Wednesday 29 September 2010


A quick post today, as I want to curl up in bed with Wait for Me! As part of the Bloggers' Meet-Up, a few of us went around the Ashmolean (which, shamefully, I had not been to for almost six years). I headed straight for the paintings, because I've got to confess I'm not cultured enough to be all that interested in pots and things... but I do love art galleries.

This is probably my favourite painting on display:

I first encountered Stanley Spencer on the cover of Barbara Comyns' novel Who Was Changed and Who was Dead (see that image here), and he is now one of my favourite artists. I love the surreal domesticity he paints - similar to the sort of novels I love, in that respect. Since I know so little about art history, or art really, I can't explain what I love about this image - but I do love it, so thought I'd share it with you!


  1. I love the painting. You don't see many with cows featured. I've never read Comyns but what you said about her book has peaked my interest.

  2. I can see the appeal. The colours are lovely, the cows are eye-catching but just what in the heck are those babies doing in a cow field I wonder?

  3. And, could they be twins? I am wondering with Darlene what those babies are doing in the cow field, though.

  4. Simon, perhaps it echoes an early memory of your mother, keeping you and Col from wandering too far.

  5. I love these cows and all cows and their babies and the Mums with babies who are trying to make a run for it. Perhaps as Sherry says, they remind us of our Mothers. Cows are big and warm and milky and comforting and protective of their young. Why is it we all feel compelled to mooo at cows when we see them in a field? Perhaps because mooo is very close to Mom or Mum or Mummy or Mommy isn't it?

  6. Saw a Stanley Spencer exhibit at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco some years ago and was amazed by his work. I love how he used his own village as the back drop to biblical scenes. He's been one of my favorite artists ever since. Then I was delighted to find his work in the permanent collection at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston, Lancashire, UK (which is my home town) while on a trip to England visiting my family.
    Just finished reading "An Enchanted April". It was so charming and funny that I wanted to start from the beginning again.
    Lovely blog. Ta!

  7. I love Stanley Spencer as well and he's perfect for Comyns covers - hits the mood exactly

  8. Sherry - it sure does - ALWAYS off in opposite directions (unless holding each other's hand and hurtling towards a cliff edge) I am amazed, looking back, that I ever dared take them out anywhere until they were 10!!
    BTW the cows look more edgy than the mother!

  9. As the page loaded I saw the painting and wondered if you were going to talk about Comyns - I suppose by association since I must have read the same edition of Who Was Changed...but there is something about Spencer that says Comyns immediately, they complement each other. Wonderful painting.


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