe's work, including pages from a notebook of illustrated performance plans, annotated scripts, correspondence, and contracts. There is also a small amount of personal material, such as photographs of Hinchliffe as a baby, and illustrated diaries of his fishing trips.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

The bulk of the material, namely that material which concerns performance art events, follows the chronological order established by Beaconsfield gallery for their 1998 Ian Hinchliffe retrospective 'Estate'. Adjustments have been made to the order where a more precise date has been identified.

Some additional arrangement work has been undertaken by the archivist to group material into series which reflect the different elements of Hinchliffe's life and work.

Conditions governing access:

The Archives are available for access in the Archives Reading Room located on the 2nd Floor of the Mile End Library. The Archives Reading Room is open Mondays to Fridays 9am-4pm by appointment only. Contact the Archives for more information: Archives, Main Library QMUL, 328 Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, telephone: 020 7882 3873, email: For more information about the Archives see the website:

Conditions governing reproduction:

No material may be published without the prior permission of both the copyright holder and the Library. All applications for publication must be made to the Archivist in the first instance, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user.

Finding aids:

Online catalogue

Detailed catalogue


Archival history:

Rebecca Shatwell and Naomi Siderfin curated and listed this material for ‘Estate: Ian Hinchliffe retrospective’, Beaconsfield, Vauxhall, London, 30 October-22 November 1998.

The material was loaned to Andre Stitt for his exhibition in Cardiff ‘Flashes from the Archives of Oblivion’ between 17 November 2007-13 January 2008 . Hinchliffe's papers were then returned to his home, but gifted to Beaconsfield and transferred back to the gallery after his death in 2010.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Beaconsfield deposited and transfered the material to Queen Mary University of London in January 2017 as a permanent loan.



Date(s) of descriptions: 2018

Cultural exhibitions | Exhibitions
Performing arts

Personal names
Hinchliffe | Ian | 1942-2010 | performance artist

Corporate names
Matchbox Purveyors