Welcome to the Pitshanger Poets

Welcome to the Pitshanger Poets Workshop Blog.

We hold a weekly workshop at the Questor’s Theatre in Ealing to read and discuss our work; you are welcome to join us. This blog will keep you updated with news from the workshop, poetry events and examples from our membership, old and new.

We meet every Tuesday night from 8pm in The Library, Questor’s Theatre, Mattock Lane, Ealing, London. Bring a poem, bring copies and be ready to discuss it in a friendly, enthusiastic group.

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Workshop, 9th May 2017

After many years in the wilderness, George ‘Bernard’ Shaw is once again in vogue, complete with elbow patches and hipster beard.  His most popular play is currently running at the Questors – Pygmalion.  You know, the one named after the ancient Grecian sculptor we all pretend we learned about in grammar school, and who anyway has only the most tangential connection to the story on offer.

This fact did not go down well with the ‘alternatively paid’ interns, some of who are proud Greeks delighted at the prospect that even in these Eurosceptic times, we English can still host a drama about one of their lesser myths.  “Not a single lump of marble anywhere on stage” one sobbed the next day into his overpriced coffee.  “And what happened to all the songs ?” muttered another.  When asked to describe what they had seen, one summed it up as “a moral tale of a proud young working woman reduced to sponging off others, brought about by the erosion of her characterful accent and her homogenisation into a bland inoffensive RP.”

Plenty of characterful voices at this week’s workshop.  Michael Harris played out a gritty coming-of-age drama of an emasculated boy getting his Man back, while Daphne Gloag choreographed a ballet on the event horizon in a show that will run forever.  Peter Francis opened his curtain on the library of his youth, and had us rolling in the aisles between bookshelves, while Pat Francis’ musical had a showstopping weepy whose cunningly cynical words are no match for the subversive power of a good composer.  Finally, in true ’Enry ’Iggins style, Martin Choules has been teaching us the correct grammar for the counter-factual mood, just to have his selfless efforts moodily shoved up his subjunctive.

Bernie Shaw was a frequent attendee in Edwardian times – and just like his famous professor, he had an annoying habit of pointing out the errors in the speech of the other members, past and present.  In between lamenting the double negatives employed by Jane Austen, the relentless passive voice of Artie Doyle and Bill Shakespeare’s multiple sins of ending sentences with a preposition, he might decry the modern lackadaisical lyricism of the latest literary leprechauns.  One evening, for instance, he upbraided John Masefield to his face for completely omitting the verb in his opening line “I must down to the sea again”, and Thomas Hardy for his excessive use of dialect in The Ruined Maid.  Indeed, when he took issue with Edith Nesbit for her ‘slovenly’-titled Five Children & It, she was so taken aback that all she good plead in defence was “lawks, guv’nah, I’m a good girl, I am !”

But we’ll leave the last word to ‘Hilarious’ Belloc in his typical style of pithy, yet totally off the point:
Bernard Shaw, as sharp as a razor,
Quite at home in a tie and blazer.
But his beard is less Belgravian –
He may be Shaw, but never Shavian.

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Workshop, 2nd of May 2017

Researching, composing, editing, type-setting and binding the blog has had to take a bit of a back seat this week as I have had vital poetry campaigning work to attend to.  The burning issue is the Hanwell Hootie, an annual music festival based in Ealing’s smaller but no less salubrious neighbour here in green West London.  The Hootie has been growing like Topsie over the last few years and now occupies a meadow, a dozen pubs and a Saturday night to a Sunday morning.  The issue is that the Hootie appears to have defined itself merely a music event and offers no space to the declamatory arts.  We at Pitshanger Poets have been campaigning on this issue by the normally effective means of complaining about it in a loud mutter in the Questor’s Bar but so far no commitment has been received from the Hootie Head Honchos.  This week I was forced to take further action and appeal to the Hootie High Head Honcho Himself, I am referring of course to Mr Jools Holland.

