Sir Jack and the Green Knight

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Jack was my companion in the studio throughout the long process of making the 14 prints of the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight series. He kept vigil in his basket beneath my work table every working day of the project. There would be occasional forays downstairs to discover what was going on elsewhere, to greet the postman, check up on Peter and see if anything interesting – or promising – was going on in the kitchen. But afterwards he’d always return to take up his post with me, and he’d stay until it was time for his walk, and again after that, until the day’s work was done. Whenever I was overtired I’d stretch out for a nap on the studio floor, my head resting on the pillow of his flank, and he’d tuck his head into my neck and sigh deeply with contentment as we both drifted off in the dust and sunshine.

For the many years we’ve attended exhibition openings at MoMA Machynlleth, Jack has always accompanied us.  Weather allowing he would sit patiently in the courtyard while Peter and I were off viewing art, though I’d regularly check on him from the window up in the Owen Owen Room, from where I could see who’d decided to keep him company. There was always someone, and often a queue of admirers, children and adults, proffering tidbits of sausage-rolls and ham sandwiches from the buffet. Jack never went short of food at a MoMA opening and rarely needed super after one. However, willing courtyard dog-minders notwithstanding, this year, with the weather so cold and Jack feeling it more than when he was a youngster, I’d determined he was coming in for the Gawain event. I knew it wasn’t permitted for dogs to enter the building, but as my studio companion throughout the two and a half years of preparation for the exhibition, I was determined Jack would have his place in the spotlight on the big day. (And I strongly suspect Richard and Ruth Lambert would have allowed it!)

But in the end, though he made it to the completion of the fourteenth print, Jack didn’t manage to stay long enough for the exhibition. On Saturday, in memory of him, I shall fasten his leash into a belt-loop at my waist, the way I always did whenever we were out and about together. Jack eschewed a lead at social occasions, always behaving impeccably when off it. So although I’ll be without him, I’ll feel better for having his leash at my side, the way it has been for so many years.

Below: my birthday supper at La Cuina in Cardiff, June 2016, with Philipa and Dave Robbins, Peter, Richard Edwards, and of course, Jack, who had a bit of everything on offer! I’m behind the camera.

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4 thoughts on “Sir Jack and the Green Knight

  1. That first photo is so lovely, Jack was so photogenic!!!
    and in the bottom photo, his piercing eyes, really stand out across the room,
    (wonder what he was thinking?)

    Still can’t quite believe he’s gone. Jack had such a massive presence.

    Wish I had some eloquent or insightful sympathy to offer (as everyone else seems to)

    When my Grandad died (my best man at my wedding) my mum said the important thing was that he loved you and you loved him, and you both knew it. I can’t really sum it up any better than that.

    xxx

  2. One day, and you’ll know when the time is right, you’ll reach out for another four-legged cutie to fill that extra special void that Jack has left. For me, it took four years but now I have two! They are the source of much joy, although I could live without the demands for food at 4am!

  3. Tears streaming down my face as I read this lovely tribute to dear Jack … hope his lead brings you comfort at the show . My husband and I will be holidaying from Canada in our beloved Herefordshire and hope to make an outing to the gallery… I have so enjoyed quietly reading your posts here and on instagram ….. cheers from theotherqueenmother

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