A Collector Is Born

The Cotswold palette is still predominantly green, but the big bingo dabber in the sky has added great orbs of lemon rust and green gold. Leaves are falling and for the last few weeks I’ve wondered if the autumn colours have peaked. The scenery has changed less dramatically week by week than it seemed to in the spring and summer, but I suspect I’ll show up one weekend soon to find the desolation of bare branches and darkness (the clocks went back today). Just before dusk, rays of sunlight broke through the canopy of gray turning the blobs of fall colour into glimmering, quaking masses.

It looked just like a picture husband bought last fall, a watercolour scene of a lone huntsman, and husband’s first foray into art collecting. I suspect his purchase from a local gallery was as motivated by a desire to be accepted within his new community as it was by the object itself. I was condescending about his selection to start. It’s a stereotypical scene: huntsman, lone fox, and a dry stone wall.

Other than scratching their noses and feeding them apples, husband and I are about as far away from horse people as you can get. Buying this picture struck me at best as disingenuous, at worst embarrassingly obvious—something Tony Soprano might pick if he uprooted his family from New Jersey to Gloucestershire. Husband prevailed in the face of my self-consciousness. Not only did he buy the hunt scene, a few weeks later he bought a Cecil Aldin etching, the exterior of a rural pub framed on the left by a gnarled old oak, at another local gallery. At this rate of spend, I no longer needed to feel sheepish about the amount of free wine we were quaffing at these monthly openings. And the huntsman, now standing watch over our bed, has grown on me over the months too. I thought about transplanting the Gilbert and George print from our London flat for this spot, but thought better of it. Irony just doesn’t go with ticking stripe and gingham.

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