You are no doubt eager to hear about the goings-on in this week’s Workshop, where poems of greatness got their first public airing to an appreciative reception.  Nick Barth brought in a revision of something he thought of while repairing a computer, reflecting the birth, death and rebirth of the hard drive.  John Cheung made a welcome second visit to deal copies of his Poker-inflected poem which had us all on the edge of our plastic seats.  Michael Harris brought a tightly-argued and somewhat irrefutable piece on the value of love over narcotics.  John Hurley has got himself into a lather over the inhospitality of the part of the world to offer succour and respite to another part, and will this change any time soon?  Nayna Kumari brought another accomplished, if shocking picture, this time on the ramifications of violence.  Daphne Gloag has been thinking about the word ‘light’ and brought us a villanelle on the very same.  Peter Francis would have us believe he has been over-turning sexism in the golf club with this poem.  Pat Francis conjured a memory of hearing the bombs falling during the Blitz.  Martin Choules has been fretting over Gargoyles and why they are not bigger.  Finally Anne Furneaux has been suffering compassion fatigue in the face of the complaints of a woman she met at a party.

The case I set out to make to Mr Holland is that the Hanwell Hootie always was a mixed arts festival.  As you might expect from this blog, the origins of the Hanwell Hootie have been lost in the mists of time but what is known is that its success is not unrelated to the support it got from the Jim Marshall Company, manufacturers of amplification to the stars.  The Marshall name has a strong association in the mind of the public with popular virtuosos such as Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Jimi Hendrix and Mrs Mills, all of whom exploited increasingly huge ‘Marshall Stacks’ in an aural arms race .  What is less well-remembered is that in 1965 poetry ‘went electric’ when an exhausted Roger McGough, hoarse and drained at the end of a long tour, picked up a microphone discarded by a departing Beatle and recited a short poetry set to an increasingly fractious and turgid reaction from the audience.  Roger carried on his performance, to shouts of ‘Judith’ (Roger later insisted he had never been known as Judith and was puzzled by the reference), little realising that the world had now changed.  Before too long the vast majority of live poetry was amplified with poets such as Ted Hughes, Kingsley Amis, Thom Gunn and John Betjeman eager to achieve the now-fashionable Marshall Sound, replete with howling distortion and feedback effects.  Live poetry rose to new heights of auditory and visual spectacle during the sixties, a process reaching its peak perhaps, with Allen Ginsberg’s notorious reading at the Isle of Wight Poetry Festival in which he set fire to his text using lighter fluid while reciting ‘America the Beautiful’, provoking near-hysteria from the vast crowd.

I was surprised to find that I was obliged to remind Mr Holland of these aspects of the declamatory arts’ illustrious past and even more surprised by the deathly silence my increasingly strident emails I have been obliged to write to his ‘people’ evinced.  Finally, I received a very formal note claiming that Mr Holland had no relationship with any festival taking place in Hanwell and that since I was clearly getting Hootie confused with Hootenanny that I should perhaps like to desist contacting him or legal assistance of a particularly threatening nature would be sought.  I think Mr Holland is trying to duck the issue.

If you have been, thank you for reading.

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Workshop, 25th April 2017

Well, thank goodness that’s over.  Why the human race continues to make such a hullaballoo over St George’s Day is beyond me.  I always breathe an inner sigh of relief, enjoying the return to normality as my Man begins the long task of rolling up the bunting, boxing up the inflatable dragon in the garden and packing away the commemorative tea set.  I remain bewildered by the stories I hear of people with the most tenuous claims on English descent crowding into the streets of some far-flung city to celebrate the famous saint and their nostalgic connections with the Old Country.  I hear that the City Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts had the Charles River dyed red, white and blue and that it was flavoured with Yorkshire Tea on the day itself.  Tea shops in Dublin were warned to expect rowdy crowds as so-called ‘plastic English’ swarmed the streets seeking fish and chips, scones, cucumber sandwiches and of course, gallons of the light brown stuff.  I do wonder how such affection for all things English came about, but when you see a jolly crowd of football enthusiasts enjoying a half-pint of lager outside a Public House it’s hard not to get caught up in their cheerful love for the fellow man, is there?

Speaking of bonhomie, this week’s Workshop was brim-full of the stuff.  Michael Harris was thinking about darkness, proper darkness, not this namby-pamby stuff we get in London and how much he used to enjoy it back home in rural Ireland.  Daphne Gloag is still thinking about time measured against great things, such as the giant sequoia she met in California.  Aisha Hassan was also thinking about time, stretching into a past in India and the kinds of breakfast she used to enjoy there.  Pat Francis is maintaining her thread, going back to her poetic roots, thinking of all the things she could create and coming up with a song.  Peter Francis was welcoming someone new into the world, even if it is a slightly old, tired world.  Nick Barth has been thinking about paper and its vulnerability.  Martin Choules has been taking a look at cities that are -cesters, not -chesters or mere -sters.  Alan Chambers brought a classic from the archive, opening his ears to the sound beneath the sound. Finally,  John Hurley believes that there should be more love, music and poetry in the world.

