On the 20th July Jackie and I went to Lewes for a quick supper at the Lewes Arms complete with Harveys Best and Butcombe Hop Eye before going on to hear artist in egg tempera Peter Messer talk about his work. This was going to be special because he really does not often talk about his painting, though he might be drawn to talk about a particular one during an exhibition, see https://roundhillrob.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/peter-messers-private-view-19th-october-2012/.
The talk was in a converted church, now clearly a theatre complete with lighting and raked seating. And there was a guy with questions to help draw him out. Peter had selected a number of slides of his work spread over many years, and he used these to expand his words. What impressed me most was the source of inspiration of much of his work – which was largely literature. Back in March I visited a small show he had in Lewes, and was delighted by several paintings of highly unlikely scenes. I just thought he had a crazy imagination, but its more complicated. One painting showed Peter on his (very neat) allotment, surrounded by 6 badgers. He spoke about this one, explaining it is from a Robert Graves poem called ‘The six badgers’ :
As I was a-hoeing, a-hoeing my lands,
Six badgers walked up, with white wands in their hands.
They formed a ring round me and, bowing, they said:
“Hurry home, Farmer George, for the table is spread!
There’s pie in the oven, there’s beef on the plate:
Hurry home, Farmer George, if you would not be late!”
So homeward went I, but could not understand
Why six fine dog-badgers with white wands in hand
Should seek me out hoeing, and bow in a ring,
And all to inform me so common a thing!
Apologies for using you image Peter, but thank you for a fascinating talk.