Every picture tells a story – these two prints are not valuable but both scenes fascinating. Nothing changes in some respect – many of us have an obsession with capturing every aspect of our lives on camera or mobile phone
The second one is called ‘The Fern Gatherers’ about which Wikepedia states ‘The collection of ferns drew enthusiasts from different social classes and it is said that even the farm labourer or miner could have a collection of British ferns which he had collected in the wild and a common interest sometimes brought people of very different social backgrounds together.’
The prints belonged to my grandfather who liked to go with grandma to junk shops looking for pictures on his afternoon off from working in the family’s fruiterers in Goodge Street in London called ‘Parkin and Sons’.
I think my grandparents appreciated art for its aesthetic quality but sometimes in grandpa’s case, to let his mind wander after a hard day at the shop.
He started at 4 a.m to go to Covent Garden to buy the fruit. I think our faithful van driver Stan might have collected him, but he certainly travelled back to Tufnell Park tube walking the length of Dartmouth Park Hill to our house.
He had served in the Great War, had been gassed and hospitalised and how he kept going I will never know. In summer he would go immediately into our modest garden to water his precious roses then to have a chat with his pet parrot ‘Polly’ who he insisted could sing ‘Roll out the Barrel’ . I wrote a piece about this for my memoir but am still working on it.
My grandfather’s afternoon off and, of course, the pictures must have been very important to him. One has to remember that there was no television and works or art brought different aspects of life into the sitting room.