I have been putting my mind to the younger generation of poets this week.  It’s all too easy to knock the Youth of Today, to criticise their addiction to screens, their aversion to daylight and general lackadaisicalness.  The cry goes up; why can’t they be more like the young were in my day?  Why are they not reading improving verses?  Why are they not writing sonnets and heroic verse ballads?  Why are they not gathering in pubs and village halls, regaling each other with witty, barbed commentaries on the world of today to the music of pounding drums and shredding guitars?  Why, in short, are the older generation getting such an easy ride from the young?

Certainly, if you were to spend any time with my teenage nephew Hinckley (cruelly nicknamed ‘what is point?’ by his schoolmates) you might detect a certain gothic detachment, as he lies arrayed on his bed, the detritus of his homework strewn on the floor, pale, long-haired, blue-britchéd, wearing a frilly shirt.  It seems that Hinckley is not the sort of being to inspire a generation, to take up the cudgels of protest, to create a new generation of artists, to move things on.

Such a contrast to the hard-working, diligent Romantics, eh?  There was a group of poets fired by youth, happy to rip up the rule book and write their own while carefully disposing of their litter as they went.  They would respectfully raise two fingers to the fuddy-duddy traditions of their time while offering anyone who needed it a restorative glass of laudanum.  I heard that the Romantics regarded an obscure poet by the name of Thomas Chatterton as the flint which set a spark to their blue touch-paper, though references to him in the voluminous PP Archive are scant.  I did come across an episode in which a chap by the name of Chatterton was refused entry to a Workshop on the grounds that he was too young (he appeared to be seventeen at the time) and should be in his bed at this late hour.  Apparently, he was quite well-known in London and a prolific poet by then but mysteriously, he seems to have given up the pen soon after.  I do wonder if a few Tuesday Evenings at Pitshanger Manor would have provided him with the inspiration he needed to keep up his passion.  Ah, the vagaries of youth, eh?

If you have been, thank you for reading.

 

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Workshop, 18th April 2017

The Archives are fuller than usual of late with a recent delivery of boxes, crates and assorted tea chests full of papers unearthed during the restoration work at Pitzhanger Manor.  Much of it dates from “Sir” John’s time, and fascinating it is: one sheet instructs Mrs Conduitt to arrange for the iron boot-scraper to be cleaned and sharpened by a suitable local tradesman, while another appears to chart the complex and ever-changing liaisons of his Mattock Lane neighbours, and a third is a draft of an angry letter fired off the director of the Uxbridge Road Turnpike Trust for the delays his stagecoach had once again suffered on account of the ever-present workmen and navigators digging up the highway for their endless ‘drainage works’.

Fascinating though these snippets may be to the amateur local historian, one does wonder if they are ever dashed off with an eye to posterity – after all, why else have they survived intact these past two hundred years ?  Did Mr “Sir” Soane decide that rather than keep a diary as would any self-respecting gentleman of letters and intrigue, but rather leave his thoughts and gossipings to Providence via the note tacked on the pantry door ?  Or even the front door in the case of the slip addressed to the milkman requesting an extra pail that morning on account of ‘expecting cats’.

No laundry lists at this week’s workshop, but plenty of dazzling white pages.  James Priestman has been meditating on the Tower of Babel and the Camp of Dachau, and John Hurley paints a vivid picture of a woman clinging to a fire hearth to shut out the sounds of a dark and threatening sea.  Nayna Kumari imagines God (whoever that is) being very choosy about his (or her) next messiah, while new member Aisha Hassan has been imagining a nasty pile-up in a poem that was no car crash.  Daphne Gloag has been pondering the age old conundrum of where does all the time go, while poverty and well-meaning social reform have been keeping Pat Francis’ labouring hard, and Peter Francis has been getting metaphysical with his Seventeenth Century orbs and goats.  Martin Choules has been perturbed by a cuckoo being raised by a flywheel, while Alan Chambers’ has been looking for the autumn colours and ignoring the rotting mulch.

