No, not today. It’s relentless fog and wet for the second day running, though as I type this, a bit of glare makes it look like the sun might be burning through.
This painting – ‘Evening Sky Over Church Street’ – was painted by Algernon Newton, an artist of the Royal Academy specialising in landscapes. He was born in 1880 – so he’d have remembered, say, the trials of Oscar Wilde – and lived until 1968, right through Beatlemania, Harold Wilson, and Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire.
He did a series of beautiful London landscapes in the 20s and 30s. I have no idea if this is my own Church Street, or another one; he did paint some North London scenes. Anyway, I love this Baroque-skied roofscape of, very plausibly, my own neighbourhood, or else one of a thousand like it. The clouds frame the cerulean heights in a way that makes you expect the angels – or at least for those baby clouds to be planes – but this was even before that, judging from Newton’s other Londonscapes. It’s so now-and-yet-not.
Algernon Newton was also, you’ll be very pleased to learn, the father of our very own Robert Newton, who played Long John Silver – arrr, aye, the rum-sauced knave what invented Poirrrate Talk, so ‘e did! Arr, an’ ‘e growed up in Cornwall, so the sea were in ‘im e’en if it warnt in ‘is farther, aye ‘oo ‘ad more o’ the turps than Turpins in ‘is veins, so I’ve ‘eard.
But let’s not swivel our heads right now. I wish I could find a bigger scan of this painting but alas this is the only one.
I think the little clouds look a bit like manatees.