34” x 25” (86 x 63 cm) / Acrylic on gessoed panel / £7500
I have often painted and drawn this scene in the Stonor Valley, in Oxfordshire, returning to it again and again. Down the years, I’ve watched the building deteriorate, gradually collapsing in on itself. It's sturdy though. The timbers, as usual, lead the decline. The brickwork is still sound and has many more winters in it yet I fancy. Inside, although the ghosts have fled, there are still signs of the building’s original purpose. An old water pump lies seized-up and solid, its weight slowly digging its own grave. In its day, a war or two back, the building was the pump house for a nearby isolation hospital. The hospital’s long gone. The local red kites are regular visitors, taking anything fallen. In some years, when it feels like it, the tree behind the building blossoms white, cheering everything up. Sometimes, in spring, I’m not the only onlooker. The field itself becomes a carpet of yellow cowslips stopping passers-by in their tracks.
Tis but a base ignoble mind that mounts no higher than a bird can soar
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