Thursday, 3 May 2012

Harry Potter in the Hobbit Shires

Although my career in the Royal Air Force took me all over the world for 20+ years, my home base was usually in Wiltshire. In fact my kids still think of Wiltshire as their home county. When I left the Air Force to become an artist, we moved back to Wiltshire for six years

Wiltshire folk are mostly good solid farming stock. After all, this is the Hobbit shire!!

They tend to push the image of themselves as, "Wiltshire born and Wiltshire bred
strong in arm, and thick in 'ead".

They often talk in letters rather than words. For example,  for,"I have just arrived with the hay..." they might say,  "I B 'ere we the A, I B"

They love to think of themselves as Moonrakers, that is too say they hide their shrewd sharp intelligence behind a slow, straw-in-the-mouth, rambling accent. It seems that one moonlit night they were out smuggling brandy when they were ambushed by customs officers. They threw the barrels into the village pond, and to hide the ripples and bubbles they kept stirring the pond with hay rakes. When they were challenged by the customs officers, they explained that they were trying to rake the moon's reflection off the pond to stop it harming the water.... Moon rakers!

A lot of people know Wiltshire for the tragic scenes which flashed around the world, of events in the village of Wootton Bassett. Here the streets are lined  for every single Service Person who's body is repatriated from Afghanistan. The bereaved  families are taken into the bosom of the village and supported as the funeral passes through, en route from my old home base to Oxford. Despite the weather, not one serviceman who died in Afghanistan or Iraq has not been greeted by streets packed with people dressed up in their Sunday Best. My kids went to school here. I nice place to go to school!

But most of you will have seen the village of Lacock, although you might not know that you have. They have a scarecrow contest every year, but that's not what they are famous for! Lacock have been used as a Film and TV set since the 1950s. Early Robin Hood films were made here: Emma,  Pride and Prejudice and The Woman in Black, not to mention WarhorseLacock was also used for the TV series Cranford. ...  and.... Lacock was used for Harry Potter films.

 Click on Pictures for best results
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The High Street, Lacock, Wiltshire, England
Pen & Ink  12" x 9"   John Simlett

The village of Lacock was five miles from where we lived, and next to the Bowood Estate of Lord Shelbourne. It was in the Estate shop that I sold prints of my Lacock pictures. Once again I had used my secret weapon, Pat, to get my prints into the shop. No good being married to an ex-actress if you don't let her chat-up the aristocracy - and she did!

"The Sign of the Angel," the Village Pub.
 Lacock, Wiltshire, England
Pen & Ink  12" x 9" John Simlett
I did a few others, but I haven't got the pictures on this machine. But this gives you the flavour of the place.

17 comments:

  1. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

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  2. Hi John--Thanks for the follow! I've been checking out your site here and wow. These old structures are so engaging. I think the balance of black and white is nice in your work. It's probably better to be a tad lighter in a pen and ink piece than darker, since the fill-in tendency is great especially upon size reduction. It's so disheartening watching all the careful lace-like delicacy disappear into black blobs. Anyway, your drawings are inspiring me to get off my keester and get on with some new pieces. All the best.

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    1. Hello Bill - Welcome to my humble blog, and thank you for your kind comments. Size reduction is the bane of my life.

      There are so many blogs and artists inspiring me at the moment, that I'm like a dog with nine tails.
      Cheers.

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  3. Excellent Drawing. Excellent post on your spot on our planet--very inviting. Lucky you for having a loving agent in your household to wave your banner and hawk your prints to local merchants. It's a great idea. Tell us more: Limited editions? Or a more lucrative number sold for less? Who's your printer? What kind of paper? How much? What do you do with the originals? Hungry artists want to know all. Meanwhile take a look at this guy's pencil portraits: very skilled. http://eugenioretratos.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks, Linda. We no longer live in Wiltshire, we live in the North now, in Yorkshire.

      I'll start start relating what I do with my stuff if you think that's what's needed - I just don't want to sound a know-all though.

      One hour ago I signed up as a follower of his ... saw your smiling face in there! He's inspiring me to have a go at that sort of stuff.

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    2. I knew you guys would get along.

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    3. You're a star player, ma'am.

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  4. John your pictures are unbelievably awesome and your stories sheer delight to read! So glad you started blogging and I ran into you! I also love your comments on my blog! Thanks so much. Loved the Churchill quote!

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. I'm glad you enjoyed it :0)

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  5. John, how fortunate you were to have lived in the land of the Hobbit and "Pride and Prejudice"! Your drawings of that lovely county are magnificent.

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  6. You always have such fascinating stories to share! And the drawings really make me want to visit one day :0)
    They look absolutely wonderful in their frames! :0)

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  7. Nice to see you Sandra. Old men exist on yesterday's adventures ...over and over again :0) Glad you like the pictures :0)

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  8. Beautiful drawings and an interesting story, John! That slideshow at the top of your blog is fenomenal! Can't stop looking at it!

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    1. Thanks Judy - I'm glad the slideshow works it took me ages to work out how to do it!

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  9. Wonderful stories as always, John!! and of course, the drawings are amazing!!!

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