Around 1830 the railway arrived in Gosport. It was a special line for the convenience of Her Majesty Queen Victoria who had a house on the Isle of Wight, Osborn House, to which she was inclined to visit on occasion, so a train from London direct to Gosport, for onward travel by ferry, was most advantageous.
Also quite handy for others in the area, whether frequenting the railway station, or just in need of refreshment, was The Railway Inn. It was built around 1830 and is of traditional design for the period. Sadly, or not, the licenced trade has not faired well in recent years, and in 2010 it closed and the building was sold.
It has been beautifully converted to a spacious dwelling, retaining many of the original features, and is now grade ll listed, in an area steeped in the history of the Royal Navy.
This was commissioned as a new home gift for the new owners – let’s hope it still has a well stocked bar.
One of my early commissions, three years ago, was ‘The Shed’. It was the new workshop of Karen of @karensquilts. All sorts of ‘additions’ appeared – Cheryl, the crow; Lance, the good knight; Treacle, the family’s late cat – and a strange dog who was who was, perhaps, a premonition of Arthur, the cockapoo. Karen has now moved to Devon, and for her special birthday, I was commissioned to draw her new home. This is the barn, The Old Granary. And Karen and Ray now have a real Arthur to keep them company.
This lovely house was ordered as a Christmas present to celebrate moving to a new home, but because of lockdown restrictions it wasn’t received until until the person’s birthday. So another happy customer, and I can post it for you all to see.
A tidy modern house, somewhere in central southern England, commissioned for a birthday. Unfortunately, the first picture not to arrive undamaged.
Not me! The glass was smashed when the new owner received it. I sent it to the commissioning buyer, and it arrived safely, but the damage occurred when she sent it on. Luckily the picture was undamaged.
… long, long ago, well that’s how it seems! We are unable to post pictures of our Christmas commissions yet, so how about a bit of history.
We first got serious about art and craft in 1994, when we took over a business running ceramic art classes – we called it ‘Studio Minerva’. The shop was built in the mid 1800s and has been used for all sorts of trades.
The picture on the left dates from 1870, the one on the right slightly later. Unfortunately we closed the business in 1999, because trade was not flourishing – and now, ironically, the shop is a financial advisor, ‘Assured Private Wealth’.
But we loved our time there, made many friends, learned loads about ceramics, glazes, kilns, and customers, so thought it fitting to do a caricature of the old place. It hasn’t changed too much in over 100 years. The houses to the left are now replaced by the Co-op.
Last year I was fortunate to be asked to illustrate a book of humorous poetry, so I did. As an illustrator my job is fairly straightforward – read the poem, draw the picture. The difficult bit is with the writer.
The author of these chuckle-worthy gems is Dianne Phillips-Zito, she lives in a rather bleak and remote part of Western Australia, so she needs a sense of humour to start with. She then has to produce the poetry – not the rambling formless excuse for bad prose – but proper poetry, that rhymes and has metre. And she has to produce sufficient to fill a book – and it has to make the reader smile.
For those who have never tried, laying out the pages of a book to look attractive, as well as being the well ordered vehicle for the poems, is another work of art. And getting the whole shebang through the printing and publishing system needs the patience of Job.
It was a long time from idea to book shelf, but she has done it and “From Bad to Verse” is available from various publishers as well as Amazon Books. It is too late for Christmas, but buy a copy anyway, because you deserve to have your spirits lifted – and 2021 is the time to do it – because the cartoons are brill, even if I say so myself! A triumph of trans-global corroboration.
Dianne also writes horror/dark short stories, published in the UK and USA, under the pen name Anna Harris.
Last year I was asked to draw a family house that held memories for three generations of one family. It was to be a Christmas present, but because the recipient was poorly I was asked to bring it forward as a birthday present instead.
A few days ago, the lady who commissioned it contacted me to tell me that her mother had sadly passed over and the picture was now back with her again. It had been her mother’s favourite present last year, and now her daughter had inherited the picture and she, too, would continue to enjoy the memories it brings.
So, as much as I enjoy creating caricatures of houses, it is satisfying to know how much joy it brings to the new owners. I hope she enjoys it, and how great would it be if she passed it on to her children in years to come.
Contact me to arrange your future family heirloom.
There are records dating back to 1650 for this Devon cottage. The modern extension is what used to be ‘the stick store’, presumably where firewood was stored, now kitchen/diner with bedroom and balcony above. It is also recorded as being the place where ‘the pauper in the stick store’ resided, according to census records. Apparently, as a family home the younger couple and their children occupied the main house – and grandma was relegated to the stick store.
And now my wife and I call it home.
If your home would like the attention it deserves, or you would like to give a unique and personal gift, contact me for further details.
Image is drawn with dip pen and acrylic ink, enhanced with graphite pencil shading. A4 size.