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Morris men, a synagogue and Vagrant

Morris men, on my return to Plymouth I found my friend and fellow painter David Folley is busy with numerous large impressive portraits, some theatrical people, a couple of exotic female nudes and a series of paintings of Morris men.

He and his son Jack invited me to join them that evening in a pub at Stoke (Plymouth) to meet The Plymouth Morris Men who turned out to be quite a bunch of characters.

They were raising a modest fund and a glass or 2 for a park bench to commemorate one of their number deceased. Having seen Morris men in Kent and East Sussex in my boat building days it was apparent The Plymouth Morris Men were both traditional and different.

Innovations included their choice of hats, not cheap at £18.00 a throw they assured me, and a rather alarming  sword dance using naval cutlasses. One of their number is the chief “Fool” for all the GB Morris men, a sort of grand master of fools, an enviable title??? www.plymouthmorrismen.org.uk They in turn were fascinated by my descriptions of the detail and research in my marine painting “Trafalgar Dawn” and they asked if the could have a print (you can order a copy from http://www.frickers.co.uk/prints.html) to show when they make exhibitions of themselves, appropriately I agreed.

Yesterday was Rosh Hashanah which meant a visit to Plymouth’s historic synagogue, the oldest Ashkenazi English speaking “schule” in the world. Both the community and the building have many unique features, not least a board in the synagogue, black with gold lettering, proclaiming a prayer for the royal family (King George III), still read all be it for the present royal family. I’ve never seen anything like that in a church let alone a mosque; I found it rather touching. After the service all present including about a dozen Christian visitors were treated to a generous and tasty buffet followed by  learned discourse on Jewish life including questions and answers.

Today has been more mundane, shopping for treats for my friends in France and food the French don’t understand.

However, once again the Internet threw up a surprise.

I had an enquiry about my painting and more especially the print, “Vagrant off the Needles“.

An owner of a print who lives in London, wrote that it was signed both by myself and the then owner of the schooner “Vagrant” Peter de Savery.
The print owner asked a curious question but did not explain his interest,  if all prints are so signed.

Here is my reply:
> To the best of my knowledge, yes, all copies of this print were signed
> by both parties.
> The edition was issued by De Montfort Fine Art, from memory in late 1988.
> This was the first ever limited edition signed by Gordon Frickers.
> Peter kindly endorsed the copies with his signature as owner of
> “Vagrant”.
>
> We have only 2 copies left in stock.
>
> If you have not already found it page
> http://www.frickers.co.uk/marine-art/vagrant_needles.html and the link
> to “further reading” may be of interest.
> Any stories or facts you may have about “Vagrant” will certainly be of
> interest to us, we’d love to read them.
>
> You may be aware, other available prints from Gordon Frickers can be
> viewed on page http://www.frickers.co.uk/prints.html
>
> I am reliably told (I was there last week delivering 2 new paintings
> of the superyacht they currently have nearing completion at the yard)
> the original painting now hangs in the club house at Pendennis
> Shipyard Ltd, Falmouth, Cornwall.
>
> If I can help you in any other way, don’t hesitate to ask.

He responded in similar vein, “Many thanks for your prompt reply.

I may well be down in Falmouth later in the year, and may find time to
call in to the Pendennis Shipyard to view the original.

Our print of Vagrant has hung in our lounge for many years and still
brings pleasure to us and visitors.  There is always something else new
to find in the detail.

Happy painting.”

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