The straightforward soul of J.H. Pawle reaches out from his paintings, two of which are shown here. Not on this occasion has Third Man contrived a work on cricket, but wishes more to present the work of a cricketer – a elegant young batsman by repute.
It was perhaps that same straightforwardness which made Pawle, when captaining Harrow against Eton at Lord’s in 1934, declare his school’s second innings closed when seven runs short of his personal century.
He did so, that his side might have a chance, a very slim one, to win. Inevitably the match tailed off into a draw.
Wisden reported, “His 93 represented magnificent cricket, but even finer was the truly splendid spirit he showed in denying himself the coveted century because there still remained a chance – even a thin one – that Harrow might bring off a win.”
It was an even more splendid thing because, during the same fixture the year before, young Pawle had narrowly missed making three figures when dismissed for 96.
He went on to score prolifically for Cambridge but in 1937 Lord’s had in store for him another taxing examination of his pscyhe; he bagged a pair.
During those university years he also turned out a half a dozen times for Essex.
Pawle fought in destroyers during the Second World War and afterwards became a partner in a firm of stockbrokers. On retirement, he was able to concentrate on his painting, bringing to his work, Third Man likes to think, the same briskness, sureness and warmth he brought to the cricket field.
Could the work that tops this piece, called Cliffs and Sea, be Lulworth Cove? The second is of Finisterre which listeners to the shipping forecast will know is on the north-west coast of Spain.
Pawle reached that other Land’s End in 2010, nor should it surprise readers to know that his innings closed when he was 94.