A Step Back In Time

‘If perfection could be achieved it wouldn’t be worth having

A return to Thorpe Hall, 43 years later. Back in June 1974 I spent a day here painting a landscape for my ‘A’ level Art paper and made reference to it in a previous blog about my school art teacher ‘The Importance Of Being Nobby’.

I knew the place would have changed. I’d simply remembered sitting in a meadow looking at a boarded up building located somewhere within the hall grounds. It took a while to find the exact spot, but then it suddenly unveiled itself. The sky had become a classic ‘Tur-kwarzy Blooo’ and inside my head I heard the nasal tone of Nobby shouting ‘Hands out the pockets boy!’. Not much had really altered. The wild flower filled field had become a car park, the trees had been cut back and new housing could seen at the exit, a hedge had appeared alongside what was once a gravel track and the building I’d focussed upon is now an attractive renovated gate house – other than that, the view still looked very similar.

This was where I produced my last painting before embarking on an art school career and I’ve often been tempted to revisit the site of one of the oldest compositions I still possess. Other than my grandmother’s living room it has made only one other appearance in public, being included in my ‘Landmarks & Milestones’ exhibition a couple of years ago. In 1974 the teenage me was convinced the painting was a complete and utter disaster and I’ve never waivered from that opinion. Nevertheless, I’ve also wanted to see whether that point of view was well founded. Returning to the scene of the crime with reproduction in hand to make a retrospective assessment I’ve learned that perhaps I needn’t have given myself such a hard time. The painting was probably alright after all.

It could be said that today I was back where it all started – but this time I didn’t lose my temper!