Frances Winder’s view of Higham

One of the source photographs taken by Frances which she used back in her studio when she was painting the second painting.

One of our most popular art Tutors, Frances Winder, has donated a painting of Higham to the college. The classic view of the house is from the perspective seen looking from over the wild meadow strip to the front of the grounds. The scarlet of the poppies (and dare I say the blue of the cornflowers… although please feel free to correct me) therein contrast with the tones of the stonework and the greens of the groundcover.

The classic view of the house is from the perspective seen looking from over the wild meadow strip to the front of the grounds. The scarlet of the poppies (and dare I say the blue of the cornflowers… although please feel free to correct me) therein contrast with the tones of the stonework and the greens of the ground-cover.

I am going to tease you and only show you one of the source photographs that Frances used. To view the actual final painting, you’ll have to visit Higham! Ooh, I am awful… but see below.

There is an extra little twist to the story of this painting though, because Frances had originally painted another one for us and it went missing from her studio. Rather than simply use that as a perfectly valid get out clause, Frances painted a second picture for us, which is the one we now have. Ever the optimist, Frances reckons that at least someone thought her original painting was good enough to nick!

A detail taken from the original painting that has gone missing.

A detail taken from the original painting that has gone missing.

We do actually have a print of the original painting, showing us how it differs ever so slightly from the second painting. One difference is that the trompe-l’oiel gable window (the right hand of the upper windows looking out over the cedar tree aspect of the garden) is obscured in the second painting, whereas in the original it was made visible. A detail from the first painting is shown here – if you see one like this, with both the upper gable windowd visible (unlike the source photograph above) then you might be looking at the half-inched one. Even from this, it is clear how the character of the building has been captured so effectively. An artist’s ability to encapsulate their subject is something that should not be underestimated. The fact that Frances, the artist, has had a long term relationship with Higham and its grounds helps to make this painting even more authentic and meaningful.

Those of you who know Frances’ work may be able to relate elements within the detail to some of her styles, but, it has to be said, an artist like Frances can be a bit of a chameleon and has the skill to vary her style accordingly.

Frances has actually announced her retirement from teaching at Higham from next March. We will be so sorry to let her go, as her courses fill up instantly (as many of you already will know.). I have always joked that she is one of those Tutors who people would sign up for even if her course were simply titled “ANOTHER FRANCES WINDER COURSE” and that is true. She has an enviable following of devotees, and merits such a thing as, apart from being such a truly inspiring and skilful artist, Frances is such a delightful person to know and to learn from.

Anyway, a little piece of Frances will now forever remain at Higham Hall. Those who have enjoyed her courses will take what they have absorbed from her and continue to enrich their lives by seeing the world the way Frances showed them to.

The painting, along with a couple more of Frances’ works will remain proudly on display here at Higham for when you next come!

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