“the earth the colour of a hare” Picture Five

Picture five

In this picture, my thoughts were on the rural and domestic aspects of the diary of Parson James Woodforde. The large component, which I made first, has a frame of cutlery, and fruit. Inside, we have the wildlife of the countryside, or the game for the table, depending on how you look at it. This component encapsulates a part of rural life, with the suggestion of a larder.

Parson Woodforde, as the Folio Society edition of his diary makes clear, took a big interest in the pond in his garden, which supplied him with fish. Not every animal is to be eaten, however, and the owl (headless), in the bottom left, is part of the fabric of that world. It often happens that when I use scraps of people or of animals, I do not use the whole shape, and, in particular, you get a different effect by using the head, on its own, or the body, without the head. I feel that when headless, the creatures stand for more than one individual.

Both James Woodforde and John Aubrey mention dogs, domestically or for hunting. There is a man with a barrow, too. So far, I have not managed to get a female figure on my pictures. This was a very difficult picture to glue up, partly because of the minute alignments, and partly because there were several layers and textures of the pieces, with some being thick and slippery! The positioning is very close to the original in the finished version, but not identical.

Although I mentioned Parson Woodforde and his household as my leading thoughts, in fact, the world which this picture conveys, seems to me to be more widely relevant. It might also evoke Reverend Gilbert White, or even the slightly earlier time of the scholar, Thomas Hearne, or of the antiquarian, John Aubrey. But really, it could evoke something of seventeenth and eighteenth century life more widely.

I did not plan the component with the candle; I made it on the day after the first component, and when I added it, I felt that the picture was finished. The brown, cream, and yellow swoosh is the spout which I cut out from a picture of an eighteenth century coffee pot.

If you would like to support my artwork, you can find a print of this picture, and of the others in the series, on my prints page.