After many months of preparation, The Virgin of the Goldfinches has finally been hung in the Saint Dyfrig Chapel of Llandaff Cathedral. Yesterday I posted some slightly out of focus images of the space on the Artlog. But today Philippa Robbins went to the cathedral and took much better photographs, for which kindness I’m much obliged.
The painting hangs just inside the entrance to the chapel. The best view of it comes when visitors turn from the altar to leave, at which point the work takes centre stage during the long walk back. It’s been ‘floated’ on hidden brackets passing through the the inky blue velvet curtain that’s been hung to provide a dark background and bring out the colours.
Many people have been instrumental in bringing The Virgin of the Goldfinches to Llandaff, and now would be a good time to name and thank them. The Contemporary Art Society for Wales funded the purchase. The selector was William Gibbs, who reserved the work for CASW when it was still only a drawing on panel in my studio. His belief in it helped me bring the painting to a conclusion. The Very Reverend John T. Lewis, M.A., Dean of Llandaff, first saw the painting when William presented it to the CASW membership in 2009. Thereafter negotiations took place for the painting to be housed in the cathedral, and Bryan Hibbard of CASW dealt meticulously with all the contractual matters. In the cathedral Michael Turk and Philippa Hallinan have been endlessly helpful and encouraging. Special thanks must go to Philippa who worked tirelessly to ensure a happy conclusion to the project. The Gibbs Family Trust generously funded the acquisition of velvet for the curtain, and Philippa made it beautifully. The curtain was installed by Tony Vearncombe, who then heroically stayed on to contribute his skill and ingenuity to improvising a set of brackets to mount the painting so that it appears to float on the surface of the velvet. The result is better than I had dared hope for. Bryan and Elizabeth Hibbard have been wonderful hosts during my many trips to Llandaff. Elizabeth is a genius of a cook, and moreover she’s looked after Jack for me whenever I’ve spent long hours at the cathedral. Bryan and Elizabeth have a beautiful garden of which Jack is most appreciative, even though he fell in their goldfish pond today! Last but not least I thank my friend Philippa Robbins, for more kindnesses than I can possibly list here. I presume too much on her generous spirit. Philippa, you’re the best!