Alfred the Great

No burnt cakes here. I started drawing kings and queens about a year ago, from a reference book. My motive was not any love for royalty or the institution, but simply to try to learn the names and dates, which I never bothered to do before, although I did ‘A’ level history long ago. Inability to answer quiz questions was a much stronger motivation than exams.

I’d done all the ones from William the Conqueror onwards, but none of the earlier ones.

This was a fairly quick copy of a photograph of his statue in Wantage.

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Pablo Neruda

When we were in Chile last August-September we visited Neruda’s house in Santiago, la Chascona. A fascinating place, with stairways and gardens and collections of objects that appealed to him.

He was also a diplomat and politician.  The name was originally a pen name, derived from Jan Neruda, the Czech poet.  He was an advisor to Salvador Allende, and won the Nobel prize for Literature in 1971.

We saw another of his houses in Valparaíso, la Sebastiana – he certainly knew how to live!

I haven’t read much of his work. It’s on the to-do list, with a lot of other things.

A portrait and a church

The portrait of RLS is copied from a print of a painting by Girolamo Nerli (1860-1926) which is in the National Gallery of Scotland.

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The church is in a village called Wadenhoe, by the river Nene. It dates back to the thirteenth century and some parts are of Saxon origin.  The church is situated on a hill above the village and river.

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I like drawing churches because of the interesting shapes and irregularities, and because churchyards are usually very peaceful places to sit.