12 Jan 2017

The Duke’s Graves.

The Pierrepont and Manvers graves, Perlethorpe Church, Thoresby Estate.

I’m not a Christian, and never really was, even though as a 1950’s child I was christened and Confirmed at the appropriate ages. Hence my initial links with the above location. An extract from my personal journal will explain:

“An integral part of a Church of England village education were the Sunday school classes, for a short while conducted by my mum herself, and subsequent Confirmation classes. The big attraction of Sunday school for me was simply collecting the exquisitely illustrated attendance stamps, no doubt an early pictorial influence. I never really understood any of the Confirmation classes conducted in the vicarage but, whilst waiting for the vicar Mr Barton to come downstairs, I could look around at the veritable treasure trove of souvenirs his travels had brought him from as far afield as Newfoundland which cluttered his room.”

So what brought me back to this location a few years ago is nothing to do with spiritual beliefs, although I do confess the surrounding area (with which I am very familiar), does offer a kind of sanctuary when life goes off kilter and a solitary stroll with one’s thoughts might be the remedy.

What actually brought me back here was my deepening interest in the history of the Dukeries and the Dukes who presided over them. Over time I have made several on-location sketches of this aspect of the churchyard, with the Pierrepont / Manvers graves in the foreground. In December (2016) I thought it time to look through these resources and make a final painting.

My intention was to studiously avoid all sense of Gothic gloom or melodrama. This is a very peaceful, quiet place. The sunlight really does stream across from the South like that. The ducal gravestones adhere to a well-planned formation which must have been conceived centuries ago. A real sense of pride in their accomplishments lingers here, even though the subjects are long since gone. The most recent stone is that of Lady Manvers (third from right), her husband having been buried on that spot in 1955, she in 1984.

Painting is oil on canvas, 40cm x 50cm.

More information about Thoresby, Perlethorpe and the Dukeries can be found on THIS LINK.
More information about Lady Manvers on THIS LINK and THIS LINK.