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.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The day started off in a strange way.
Strange, but good, maybe bad. Only time will tell
I mentioned some time ago about a gypsy woman who came in and told me things about
myself and the life and future of the gallery.
Nonsense that I knew it was I handed her some money.
Her words and what she told me were not only true but gave me belief and determination.

She came in again today.
The cynic in me [and there's a lot of that] thought " she has found a soft touch".
But without a pause [or only a small one] I opened the till and handed her some money.
"Do you want to buy from me today", She asked?
As before she had nothing, so what was there to purchase?
I told her no, but thanked her for her words that she had spoken on the last visit.

She then started to tell me about myself and the gallery again.
Part of me wanted her to go away and the other part wanted to hear everything that she uttered. I felt frightened but awed.
Many people would just call me gullable.
Most of what she had to say about the gallery helped my thoughts, and I believed her.
A little of what she said about myself worried me, but I believed that also.
After all when someone tells you that you are tired, what's not to believe?
Before she left she stopped to admire and caress a 'Celtic Hare' sculpture that we have.
"I love this", she said then left.
This time I was determined to see if she walked past the smaller windows as she walked away,
but the telephone rang and I looked away, so I don't know.
As I mentioned before I felt that if I had gone to the door and looked out on the street there would be no one there.
But then again if I didn't have an active imagination I wouldn't be doing this for a living.

So, the real reason for writing this is because I know that in just a few days things are going to start getting very busy for me.
Another exhibition, not until mid April, but between now and then there is so much to do.
Apart from lots of travelling, designing invitations and a catalogue there is a lot of photography to do. Most of it for the exhibition but also some pictures for myself.

Really they are for an image library but they will be my sort of photographs.
They are sending me six Elizabethan costumes which I have to use for period photographs.
So if there is anyone out there size 10, please get in touch.

This all means that my chances of showing other works here is going to be very limited,
so here are a few things that have been on my mind and in my heart.

As you must know by now, I am passionate about the 'Stone Lithographs' by Michael Parkes.
These he no longer produces as the press on which they were printed no longer exists, as a
result the work that was available has been disappearing very rapidly, so much so that he has
even offered up for sale his own personal collection just to appease the worldwide demand.
Amongst these are a few that had long ago become unavailable, so when I was offered a chance to reserve a few of "his" pictures what could I do.
So now to my delight and great pleasure I will have a few [very few] very rare pieces by him
hanging on the gallery walls.
What a delight, and privilege.
I know that I can't afford one but just for a while they will belong to me.

Some other pictures that I have been aching to have here on show for a long while
are the works of Kate Leiper.
At last after a two year wait I placed the first piece in the window today.
"Mine at last"? Six hours later it was gone.
Still for a short while it was mine to look at, touch and savour and not many people have had that pleasure.
I do have a few others by her and if there is time tomorrow I will frame and hang those.
A lot of her art is centred around "Cats & Dogs" and those are the one's that I love.
Today the picture that sold was called
'Crossing Black Shucks Path", which is based on a local legend.
What makes this unusual is that it was painted by someone at the other end of the country.
Here in Suffolk we all know of the "Black Shuck".
There are many tales, myths and stories about him, but this is my own favourite.

Many, many years ago [before we were even young]
there was a great storm at sea near a place called Walberswick on the Suffolk coast.
A ship braving the storms and unable to reach harbour was overturned and sank,
with all the crew drowned.
Everyone dead, except the ships dog.
The sailors bodies were cast up on the long stretch of beach.
Some at one end and the rest far away at the other end of that long beach.
The poor dog was lost in grief, his friends were gone.
He wanted to lay with their drowned bodies, but how could he with that
distance between them?
So he ran, and ran, and ran.
From one end of the beach to the other so that he could be with his different comrades,
laying a while with some then running back to lay beside the others.
Stricken with grief, and running forever.

Today, many years later it is said that in the evening you can still see the poor dog
running along the beach, searching for his lost friends,
but if you see him whatever you do
"don't cross his path".
Of course this and all the other legends surrounding him are total nonsense.
If you believe that sort of thing you will end up listening to a gipsy's fortune telling.

Above, two of my beautiful Michael Parkes lithographs.
Some of Kate's dogs, of course the last one being that evil creature of legend.
Black Shuck.


  1. How interesting that the gipsy woman came back. Very like the scenario of one of my stories. Lovely, lovely Michael Parkes prints! So sad that the press no longer exists. Stone lithography is fast becoming a lost art. You were lucky to get some prints. I like Kate Leiper's work. There's a wittiness to it that I find charming.

  2. The friendliest Shuck I ever saw! I've heard that down near the Essex border, there's a different view of him than in my own hometown - Bungay, as I'm sure you know, has it's own connections with him! I remember a production by the Eastern Angles theatre company that had him viewed by Essex-folk as the friendly sprite that helps you across the marshes... Not quite the lightning-breathing devil-hound of my own childhood! A fine shuck nonetheless, for sure...

    Very much looking forward to coming and seeing your gallery next time Rima and I wend up that long slant line from Dartmoor to Suffolk. A fine collection you have there!