“The Holywell; Newstead Abey”
pencil, pastel, and watercolor
2021 (Long Sold)
I know….not a typical subject or palette for me, but it was a commission. I recall being pleased with it on the morning when I finally finished it (there’d been a marked delay), and rather shocked (when I sat down that afternoon to write to the client) to read that he had suddenly died. Such are, obviously, the wages for those who shilly-shally.
Fortunately, another client bought it (for a raised price) the next morning. I decided not to draw any lessons or “moral” from the incident.
As for the subject? Amusingly enough, the ancient “Holywell” sits in the middle of a very posh golf course…..on land that was once part of Newstead Abbey….which was the enormous albatross hung around Lord Byron’s neck when he inherited the title from his great-uncle. the entire, huge joint was inherited, lost, bought, sold, lost again so many times that no one can recall how many ill-starred owners it’s had (although everyone recalls that Lord Byron did live there, briefly, for a while….before he went off to die in Greece).
His Newfoundland dog (the only creature Byron ever seems to have truly loved) also died there. The dog died by DROWNING in the lake…….which is not something Newfoundlands are supposed to do. That’s like hearing that a Labrador drowned, or a beagle was killed by rabbits.
Byron, broke as ever, nonetheless erected a large, very striking memorial to “Boatswain” (what a name for a hundred-pound dog who drowned). Then, he sailed off to die at Missolonghi.
These days, tourists still come to see the house and, sometimes, play golf. There’s nothing to memorialize Byron, his wife, any of his mistresses, his child, his mother….or anyone in the family. Just the damn dog. Isn’t that just SO English?
And, yes, primroses do, indeed, grow this luxuriously in England.