The chalk drawing of W.G. Grace by Albert Chevallier Tayler in the previous post will have reminded many of the artist’s much treasured* painting of Colin Blythe bowling in the Kent v Lancashire match of 1906 reproduced above.**
The artist reveals his cricketer’s mind by selecting the precise moment before Blythe’s right foot touches the ground.
Tayler has stopped time to convey movement, and, over a hundred years after he laid down his brush, you still wait with eager anticipation for the action to restart, the bowler’s canvas boot to make its twisting contact with the Canterbury soil, the arm to scribe its perfect arc, the ball to leave the hand with buzzing seam, to travel tantalizingly through the air before dipping steeply, striking the turf and rearing with turn and bounce, to ask its question of batsman Tyldesley.
It is more poignant still. Sergeant Blyth, who as an epileptic need not have served in the First World War, amid a later stride, was killed by random shell-fire on the railway between Pimmern and Forest Hall near Passchendale on 8 November 1917
“For me,” wrote Bresson, “the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously.”
“Questions and decides simultaneously” sounds exactly like the DRS.
* Kent sold the painting in 2006 for £860,000 to Andrew Brownsword – see other less celebrated work owned by Brownsword in a DATM post here.
**The figures depicted are from the left to the right: Humphreys at silly mid-on; Dillon in the distance in front of the sightscreen; non-striking batsman Findlay; umpire Atfield; bowler Blythe; batsman on strike Tyldesley; Blaker at mid-off; wicketkeeper Huish; Hutchings on the boundary at deep extra cover; Marsham at cover; Fielder at silly point; Mason at first slip; Burnup at point; Seymour at gully.