But getting back to the Pitzhanger Papers, why have they been dumped upon the Archive in the first place ?  Well, it seems that many of these posteritous pages relate to accounts of the weekly workshop, and a good many meetings that we suspected can finally be confirmed.  Were these records removed because they were too scandalous, or perhaps too boring ?  Reading through, the answer would rather appear to be that the host was too absent-minded to file his paperwork with any kind of system, a legacy whose aftermath we still have to battle daily at the Archives.  Many minutes are scribbled on the back of flyers for Mr Short’s improvable corsets or in the margins of broadsides aiming to Pithily Puncture the Presumptions of Mr Pitt.

However, one particularly revealing memorandum recounts a workshop in a much finer grain of detail than is usual, attempting to capture the spirit of genius verbatim:

J. Soane, esq:  Mr Byron, would you read your latest for us ?

Lord Byron:  That’s Lord Byron.

J. Soane, esq:  I do apologise, your Grace. Would you care to read ?

Lord Byron:  It’s not as if I’m one of your minor nobility jumped-up Johnnies.

J. Sloane, esq:  Pray forgive me, my lord. Please, we are agog with anticipation.

Lord Byron:  Right, pass these around.  My quill ran out, so a couple of you will have to share.  Honestly, it even says ‘Lord Byron’ at the foot of the handout.  Right, everyone got a copy ?

     (His lordship clears his throat)

Lord Byron:  “The cat / Sat on / The mat.”

     (There follows two minutes of silence)

P. Shelley, esq:  I like it, but I wonder if ‘cat’ is the best animal. Perhaps something more…canine ?

J, Keats, esq:  It might be a bit snappier if you left off the last line.

W. Wordsworth, esq:  Have you considered turning it into a sonnet ?

W. Blake esq:  I’d just like to point out that cats don’t actually sit, they kneel.

Miss A. Seward:  Well, I think it’s perfect as it is and wouldn’t change a thing.  Except the title.  And the full stop.

Fascinating stuff, although of course our workshops are nothing like that nowadays.

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Workshop, 11th April 2017

I enjoy a tidy, ordered life.  I always know where to find those small but vital attributes of everyday existence without which it would be unwise to venture forth from the abode; keys, wallet, sunglasses, straw boater, phone, my trusty catapult.  This is in no small part due to the endless care and attention of my man who has a rare talent; being able to find a thing without first saying ‘where did you have it last?’ or, ‘it’ll be in the last place you look for it.’  I have never understood why the penalties for uttering these futile phrases is not more severe. Even when capital punishment was in vogue it was still possible to offer such unhelpful advice (with or without the aid of sarcasm) and merely be transported to Australia for seven years, which is getting off a bit lightly if you ask me.

This week’s workshop was entirely lacking in futile phrases, every line a bon mot, every criticism constructive.  Doig Simmonds got us off to a great start with a new poem, a haunting observation of a victim of Parkinson’s disease.  The mood was changed dramatically by Pat Francis who has been practicing her rhyme and meter by writing a lullaby.  Peter Francis then took up the cudgels with a boyhood memory of the death of his father.  Daphne Gloag has been spending her time on Time and the rhythm of life.  Danuta Sotkin-Kondycki brought us something of a dramatic verse-play, imagining a newly-minted Adam complaining to a slightly careless God about his love-life.  Martin Choules told us  a story of the creatures of the brownfield site.  Gerry Goddin made a welcome return to the group, with a new guitar and a song about a girl equipped with machine-gun lips.  Ann Furneaux brought us an experience of mortality and fresh linen from hospital.  John Hurley wrapped the meeting up with an admirable portrait of a man who became admirable, Martin McGuinness.

For all my boasts of living a life of structure and order, the fact is the other day I could not lay my hands on my set of Waverley novels.  Those classic works of fiction were written by the great Sir Walter Scott and set in the Station which the burghers of Edinburgh had presciently built in 1814 in fervent anticipation of the arrival of the railway a mere twenty-eight years later. Scott was by all accounts a polymath, a renaissance man; not only a lawyer, a historian, collector of folk tales he was also a poet, novelist and very good at finding things.  For example, around the time he was getting into his stride as a novelist, he offered to locate the Scottish Honours, or crown jewels, which had been missing for a hundred years.  The Honours had been locked in a large wooden casket in Edinburgh Castle but were then thought to have then been removed and spirited away.  Scott and a team of military men opened the casket to find the jewels were where they should have been all along.  As men of dignity and resolve, they presented the unearthed treasures without once saying; ‘Ah told ye so’, or, ‘Who’d a thought it, eh?’ or even a ‘Did ye no’ think of looking in the last place ye ken’t it was?’  Any gentle sarcasm was saved for the 80 Shilling session in the Malt Shovel later that evening.

