Where it all started

Three works of art stand out from my childhood as every summer, we would be taken to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Two of them: the-blind-girl-1856The Blind Girl by Millais and The Last of England by Ford Madox Brown, Last of Englandsparked my imagination and started my passion for Pre-Raphaelite art.  I would rush to see the two of them so I could make up new stories for them and this is the reason why children should be in art galleries.

The third piece of art involves this young lady: Ships head  We have a history.  As we would go round the museum, on our way to the T-Rex on the top floor – that’s another story – I would always stop to say hello to this ship’s head.  There was no card to say where she had come from or anything to do with her history, but I was fascinated by her: the colour of her dress and the pearls gleaming in the dim light of the museum corridor; her slight smile and elaborate hairstyle was very attractive.

One day, I went back for a nostalgic wander around the galleries and went up to where she lived.  She was no longer there – neither was the T-Rex  and as he ended up in the skip, I did worry about what could have happened to her and felt sad that I would never see her again.

How wrong I was.  Having bought membership to the Tate, I decided to take advantage of the free entry to go and look at their exhibition on British Folk Art; not my cup of tea really., but we all love a bargain.  As I perused the exhibit, it led into a room full of Ship’s Heads. The size of some of these took your breath away – incredible pieces of carving.  But for me there was only one in the room – my lady!  folkart1 I couldn’t believe that she was there and that she looked so good considering that it was about 35 years since I’d last seen her.  Can’t say I was in such good nick!  Perhaps the secret is several coats of clear varnish2014-08-23 14.30.38!

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