The beggars are coming to town
Some in rags and some in jags
And one in a velvet gown
These ragged and jagged vagabonds, sometimes with music amongst them and likely missing a limb or a wit or two would approach the town walls where the dogs would put up a great howling. I like these peripheral peoples as you know and I like nursery rhymes, and so I painted them in this oil painting on a lovely knotted piece of burr walnut a few years ago now.
Scattered at the beggars' feet are coins, real coins, stuck to the surface of the painting. They are whisper-thin slivers of old Arabic money I think, with holes in the tops from where they adorned a jingle-jangling costume. I bought them in an antique place in London even more years ago and still have a few left to use in something else.
This is the painting I have chosen for the first in the series of original painting sales that I mentioned a while ago. These are now our last six weeks in this little Scottish cottage .. we have planned and hope to be off for good by the beginning of December, and of course there are a million and one things to do before then. The truck is looking just lovely and Tui is working like a man possessed to get it ready, making a cupboard a day almost! I am finishing off clock orders and other things, I have an animation to get finished as well and on top of all that there's a house full of stuff that we've to squeeze into a truck! Therefore .. things will have to go! We cannot hang all the paintings I have here on the wooden walls of the wheely home, and so I thought to have a wee sale, so that anybody who might feel inclined can snap them up. These sales will help us get on our way too... for though we nip out weekly to earn a penny or three in town, it is usually spent before we get home on the weekly wood and screws for more house building, a bag or two of groceries and a thimbleful of diesel. I am selling these at a lower price than I usually do for original oil paintings on wood so that perhaps someone who might not have been able to afford it before can do this time.
I have always loved this piece of walnut wood with its coggly greened edges, and I like the dark almost halloweenish atmosphere in the nursery rhyme edge-of-town scene. I hope that one of you might like it too and want to take this topsy turvy bunch of marginal folk into your home. And if you do like them and have three hundred English pounds** to spare ... follow me ...
And if another painting takes your fancy instead, then hold your horses, there'll be more going for a song in the next few weeks. Meanwhile we are running about like a couple of barefooted bees on hot coals as the autumn leaves turn red and fall into the puddles ...
* taken from The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes by Iona & Peter Opie .. which suggests other political inspirations behind the rhyme as well as this one, but I liked this one best!
** indeed American Dollars and all other currencies are just as welcome!