Welcome to the Gallery

Imagine is set in the Suffolk village of Long Melford.
This is an attempt to record the daily trials, tribulation and pleasure of running an art gallery.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

After a period of inactivity a lot has happened in a short time and I find myself thinking "what shall I write about"? I'm a bit spoilt for choice but I did promise someone last night " I will write about this", so I suppose I had better.
Perhaps like many people many people including Johnny Depp [just a bit of name dropping in case he has decided to read this in between takes] one of my favourite films of all time is
' Withnail & I ', one of the best English films made, especially in the way that it shows English sense of humour.
Last year I had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage the main location ' Uncle Monty's Cottage in the Lake District, it had just been sold at auction and despite bidding from the likes of Kate Moss it had sold to a local publican who vowed to restore it to its "former glory", so that sad people like me could visit it and see it as it was at the time of filming.
Translated I think that means "if you have a pile of money you can rent it for a holiday".
I was keen to see it as it was before "restoration".
Like many people before me I got out the map and using clues from the film managed to find
the cottage. Well actually that's a bit of a "fib" as I gave up and stopped at a Pub in the early morning where a young man was sweeping outside and asked if he knew where it was.
" Blimey, my boss has just bought it " he said, and then told me which way to go.
The whole visit was an experience that I shan't forget and I will devote an entry to it one day.

Well this visit came back to my mind last night when I made another unforgettable journey.
I had to collect some new paintings from our favourite artist Jackie Morris who lives a days
journey away but with the bad [snow it was nice really] weather that we have had a journey to her was too far at this time, so she had arranged for a handsome young man to bring
them most of the way for me.
For a few days I had been really keen to collect them so with the snow receding I set off last night to collect them at a location near Oxfordshire.
The paintings that I collected were a real mixture, not only of subjects but also of sizes and it took sometime to load my small [Tardis like] car.
Eventually I was packed to the ceiling and ready to return home.
As I said goodbye to Jackie's young assistant I couldn't help asking "have you ever seen a film called Withnail & I, I heard that they shot some of it here"?
"Oh yes, the famous tea room scene".
"That's it, do you know where it is"?
"It's 500 yards down the road, if you want to see it I will take you there".
So slipping and sliding in the snow Robin [young man] and I made our way to what what I would describe as a village square, although that isn't what it is.
The snow covered square was illuminated by Victorian style lamps and with romance in my mind I found it easy to imagine the Lake District village square depicted in the film.
In the corner of the square was the 'Tea Rooms'.
Now the building is just a chemist but all I could see was "the" Tea Rooms.
We walked over to the building.
I looked through those famous windows and I caressed that old door, looking inside I couldn't see the racks of lotions, pills and perfume all I could see was Withnail sitting there.
I swear I heard [or maybe it was just an echo].

" We want the finest wines available to humanity".

What an experience it was for me, of course this will mean nothing to anyone unless you have seen the film, if you haven't you must.

So what a trip for me, a little piece of cinema history and some beautiful new paintings by
Jackie Morris.
Jackie had included some fantastic work including some of the original artworks from the
'Robin Hobb' book covers, it will take me some days to photograph them all but I will try to show them all over the next week or so.
Meanwhile here are just a couple that I have photographed.
One of them is the original painting of the drawing which I use as my journal heading.
The drawing was lovely but the painting is superb and no photograph of mine will ever do it justice and I am only showing a portion of it [one third as it is really large].
The picture that isn't Jackie's is my photograph of the Withnail cottage.


  1. Rather curiously, "Uncle Monty's cottage" also featured in this month's Countryfile magazine - amongst walks to film locations. On the theory that, like buses, 'there's none for ages and then 3 come all at once', I wonder where it will appear next!

  2. Thanks for that Mary, I will definitely try and get a copy I would love to know what they say, also I would be very interested to see what other locations they mention.
    Do they by any chance mention Ryan's Daughter?

  3. In case you didn't track down Countryfile, they included
    from TV - Portmeirion (The Prisoner),various Midsommer Murders' villages, Lovejoy locations, Holmfirth(Last of the Summer Wine),'Glenbogle' in Monarch of the Glen,Lyme Park from 1995 Pride and Prejudice
    from films - Knole House standing in for Whitehall Palace in The Other Boleyn Girl
    the church,manor and watermill at Mapledurham as seen in The Eagle Has Landed
    a section of Dorset coast used in Tess of The D'Urbervilles
    Castle Combe -star of Dr Doolittle, Dick Turpin, Robin of Sherwood, Stardust and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
    Much Wenlock, used for Clockwise
    and Blackhall Rocks, where colliery waste is being dumped at the end of Get Carter but is now a Nature reserve!

    No Ryan's Daughter locations - wasn't that filmed in Eire?