Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Painting The Town

The Stamford Civic Society celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, and very kindly commissioned me to execute a painting of the town. Unmitigated Stamford is the result, and prints are available here. And a little film can be seen here. I've always had great affection for Stamford, starting in the 1950s with childhood visits to my Uncle David and his family. Uncle was editor of the Stamford Mercury, and indeed wrote (with Martin Smith) the definitive history of what is England's oldest newspaper. So the streets and alleys of this superb stone-built town became very familiar to me. I can remember standing on a corner of Red Lion Square when the Great North Road still thundered through the town, holding my father's hand as a seemingly giant red petrol tanker roared just feet from my nose, church bells echoing around me. I had favourite buildings, like the communal Bath House and Sancton Wood's classic Stamford Town railway station, and continually wandered about the meadows next to the River Welland. I decided to put my images of the town together in what I believe is called a capriccio, a fanciful notion where the buildings don't have to be in scale or even in the right place. And of course it gave me the opportunity to put in a train complete with blood 'n' custard carriages. I've enjoyed it all immensely, and have just completed another for what looks like being a series. So Unmitigated Leicester arrives very soon, and then hopefully Brighton. Oh I do like to be beside the seaside. And any opportunity to drink Harvey's Sussex Bitter whilst gulls scream around domes and spires....

19 comments:

Jon Dudley said...

...this is all very exciting!

Peter Ashley said...

It is Jon. Getting that old Designer's Gouache going again has been very satisfying.

Jon Dudley said...

Hope you bought in a stock of CS10 board before it vanished. Whilst actually trying to find some, I found this - http://www.colinthompson.com/page2.htm#1
the covers show some decidedly unmitigated illustration. Good luck with a very interesting project.

Philip Wilkinson said...

I like the way you've captured the essence of this limestone town with its variety of buildings - not just the churches and other traditional things but a cinema and baths too. I also like the details (the road sign, the silhouettes in the train) and most of all the sheep and swans, and the way they balance the fluffy white clouds in the sky.

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou Phil, glad you like it.

Jon: Doing the paintings on thick W&N Langton watercolour paper. (But still would like some CS10 for old times sake.) I think I nearly commissioned Colin Thompson in the eighties, but the whole of that decade is full of things I should've done. And indeed shoul'dn't have. That picture of the Albion truck reminds me that I have one of their sunrise lorry badges hanging up in an outhouse at Ashley Towers.

Vinogirl said...

I love it!

Bucks Retronaut said...

"Sure as the sunrise,that's what they say about the Albion," according to Mark Knopfler on his single "Border Reiver ".
I always love to find out that there's good a reason behind some old familiar branding........Seems worth so much more somehow than the bland products of the majority of today's marketeers.

Wartime Housewife said...

I've already raved about this to your face, so absolutely no need to tell how lovely it is all over again.

CarolineLD said...

Oh, that's gorgeous!

Sue said...

May your capricciousness extend to many more English towns - it's truly scrumptious!

Ron Combo said...

Bravo!

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou all, greatly appreciated. My old home town comin' up.

Haji baba said...

An unmitigated success. Did you ever use the baths?

Charles

Haji baba said...

An unmitigated success. Did you ever use the baths?

Charles

Greg Southwell said...

Hi Peter
this is downright brilliant. Despite fact Karen and I ust drive there 20 times a week on various Child / School errands, you've brought a completely fresh view to the old impressive town. Love it. Cheers

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou Greg and Haji Baba. I never used the Bath House, and I'm not sure that it was still functioning as such in my childhood. Of course on looking up and seeing the name I almost certainly heard communal thrashing about in soapy water coming out from the open door. "Chuck us the loofah Fred!".

bookcasebrowser said...

I particularly like the turbo-charged swans, racing the train there - but sadly falling behind, no match for the power of steam!

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