Art in the Cocklecroft Towers, Part Four

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money”

Samuel Johnson

In the comments on Part 2, I was truly saddened to see Tachy, one of the foremost  intellects on this site, ally with Old Git in the basement micro-forensic article dissection department.

Tachy reasonably, at first blush, opined that, contrary to my statement, the Frank Gresley 1855 picture of the thieving Poor Palatine’s could not possibly have been painted by him.

A very grave allegation to have levelled at you in the Art world, as Reggie and Old Cunty will tell you from their own experiences’.

Mr Justice Cocklecarrot, Going Postal
© Mr Justice Cocklecarrot 2020

Tachy’s core accusation was that Gresley must have been even more prodigiously gifted than Mozart if he managed to paint it in the year of his birth!

Now, we all recall from Mr Corpe’s English lessons, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

Moreover, sarcasm is not proof of anything, as the many barrack-room lawyers here might know.

Suffice it to say, I have painstakingly re-examined all the available evidence again and again until my head hurt.

My conclusions are these:

  1. Yes, I admit, prima facie, it is extremely improbable that Frank Gresley painted the picture in 1855.
  2. But it is not impossible that he did.
  3. There are no other Frank Gresleys of whom I am aware.
  4. Thus, it is impossible that any other Frank Gresley could have painted it.
  5. Ergo, Frank Gresley must have been more prodigiously gifted than Mozart and
  6. However improbable as it may seem, the truth must be that Frank Gresley painted it.

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” — The Sign of Four

QED, Tachy.

Apologies accepted.

Now I have dealt with this frankly bizarre intervention, I cannot forebear to say I really do wonder whether the armchair ersatz Puffin would be art critics cavilling away from the comfort of their leatherette Eazy-Chairs in Clacton and Skegness realise that a  multi-millionaire philanthropist art collector’s role is a very tough gig.

They simply have no idea.

Now I have got that off my chest, we can begin this Part.

There was juvenile sniggering when I casually mentioned in a thread in an article here about some broken down old bangers some Puffin had owned over 75 years, that there would be an Art article containing Cheeses.

Bernard Cheese (1925-2013), and his daughter Chloe Cheese (1952), to be precise.

Bernard was a great artist. Chloe, his daughter by his first marriage, is a chip off the old block.

Mr Justice Cocklecarrot, Going Postal
© Mr Justice Cocklecarrot 2020

This is “Heard of Cows”. Lithograph. By Bernard. Black AND white cows. No-one can say Bernard was not way ahead of his time in the Diversity stakes.

Cows milling about in a field with a tree line backdrop; where there may well have been some recent arrival Albanian rustlers waiting to move in, after Bernard had driven off. At least they have diversified out of dealing hard drugs, which must be a relief to us all. Or maybe they have just added rustling to the serious crime portfolio?

Old Git -move away from the keyboard NOW!

Ok. Yes, even I can see they are udderless, so they must be bullocks? Not cows? Possibly transgender cows- was Bernard really that woke?

There seems to me a good prima facie case to sue Bernard’s estate for misrepresentation. I will take instructions from myself and Sotheby’s and advise myself laters.

The second Bernard in the collection is a sheep dominated picture called “Open the Gate”.  A print.

Mr Justice Cocklecarrot, Going Postal
© Mr Justice Cocklecarrot 2020

This picture has a hidden political message. The sheep want the gate open. Of course they do. But sheep are sheep and cannot speak for themselves. They can only “baa”. As we have discovered these last few months, haven’t we ?

Had it been up to me, on behalf of the poor sheep, I would have entitled it;

“Open The Fucking Gate, You Fucking Twat Hancock and then Fuck Right Off!”

But that’s just how I am : A simple countryman in prefect step with the true rhythm of life in the English countryside. Like Captain “Tis a sniffle” Black of this parish.

BC was a splendid print man.

Here is what Wiki says about him:

NB: “His works are found in internationally important collections in the UK and US.”

A thundering endorsement of the Towers’ collection.

And one in the eye for those sceptics who have written hurty things about “Art in the Towers”. Such as, “what a load of old tat”, “complete shite” and “my granny could do better”.  I have never had so much hate e-mail. Happily, Wiltshire plod are on the case.

Chloe makes jolly pictures, too:

Mr Justice Cocklecarrot, Going Postal
© Mr Justice Cocklecarrot 2020
Mr Justice Cocklecarrot, Going Postal
© Mr Justice Cocklecarrot 2020

I love colourful pictures. They bring zing and tring and a little joy to what may be an otherwise dull and grey and, from time to time, apparently futile existence.

Cheese in french is “fromage”, as the Francophiles here know.

Claude Leon, who is next up, was a french artist who loved his fromages, and so loved the Cheeses. I never cease to wonder how spookily interconnected the world of art is! I don’t know much about him, apart from his love of fromage. Maybe some here can help?

I bought these pictures for no reason other than that I liked the bold colours and the fact the Victorians used to dress up in top hats and frock coats and fine dresses to walk on the beach. Who nowadays would put on their finery to walk across Brighton Beach? The buggers take all their clothes off now!  Oil on wood.

Having said this, I do possess a photo of Old Beardie in a dark blue pullover sportingly doing the Usain Bolt gesture with my eldest and 3 of his mates on a Cornish beach, from some 13 odd years ago. He was there because his niece was getting married on the beach. What a strange world we live in. She wasn’t even a mermaid, so far as I am aware.

Yet I am embarrassed to recall how much I paid the Earl of Westmorland and his pal for this pair of pictures.

And it is very difficult to find out how much they are now worth, since there seems to be no market. It looks very much as if it was as bad an investment as buying shares in the Trans-Siberian railway a few months  before the Bolshevik’s stormed the Winter Palace.

Mr Justice Cocklecarrot, Going Postal
© Mr Justice Cocklecarrot 2020
Mr Justice Cocklecarrot, Going Postal
© Mr Justice Cocklecarrot 2020

Hands up who has heard of Henri Alphonse Barnoin?

Old Cunty and Reggie, you can put your hands down now. Old Git, bit slow in getting your hand up there.

Another Frenchie: (1882-1940)

Interestingly, he was appointed the artist to the French Navy in 1926. He sadly died before he could faithfully pictorially represent the Royal Navy demolition of the French fleet at Mels-Al Kebir in July 1940. I am sure he would have made some fine pictures of the holed and sinking battleships etc and 1,200 odd dead  french sailors. Actually, he would probably have portrayed it as a French naval victory to rank alongside [PLEASE FILL IN ONE THAT YOU CAN THINK OF]

They should have done what the French do best, and surrendered. Another reason, to add to the other 2 million, that the French hate us, in case you were wondering.

Henri was pretty good. This is what wiki says about him, as I am too lazy to write it out: and my toes are troubling me.

The Wiki article says; “Among Barnoin’s favored subjects were marine, harbour, and coastal scenes, mostly painted in the rich settings of Brittany.”

Here is just such a one;

A few years before the Allies stormed ashore in 1944 at this very fishing port.

Mr Justice Cocklecarrot, Going Postal
© Mr Justice Cocklecarrot 2020

Since we are now into WW2, we can move to the aftermath homeland for many of the top Nazi’s. Argentina. But I am sorry you will have to wait for the Argie artist, as I really have to do my toe nails. May be he will feature in Part 5?

Ars gratia artis!

© Text and images by Mr Justice “Blockhead”  Cocklecarrot 2020

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