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Marine Painting, Print News and a French tot

A new marine print from the Marine Painting of Virgin Atlantic Challenger II (visit page http://www.frickers.co.uk/marine-art/virgin_atlantic_ii.html) has gone into production with my excellent printer at Adaptgraphics, Plymouth.Virgin1.jpg

Also in the news is the beautiful classic print of “The Port of Chester 1863” (visit page http://www.frickers.co.uk/marine-art/chester.html).

Slight problem re marine print of  the Virgin Atlantic Challenger II.

The gentleman has not left his name, phone number or address  and has not responded to email…

Not to worry, he kindly paid and it will take a few more weeks to proof and prepare this great  and now historic picture.

I doubt we will sell many copies (thus it will remain very rare) however we have had other enquiries about this remarkable picture.

The scene shows the moment at the Wolf Rock lighthouse, Isles of Scilly as Virgin Atlantic Challenger II (Richard Branson and Chay Blyth‘s  second attempt with his second boat) completed what was at the time the fastest powered crossing of the Atlantic.

Both these personalities are clearly recognisable in the painting.

At the invitation of Radio Cornwall I worked from the press boat.

As we waited the anticipated arrival, the weather deteriorated, the sea rose and drizzle set in.

Several of the fleet street photographer’s suffered camera malfunctions due to the damp.

I was fortunate to take the only colour pictures and made a sketch while the memorey was fresh as our boat rolled and pitched her way back to St Mary’s.

Later, at the request of the National Maritime Museum Greenwich, I gave them a set of the photos.

Meanwhile, sitting at the back of the subsequent press conference I turned the sketch into a water colour and was lucky to have all the crew sign the back of the art work before they dispersed.

You can if you wish see this unique marine watercolour on page


More highly finished Marine Paintings can be seen on most of the other marine pages of www.frickers.co.uk.

Some of the marine prints are signed by famous sailors, notably Sir Robin Knox-Jonhston on the famous picture  “Roaring FortiesD1903_Roaring_Forties_16.03.05.gif


and Tracy Edwards, “Ice Maiden“, a beautiful quality print, last few still available see page Ice_Maiden_06.03.10_IMG_6982_d.jpg


but none are signed by an entire crew except this Virgin Atlantic Challenger II watercolour.

In the year 1933, Geoffrey Hales commissioned and donated a trophy.

To Richard Branson’s disappointment, this trophy was denied to Richard Branson and his Virgin Atlantic Challenge II team on the grounds it was intended for commercial ships thus it remained with the mighty  SS United States.

Branson eventually bought the original painting after asking me to bring it to London for him to see.

My asking price was a modest £500.00

Skilled negotiator that he is he argued the price down to within £10.00 of me walking out.

Fortunately he is my only client who has negotiated like that.

Actually I consider I have been very fortunate with my clients and in the process have had the privilege of meeting some very remarkable people some of who have become friends.

It helped in those early days of my career to have sold to such a high profile person but I have never heard from him since, not even a thank you for a unique and splendid painting of an achievement he, his family and his team  can be proud of.



Moving on to happier subjects, a much appreciated painting, The Port of Chester 1863 refuses to be forgotten.Chester__painting___GF_with__Mayor_and_Mayoress_Randell.JPG

A rather younger Gordon Frickers is shown here with John Rundle then Mayor of Chester and the painting which Chester considered sufficiently important to give a civic reception which 400 guests attended and at which we sold 90 framed prints.

You can discover this remarkable story and art work on page


and via the attached further reading, it is quite a story

While the Duke of Westminster declined a chance to buy the original it did eventually go to a good home for a healthy 4 figure price and is appreciated.

The Port of Chester 1863 has been my best selling print and copies still sell.

Today The Port of Chester 1863 has been on my agenda twice.

I have a very appreciative email from a client who has just received his remarqued copy purchased from this site.

Also, a previous client who runs a PR agency phoned to ask if I was interested in painting a commercial ship.

I’d be delighted to work on the proposed subject, commercial shipping is a speciality of mine, the more modern the better although followers of this blog will recall the older subject, the recent painting of the Blue Funnel Steamer Talthybius, first blogged on 03/02/10 and sold within a month.

I have one Blue Funnel steamer painting left, Agapenor, and am planning 2 more for later this year.

This proposed new commission, if it materialises will be wonderful and an appropriate retirement gift to a company director; knocks spots off a gold watch!


Meanwhile I am putting in as many hours as I can on a series of new paintings.

I have the rare pleasure of the studio to myself, well almost, I have 2 cats to catsit, more very soon on the new paintings including pop up pics of the progress.

The light has been excellent for painting for the past few days here in the Tarn.

Today we finally lost the cold weather, the day felt like an English summer, fresh and warm.

This evening I went shopping in ancient Cordes, a lovely drive just before dusk.

I am told Cordes which receives 1 million visitors a year ( maybe not exactly 1 million), is a good place for an artist to register as living in France.

The town has a long association with artists and they vote.

France is of course renowned for it’s often frustrating bureaucracy;

Many town halls have the revolutionary slogan Libertie, Egallitie, Fraternitie over their entrance, to which people sometimes mutter as they enter, et Bureaucracie…

There is some good news though.

Much of France’s red tape is to go online thus reducing the queues and frustration at the marie.

Planning permissions, health forms, customs and tax,  and driving documents will be included while sites will be reduced from some 400 to 10 for individuals and 10 for businesses.

France intends to reduce the number of passwords needed, redesign public sites to be instantly recognisable (so what are they now , don’t ask!), allow online payments, have guaranteed response times for emails, and allow users to evaluate their experience.

Now that will be a French revolution!

If it is all to much try an Armagnac.

I discovered Armagnac by accident while working on a series I call Famous Wine Villages of France, now in the archive section of www.frickers.co.uk, some of which you can review from page http://www.frickers.co.uk/archive/wine.html

That series was painted partly in conjunction with selected French wine producers of Bordeaux.

Should I follow that work up and maybe include Armagnac and Cognac?

During the bleakest part of my life I found a tot of Armagnac worked wonders on the nerves before bed time or after a bad dream.

As far back as 1310 A.D. no less an authority than The Vatican extolled the virtues of Armagnac for conserving one’s health.

Dufor wrote “This water, if taken medically and soberly is said to have 40 virtues.
It enlivens the spirit, if taken in moderation, recalls the past to memory, renders men joyous, preserves youth and delays senility

He did also add a warning, that Armagnac “loosens the tongue and emboldens the wit“.

This smooth and illustrious liqueur is France’s oldest spirit (drink).

Armagnac has been in the news here partly because it is loosing market share which is a loss for us all.

The plan is to bring it to the attention of the 35 to 50 age group as an all round drink.

I’d drink to that, in my significant but limited experience Armagnac is one of the most enjoyable and versatile liqueurs going down well solo or with a wide range of foods.

I also found taken in moderation it stopped cold bugs dead when days of paracetamol left me still suffering and Armagnac tastes on my palette far better than anything the pharmacists have ever given me!

The taste of this less known fire water is similar to Cognac or other good French brandy but smoother, more kindly although none the less strong.

While you won’t find an Armagnac that is 700 years old, not even here in the heartland of Midi Pyrenees and Gascony,  Armagnac is seriously older than Cognac which developed in the 16th century.

Now it is late here and you have talked me into having a tot as I retire.