Celebrating the Morris Dancers of Bampton

Last year my brother asked if I would like to paint some pictures for friend of his, who had some blank walls to fill in a bed and breakfast space above the local pub in the village of Bampton.

I’m not good at saying no to creative challenges – so I took on the idea, but wanted to learn more about the village and the spirit of the place. Although I have only visited a handful of times, this is an important place – it is the village my half-siblings were raised in.

The pub in question is called The Morris Clown – and for a great many years I have been teasing my brother about his involvement in waving handkerchiefs and tying bells to his legs as a local Morris Dancer. The village of Bampton in Oxfordshire is very famous for being the backdrop to the iconically British TV show Downton Abbey, but I wanted it to be just that – a backdrop.

I started by painting a series of eight landscapes of the village – St Mary’s church, West Ox Arts, the Library, the High Street. It is a very pretty place. I next started to create the Morris Dancers on top, masking off the scenes, so they could only be glimpsed through. The more dancers I painted – the more I wanted them to do much more than dance. So I had one contemplating or meditating on top of the memorial, another doing a handstand outside the church. I could have gone on for a long time, making Morris Dancers do more and more ridiculous things. But the brief had to stop somewhere.

If you would like to book a stay at the bed and breakfast, I am told the landlord is called Steve Mace and you can email him on morrisclown@sky.com for details.

If you would like to know more about the paintings – which are all for sale – drop me a line.

Caroline

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