early captive

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My parents took the family on a day trip to London, to the Tate gallery.   At 7 yrs I was not well equipped to appreciate the treasures on display.   Mum and Dad seemed to spend ages looking at dull boring pictures of clouds (Turner).   I asked permission to explore the galleries at my own pace and was allowed to wander off.   I walked briskly,   errr ran,  around the building capturing impressions browsing for literally seconds at vaguely interesting paintings that I’ve long since forgotten.  

Then.   I turned the corner of a gallery to be confronted by the death of Chatterton.  

His vibrant orange hair glowing,   his purple velvet breaches full of warm lively texture in the daylight.   The torn paper on the floor.   His face white as marble.   Clearly dead.   I was captivated,   I stood studying the painting for what seemed, to a 7 year old, like eons.   I fell intrigued.   Who was this beautiful man?   Why was anyone that beautiful, dead before being old and wrinkly?  

He became my first love.   He was a local Bristol boy,   I was a local Bristol girl.   Later I read Peter Ackroyd’s book ‘Chatterton’ and wondered whether his death was an accident or deliberate. I visit St. Mary’s Redcliffe  occassionally,   the place where Chatterton reportedly discovered the manuscripts on which he forged his texts.   He has remained young, beautful, and with my thoughts.  

From AElla

O! Synge untoe mie roundelaie,
O! droppe the brynie teare wythe mee,
Daunce ne moe atte hallie daie,
Lycke a reynynge ryver bee;

Mie love ys dedde,
Gon to hys death-bedde,
Al under the wyllowe tree.

early captive
rate wendys scribble

4 bits of lovely banter on “early captive”

  1. Morton Shadow writes:

    Chatterton dead? I didn’t even know he’d been ill Wend…

    😉

    xxx
    Mort

       0 likes

    [reply]

  2. Madame Defarge writes:

    I recall a similar experience when taken to the Kelvingrove Art Galleries in Glasgow, but for me, it was seeing Salvador Dali, Christ of St. John on the Cross. Wonderful stuff.

       0 likes

    [reply]

  3. Rob writes:

    I wake up to a print of this every morning.

    We have one in the bedroom. It is Mrs Rob’s favourite painting.

       0 likes

    [reply]

  4. Oranjepan writes:

    I mourn for the loss of every flame-haired prophet

       0 likes

    [reply]

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