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An odd address and Art Therapy

The Exhibition (Exposition) of paintings by the Art Therapist, my friend Andre Lafargue at Pau has been and gone.
I’d have gone except the invitation arrived late.
The invitation was curiously addressed.

Gordon Frickers artiste – Peintre 81170 Itzac ~ yep that was it; nothing else and yet the letter (or should I say lettre?) arrived all be it eventually.

Andre Lafargue’s letter reminded my of some thing I read very recently about Horatio Nelson while researching Nelson’s time in the frigate Minerve, I was reading in a book by the noted poet Robert Southey (born 1774).
Robert Southey was also a reliable and versatile writer, including his “The life of Nelson”, first published in 1813.

The story goes, in the days before Horatio Nelson was world famous and not yet an Admiral, he established a formidable reputation at least in Italy, while a captain serving around Italy.
Southey wrote of Nelson, (page 92 in my copy) “A letter came to him directed “Horatio Nelson, Genoa:” and the writer when asked how he could direct it so vaguely, replied, “Sir, there is but one Horatio Nelson in the world”.

We know my art work is much undervalued so has huge investment potential, but a comparison with the rising star of Nelson? To much flattery!


Many of the books on Nelson either don’t mention his time on Minerve (some times wrongly refered to as La Minerve) or barely mention it.
And yet the Minerve voyage was a curtain raiser, Minerve lead directly to Nelson’s becoming a famous celebrity in Britain, a knighthood and appointment as Rear Admiral.
I was researching for an article I shall write soon for this blog and my web site about Horatio Nelson, how Nelson’s character is revealed when he sailed on the frigate Minerve, while in the Mediterranean under orders to evacuate British bases.

My new Minerve marine painting shows Nelson at Gibraltar, 10th December 1776 when he transferred from HMS Captain so a bargain!

You have 2 Nelson ships for the price of one!

Minerve as a marine painting has been created from a sketch I drew many years ago one evening over a beer at the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club where for many happy days my family and I were members.
At the suggestion of my friend Chris Boddington it has been adapted for this new work of art.
Adapting has been some what more complicated than I first expected.
Besides extensive re reading and consulting my mate Peter Goodwin on some aspects, I even visited by special arrangement, Her Majesty’s Hydrographic Office at Taunton (see this blog, November 2009) to see period charts and maps of Gibraltar bay.

I also found loads of faults and omissions (mostly very forgivable) in other artist’s paintings and am some what on my metal because I will have to show an unusual amount of rigging with most mind boggling accuracy, well at least it boggled my mind!

The Minerve painting is a continuation of my series, Nelson, Trafalgar, the less known but interesting aspects, originally commenced as a special commission to help raise funds for HMS Victory’s restoration to her Trafalgar condition ready for 2005.
In those days I had the unique honour of carrying a letter of introduction from the then commander of HMS Victory.
Wow did that open doors and archives, fascinating!

Some times research takes a much unexpected turn.
In the case of this painting, several including with regard to the colour of the yellow strip on Nelson’s ships.
My painting of Minerve may be, thanks especially to the research of Peter Goodwin, who you may know as curator of HMS Victory and author of may authoritive, factual  marine books,  the first ever to have the yellow exactly to Nelson’s ordered recipe / formula.
Peter Goodwin found a letter from Nelson specifying the mix and asked me to make some tests which I did, posting the results and notes to Peter.
One of the results is probably 98% of the paintings of Nelson’s ships have the wrong colour including my earlier efforts!
Don’t believe me? Compare for yourself!

That alone makes this new marine painting rather special does it not?

I intend showing this new marine art featuring Minerve and Captain to several galleries for their guidance and retaining it as one of the centre pieces of my forthcoming exhibition next year by invitation of the European Parliament.

Unless some one (again – I recently ‘lost’ Talybius this way…) makes me an offer I can’t refuse!