Somnambulant Speculations en Plein Air

“Bedford is waiting to welcome you,”  proudly claims this historic village tucked up against the Kaggaberg mountain in the Winterberg range of the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

“A vibrant country district famous for its garden festival fun-loving farmers and fabulous hospitality.”

See how those farms stretch across the grasslands up into the dramatic Mankazana, Cowie and Baviaans River valleys.

“Bird watching, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, tennis, bowls and bridge are among the local activities we invite you to join … Huge skies, fresh air, friendly people and overwhelming natural beauty …”

Surely Foley dropped by in his time.

Down in the village is the Recreation Ground.  Here’s a closer view to help fill in the details.


Can you spy the cricketers?

Perhaps this photograph of the Bedford side of the 1880s will help feed the imagination – not a one clean shaven, but all as dapper as a Crown Prince visiting his mother.

It is never easy to follow the internal journeying of old Third Man. No wonder the Squire suspects it may soon be time to put him down like a faithful Pointer dragging some cancerous growth to the final fireside.

But all is revealed below in the pigments pushed across the parchment by Camille Pissarro at Hampton Court, London in 1890. 

Those quickly sketched players with their toppers?   Surely they’re a touring party from Bedford, enjoying the occasion and challenging the Mother Country to a game of cricket.

Can you spot a Graeme or a Peter?  There’s sure to be a Pollock, red hair peeking from under his hat?

“Wake up, Third Man.  You’ve gone to sleep in the sun.”



Filed under Light roller

3 responses to “Somnambulant Speculations en Plein Air

  1. diogenes

    that is a gorgeous picture…I am trying to picture Pisarro at a cricket match and failing. He nlived at Sydenham or Norwood(?) so he could have seen PG Wodehouse at play at the Dulwich College Ground? It is a lovely picture…do you know where it now hangs?

  2. It took some tracking down Diogenes. TM thought it was in the Green Drawing Room. It is such a favourite of the Squire’s. Beattie had broken the glass when dusting it. Taken to the workshop for repair it had been quite forgotten.

    There again, one quite like it was auctioned by Christie’s in February 2005, realizing £72,000.

    Of their watercolour and pencil measuring 7 1/8th by 10 inch they said:
    Thos. Agnew & Sons Ltd., London (no. 41547).
    JPL Fine Arts, London (no. PIS/0008/0084).
    Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 10 May 1989, lot 112.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
    Pre-Lot Text
    From the London Residence of the Late Sir Paul Getty, K.B.E.
    London, Malborough Fine Arts, Pissarro in England, June – July 1968, no. 40.

    Was it three or was it four – counting the score?

    There seems some confusion over the number of times Pissarro lived in London. Perhaps some regard the final time as a prolonged visit.

    Camille Pissarro took shelter from the Franco-Prussian War in Upper Norwood in 1870; returned in 1890 when during May or June he painted this watercolour; was in Gloucester Terrace, Kew in 1892, when he painted a cricket match on Kew Green, but then came rushing across La Manche once more when his son, living in 62, Bath Rd, Bedford Park, suffered a stroke in 1897.

    On this occasion CP was tied to the convalescent home and painted from windows and a balconied flat roof – Cricket Match at Bedford Park and Cricket at Bedford Park (the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, Cairo).

    “But there’s more,” as Jimmy Cricket once reminded Third Man when they were patrolling the covers together in a charity match …

    TM hopes to be able to show CP painting a Match de Cricket à Bedford Park, Londres, from his ‘balconied flat roof’ in Bedford Park – all in good time.

  3. diogenes

    Have you thought about contacting the Courtauld Institute?

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