As a result of this heroic escapade Sir Walter found himself a big deal in the finding things business.  He became a vital adjunct to His Majesty’s Government, largely because George the Third reputedly had a talent for losing his possessions.  It is said that this habit began when he lost the American Colonies, which is surely a little cruel.  However, rather a more worrying trend for an absent-minded monarch (nick named ‘Farmer George’ for his attraction to worldly affairs) was the increasing part high finance was playing in the workings of his nation.  The expense of fighting wars was met by a National Debt, which needed a Bank and an impressive building to house it in.   Our very own Sir John Soane was employed to construct the edifice, which leads us to the one time Sir Walter Scott and he met at Pitshanger Manor.   The young Scott arrived at the Manor looking forward to a lively evening but instead found Sir John in somewhat of a tizzy.  He had taken charge of one of the keys to the Bank of England, a symbolically huge thing over three feet in length.  He had then mislaid it and it was looking like he would be in no mood to host a poetry workshop until it was found and King George could regain access to the public debt.  Scott ascertained the gravity of the situation and headed directly to the fine lobby of the Manor.  There, hanging on one of a row of hooks by the front door was the Bank of England key.  Scott handed it to a grateful Soane with barely a word, ensuring the Government could finance another war and the senseless waste of human life could continue.  Britain never forgot about the young man with a talent for the written word and looking in the right place, and memorialised him after his death with a hugely gloomy edifice in Edinburgh which is very difficult to miss.

If you have been, thank you for reading.

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Workshop, 4th April 2017

Back in December, you may remember this blog speculating on matters whodunit, on considering the couplet-quoting cop of the poetry procedural.  Well, we’re delighted to announce that we have received literally ones of letter on the subject, from Alan Ayckbourne’s under secretary’s cleaner’s nephew’s imaginary friend which reads “Dear Pitshanger Archive, can you recommend a good rhyme for orange ?”

All of which only serves to distract us from considering poets who had a secret sideline in detective fiction.  The obvious prime suspect is Gilbert Chesterton, whose Father Brown has shown such skill sleuthing that he has likely inspired far more boys to join the police than the priesthood.  Charles Bukowski is also gloriously pulpy and a world away from comparisons to a summers day.  But most of the other likely lads fall short on motive: Kipling, Milne and Hardy are as famous for their prose, but they both tend to be short on murder (well, alright, there’s murder in Tess of the d’Urbervilles, but it’s not like we don’t know who dunit).  Michael Ondaatje and Raymond Carver wrote a novel and play respectively which were turned into Oscar-winning films, but at no stage do the a-list casts get summoned to the drawing room to wonder why they have all been called there tonight.

There have also been occasions when thriller writers couldn’t resist raising their profiles with a slim volume or two – Agatha Christie and Arthur “Conan” Doyle both flirted with respectability, only to see their collections sink faster than lead-weighted corpse or a femme fatale’s morals.  As for poems themselves featuring a murder mystery, the only one that comes to mind is Who Killed Cock Robin ?

Still, at least this week’s workshop was free from nefarious plots and cryptic messages.  Nick Barth has been keeping a close eye on the silver birch in his street, while Daphne Gloag has been keeping her ear to the ground listening to the tick and the slosh of time.  Alan Chambers presented a convincing alibi of his whereabouts during the equinox, while Michael Harris has been picking up clues about the stranger at the bus stop.  A rundown of the last fifty years of marriage was presented from John Hurley’s breast-pocket notebook, while Martin Choules has been investigating the underworld looking for criminals, but only finding a ferry, and Anne Furneaux has been spending valentine’s recce-ing her heart with a clear head.

Gilbert Chesterton was a regular at the Tuesday workshops, quipping with Bernie Shaw and “Hilarious” Belloc, and generally not taking matters very serious.  One evening in 1932, they were joined by a brash young American called Orson Welles, fresh from starting his acting career in Dublin and just been turned down work a work permit in London.  He quickly took to Gilbert, who obviously had a big influence on him, what with being was very tall, very stout, with a long cape, swordstick and fantastic facial hair.  His writing as well impressed young Orson, from the absurdity of The Napoleon of Notting Hill to the mystery figure whose identity must be pieced together in The Man Who Was Thursday.

