This is John Atkinson Grimshaw, a Victorian painter who’s having a well-deserved revival, in my life and in the wider world. My first husband and I had his Liverpool Quay by Moonlight on our dining room wall for many years. It received the curled lip from some of our more progressive friends – why have a Grimshaw when you could get a Barnett Newman for the same money? – but, whatever our other differences, Mr Graham was an art fogey just like me.
They say divorce is dead easy these days. I doubt it. Divorce is always horrible, not least the dividing up of twenty years’ worth of goods and chattels. I presume Mr G got the Atkinson Grimshaw. I must ask him when we meet at the next christening. That’s one of the good things that happens with the passage of time. When you’ve been divorced longer than you were married, when a new generation has been born, glueing you back together with regurgitated Farex, cordial relations can be resumed.
Anyway, Atkinson Grimshaw has re-entered my life because the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate currently has a show dedicated to him and as I’ll be in Harrogate next week, at the Summer Festival, I’ll get to see it. My trip to Harrogate is officially work but it will also be my summer holiday. Two nights in a comfortable hotel at someone else’s expense is not to be sneezed at. Plus a morning mooching round the Mercer, re-acquainting myself with Atkinson Grimshaw. Plus, joy of joys, a post-event stewards’ enquiry to be held in Betty’s Tea Rooms.
Old Peculier Fruit Cake. Lay it on me, Betty.