Friday 27th March 2020

WARWICK LEADLAY GALLERY IN EXILE

 

It is most disconcerting to find yourself cast adrift from your moorings and ending up in stranded isolation on an island all to yourself. But, in these very strange times, once you have got over the initial surprise of being landed on a different shore, you just have to get on with it. Taking inspiration from those intrepid souls who have trod this path before, the first thing to do was make these new surroundings fit for habitation.

Some form of shelter or camp was in order.  Alas, the arboreal conditions did not quite offer enough scope for a tree house in the Swiss manner; and the jagged walls of the cave proved to be damp and quite unsuitable for hanging pictures.

Further exploration soon located a better billet, an elevated vantage point quite out of the wind and well sheltered from the rain. Here, it was time to take stock and set up our stall with such stuff as was to hand.

By great good fortune, it had proved possible just before the disaster struck to retrieve a few vital essentials: a handful of props with which to conduct business as unusual. The BATTLE-SCARRED BANNER would serve as a makeshift fascia board, and the figurehead of the ADMIRAL, tipping the wink, as the emblem of our trade. Gillray’s celebrated engraving of PITT and BONEY at table seemed to be an apt metaphor for these uncertain times, as presently the PLUM-PUDDING is in very great danger indeed. However it was essential that they were counter-balanced by optimism. This was perfectly achieved with a slightly cracked allegorical pottery figure of HOPE, gazing heavenward and steadfastly supporting her anchor: the ideal household goddess to steer us into calmer waters ahead.

Admittedly, there isn’t much in the way of wittles, but we take great comfort that at least there is something to DRINK.

Having fashioned these bare bones into some semblance of familiarity, the realisation swiftly dawned that there wasn’t any stock. Never fear! There is plenty of time to embark upon a treasure hunt in search of objets trouvés. Casting a weather eye around suggests there is a strong likelihood that the ensuing weeks may yet reveal a rich trove of flotsam and jetsam.

It remains to be seen what will wash up on these shores with the next turn of the tide, but if you keep your spyglass set in this direction you may well find out.

Despite it being Friday, there is not a footprint in sight.

And, alas, no sign yet of a gramophone...

 

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