Sunday, 19 February 2012
When things speak to you . . .
Inanimate things that is. Books. Pictures. Hand-sewn textiles. China sometimes. Two little pictures spoke to me a the car boot sale this morning. I was immediately drawn to them. I looked, and loved them. Then I looked at what else the woman was selling, and thought, hmmm, they won't be cheap. She was deep in conversation with someone else, but when I caught up with K, I mentioned the pictures. "Where are they?" was his question, so I showed him. I got the woman's attention and asked the price. "£5 the pair". Oooh - cheap then! We offered £4, and they came home with me! £2 each is not too much of an indulgence!
As I said, some things just seem to speak to you. Once it was a box of china and house clearance oddments at an auction. No good for me, but gosh, I sensed the previous owner was very angry that her treasures had turned up via the house clearance of her effects.
In Hay-o-Wye, on one occasion, I was browsing the horsey books and one particular one seemed to draw my hand towards it. I had a brief look at it and saw that it was a little autobiography, and the author had kept a lovely little Arab stallion, amongst other horses. I put it back, as I wasn't really looking for that style of book. But my hand was irrisistably drawn back to it, and when I opened it this time, my eye fell on a paragraph where the author mentioned that he woke in the night, and had the strongest feeling that his favourite mare was in trouble, and was in desperate need of his help. He dressed and ran across the pasture, to find that she had caught her hoof in her headcollar when she was drinking in the pond, and had drowned before he could reach her. (One good reason for never leaving a horse with a headcollar on). The fact that his horse communicated with him meant that the book came home with me, as I have had similar experiences (especially with Fahly when I had him).
These little pictures seemed to remind me of my past. The farmhouse looked so like one on the Surrey/Hampshire border that I knew when I was doing my BHSAI training (assistant riding instructor) near Liss and it was such a comforting picture . . . The bridge doesn't evoke the same feelings, but is a nice little picture all the same.
Doing some research on line, I found that Wilfred Williams Ball (b. 1853 in the East End of London and died of heat exhaustion in Khartoum, Sudan on 14th February 1917.) He painted landscapes and marine pictures and was widely exhibited, including at the Royal Academy, and was President of the Society of British Artists in 1886. He always had a close affinity with the counties of Sussex and Hampshire (there is a beautiful painting of Romsey which I would love to buy the print of, as this was my mum's home town). He published two books of paintings on these counties in 1906 and 1909.
Some of his work can be found here, along with a potted biography. Here are some more of his paintings, including the Romsey market place one.