The Garden Thief tells the story of an abundant English harvest, from which every morsel is gobbled up. No bush or tree is safe from greedy, sticky mouths, outstretched fingers, beaks, claws, paws. The creatures in these paintings scrump and suck their way through orchards and allotments, to then laze, swollen and sated beneath the shade of boughs oozing with fruits. They have feasted to excess; their eyes either gleam with frenzy or close in an ecstasy. Each heaving bough and branch is plucked, squeezed, nibbled and gleaned until the last remaining dribble of juice is licked up and the trees and bushes are bare.
The folklore of this time of year is brimming with plenty: juicy apples, gleaming blackberries, vast marrows, hazelnuts, cider and beer. Mischief reigns in the gluttonous cider season. But the plenitude does not last forever – ‘A Painting For Long Cold Nights’, a dark matchbox-painting, heralds what’s to come when the last of the autumn light has faded and winter draws closer. English folklore includes many traditions to keep the spirit of the harvest alive through the winter until next season: in Herefordshire and Somerset, the first and last of the cider is poured over the apple trees to encourage a good crop next autumn, and the widespread custom of making corn dollies is believed to preserve the spirit of the corn for another year.
Thursday 15 September
6 - 8pm
The Old Silk Barn