Wednesday, December 26, 2012


This picture is a puzzle - not in terms of its identity (it's the railway bridge between Wetheral and Corby, in Cumbria, painted by my father in 1957), but in terms of its weird perspective - it's hard to work out what the stable viewpoint must have been.  Or maybe the scale is strange.  I don't think of my father as ever having been less than mathematically exact and perfect about things like perspective (he did, after all, design the house I'm sitting in right now, and the walls seem to have gone up in the correct proportion and the roof fits quite well.  This bridge may not be Rain Steam and Speed, but it has its great points - the signals; the delicacy of the white iron railings.  But something about it just doesn't work.  Curiously, I think it must have been rehabilitated from up in the loft or from under the stairs very recently - I've not seen it for decades - and although I thought I remembered it perfectly well, I don't recollect it in its flawed state (indeed, I remember the painting as having been done from a quite different, much lower angle - which probably means that I was remembering the bridge itself).  Visual memory, in other words, is once again proven to be highly fallible.

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