“Nothing will come of nothing.”

So said King Lear in Shakespeare’s play of the same name. But something did come of nothing when, legend has it, Lear’s father, Prince Bladud, founded the City of Bath. One version of the story goes that the Prince caught leprosy and was banished from the court and forced to look after pigs. He noticed that the pigs also had a skin disease but when they wallowed in hot mud they were cured. Prince Bladud tried it and he too was cured, became King and founded the City of Bath.

Here he is in Bath with his pig:

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Later, in about 50AD, the Romans arrived and built a temple around which the town grew up and was known as Aquae Sulis – the waters of Sul. When the Romans left the Saxons took over and the town went from strength to strength eventually becoming a City.

If you have never been it is worth a visit and if you visit between the 24th May and 8th June you can visit the Fringe Festival venue at 1 and 2 Stall Street and see many works collected by the Charity Shop Art Appreciation Society.

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Hope springs eternal…

The Snowdrop or February’s Flower is a symbol of hope and this is how the story goes: Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden to a land of winter. When Eve was about to give in to a feeling that winter and the falling snow would never end an angel appeared. The angel blew on a snowflake and transformed it in to a snow flower and in doing so gave Eve, and the world, hope.

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This next picture is an arrangement of dried snowdrops in a pretty oval frame. It simply says “Real snowdrops from Derbyshire” on the back. Was it bought like this or were the snowdrops taken home by someone who then dried and mounted them? It set me back less than £1.

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A Nubian Maiden

I have to confess my next painting forced me to try and find out exactly what a Nubian Maiden was. Nubia was an ancient land which first came into existence about 3000BC. It is situated in the North East of Africa, along the Nile, and is now part of Northern Sudan and Southern Egypt. The Noba people were nomads but settled In the area in about the 4th century. Nubian women were known for their beauty and strength and quite a number became queens of Egypt. Here is a photograph of one.

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This next watercolour is by Bryan Mason with a sticker on the back that says “Nubian Maiden Copeland Statuette”. Could it have been a design for Copeland or did he like it enough to just paint it? Having done my research I don’t think it looks much like a Nubian Maiden but more like a Water Maiden of the Nile. In any case it only cost £2.50 and would look good on anybody’s wall.

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“And that sweet city with her dreaming spires”

So wrote Matthew Arnold in his poem Thyrsis when describing the City of Oxford and this description is usually accompanied by the view from Boars Hill below.

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Oxford is famous for its University which originated in the 12th century and is the oldest in the English speaking world. Situated about 60 miles from London at the confluence of the Rivers Thames and Cherwell it’s name means a ford suitable for oxen. It’s earliest mention is in the legend of St. Frideswide at the beginning of the 8th century. It was an important Saxon and then Norman town but the University soon dominated and does to this day.

This next print is entitled Moonlit Spires, Oxford. It is numbered 69/100 and is signed M. Rhys, 2000. I can’t find out anything about the artist but I do think this is a really beautiful little print.

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