It began with a bath. Well, to be exact, the side of a bath which we happened upon, or rather which caught our eyes, when first we visited Charleston Farmhouse, the home of Bloomsbury Set members Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, some years ago. How jolly it would be, we thought, to have the panel of a bath painted in such a manner. And so the idea was born.
|the bath panel as painted by Duncan Grant at Charleston Farmhouse|
Now, as it happens, our visitors' bathroom provides an ideal subject to be 'Charlestonised' and so we set about, in the absence of Duncan Grant, to find both artist and model. Orr Máté, one of our 'Bright Young Things' or, as darling Tom Stephenson would have it, one of our 'Floppy Boys', was an excellent choice of artist and within a short time a subject was secured and we believed ourselves set to go.
|Duncan Grant [1885 - 1978] photographed in his Charleston Farmhouse studio|
|born exactly 100 years after Duncan Grant, Orr Máté with first sketches|
Alas, our model took flight, borne away as some latter day Icarus destined to fly too near to the sun and fall ignominiously to an unseeing, unknowing, uncaring world. And then the idea struck. Forget the bath, at least for the moment, and instead we should celebrate our gardening years with a painting that would not only add to our collection of contemporary Hungarian art, itself an abiding interest, but would also serve as an allegory to those distant but joyful times.
|the Tower, Rill and Fountain of our Herefordshire garden, summer 2003|
And now we have it. Or, to be truthful, the painting is finished, awaiting delivery, when, together with Máté, we are planning a fabulous luncheon party [Tímea, our cook/housekeeper is yet to be alerted to this fact!!] to coincide with its unveiling. Such fun!
|click to enlarge 'The Painting', Orr Máté's latest work - an allegory of a garden|
One thing remains. A title. We have thought of the possibility of 'The Triumph of Nature Over Man', for finally so it ever was. Máté, as the artist, has his ideas. What of yours?
N.B. We are grateful to Jim of Parnassus for his assistance with the copyright of the first two images. These are, respectively, Richard Bryant and Lebrecht Music and Arts Library/Alamy.