As for whodunits, Orson at times provided the radio voice for Sherlock, Hercule and The Shadow, but never Father Brown.  For a man who rarely discussed religion, could it be that the dog-collar made him itch ?  Gilbert, of course, was a Catholic convert, and that evening the Archives record how Orson was admiring the string of beads hanging from his ample belt.  What were they ?  Affecting an American accent, GK responded “why, that’s my rosary, buddy”.  “My word !” exclaimed Orson, “Rosary Buddy – what a great idea for a film !”

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Workshop, 28th March 2017

It has been a while since I last gave my loyal readership an update on work at Pitshanger Manor.  Work on the Pitshager Poets’ alma mater continues apace though thankfully the house is no longer being pulled down so much as being put up again.  The Victorian ‘infill’ has been demolished and stonemasons are working on restoring Sir John Soane’s classical colonnade.  The Council’s Project Manager, Sue Smeed tells me I am always welcome to visit the workings and always seems pleased to see me, although more than once I have come across her seemingly hiding in a cupboard or behind a door when I arrive.  I can quite understand that she must need to make a lot of phone calls and that privacy is important, nevertheless it appears she can be quite challenging to locate when I am in the neighbourhood.

The last tranche of heavy earthworks uncovered foundations of the older, former Pitshanger Manor.  As you are no doubt tired of hearing, the origins of Ealing’s premier poetry workshop are lost in the mists of time and are at a severe risk of becoming mythologised by irresponsible bloggers.  Be that as it may, records of visitors to the Tuesday meetings were diligently preserved, and this week I repaired to the Archive to locate the visits of any notorious poetic grandees from the distant days of the eighteenth century.  The house was owned from the mid 18th Century by Thomas Gurnell, son of a wealthy banker and a man who enjoyed the company of the great and the good.

Speaking of the great and the good, this weeks’ Workshop was another packed affair (and where were you?).  Martin Choules took an early lead, musing on what Daedalus has said to every airman since Icarus.  Michael Harris bemused us all with a piece twinning parks Mullyash and Hyde with a single sad event.  Peter Francis took a turn around the garden in a speculative attempt to discover how he uses words.  Pat Francis recalled a racy visit to a museum in a city a long time ago in a country far, far away.  Caroline Am Bergris made a welcome return to the group with a poem that nonetheless fails all attempts at adequate description.  John Hurley recalled seeing a young lad in happier times.  Katie Thornton brought us a remarkable first-person piece describing a woman scorned.  Olwyn Grimshaw is sure she needs a new computer; however her repair man has a different opinion.  Daphne Gloag brought us something experimental written for another workshop, which work we very much hope she continues.  Nayna Kumari is working on a series of poems on ‘difficult people’ and this weeks’ was an acute observation of the sort of man who operates more on transmit than receive.  James Priestman has been channelling the Bible according to Hamlet, as spoken to Horatio.  Finally, Nick Barth rounded off with a poem about not being able to write a poem, but nobody seemed to mind.

Rustling through the illustrious pages of the Archive my eye was suddenly caught, not by the name of a poet but an artist.  It seems that Thomas Gainsbrough was more than once a guest at Pitshanger Manor on his way to exhibit his work at the Royal Academy.  Gainsborough has of course been in the news recently due to a dreadful act of vandalism carried out upon one of his most famous portraits, The Morning Walk.   Much was made in these reports of Gainsborough’s decision to switch from landscapes to portraiture, and of course the hacks of the fourth estate assumed the reason was all to do with filthy lucre, portraits of nobs and their duchesses paying much more than trees and hills, however airy the brushwork.  Studying the Archive, I was struck by an incident which contradicts this theory.  It appears that Thomas Gurnell had invited Gainsborough to spend a few days on the estate on his way to London to take in the parkland and maybe knock up a few landscapes for the Royal Academy.  Gurnell was good enough to lay on some materials and had a stack of canvasses delivered for the purpose.  However when Gainsborough inspected the canvasses he found that they were all Portrait rather than Landscape, a technical nicety having apparently escaped the art material suppliers.  Stuck with the wrong aspect ratio Gainsborough was forced to paint portraits for the duration of his stay and found that he preferred the new medium.  History, once again, being made in Ealing.

If you have been, thank you for reading.

 

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