I wrote about artist Mary Martin, and her sister Virginia Spiers' book Silver River on here a while ago....
"Virginia and her sister were brought up on a farm in the Tamar Valley (so really local as opposed to us incomers) and these pieces reflect the knowledge that comes from a true bond since childhood with the area and its traditions. It can be hard for newbies like us to know where the old orchards may have been, or how vital the flower trade was to the area's income, or quite how the flowers and fruit were sent up country, so these pieces also become a vital and informative record of that history...."
Silver River sits on the shelf next to another of the sisters' books Burcombes, Queenies and Colloggetts The Makings of a Cornish Orchard the book bursting with more of Mary's exquisite paintings alongside Virginia's narrative history of the fruit trees of the Tamar Valley. Many of the species in danger of becoming extinct have been rescued, grafted and revived by Mary and her partner James, and in case you were wondering, Colloggetts and Queenies are apples, Burcombes are cherries.
Tucked inside the book I was pleased to discover this postcard entitled Burcombe Harvest, along with the catalogue for the Spring Exhibition 1993 which might just be the last time we went.
Incidentally, are you a Tucker In Of Interesting Things into relevant books I wonder??
I do it all the time and am always so pleased that I have bothered because, as in this case, twenty years later, it is a neat little reminder of what I now remember was a really lovely event. Now of course I'm thinking we probably should have bought a painting then because the average price of a Mary Martin original now is nearer £2000 than £200.
'On rare sunny days last year fields of June grasses and expanses of golden corn gleamed and shimmered. Mary captures the essence of Summer in the Tamar Valley, where foxgloves, hawthorn and ferns thrive in the hedges. Her flamboyant paintings of campions, bluebell woods, orchards and daffodil fields contrast with those of tidal river and reed beds..'
The pictures were exhibited in Mary's home across on the opposite side of the valley to us, and we were delighted to have spotted the exhibition details in the local paper having obviously missed them since 1993. We parked in the field behind the house and walked down in suitable shoes (needed) as instructed and found eighty beautiful paintings hung around the house, which made for an intimate and immediate setting as you looked out of the windows and onto the Tamar Valley.
Only the first day after the preview but almost everything already sold and all I could think of was each fortunate person who would now have a slice of this glorious scenery in their home to enjoy.