Friday, 21 August 2009
Kit Williams and the Golden Hare
Like many people of my generation, I've been a long-term fan of the artist Kit Williams, ever since his treasure hunt, Masquerade. I've spent many happy hours gazing at his pictures (published in The Bee on the Comb, Out of One Eye and Engines of Ingenuity). His work is delightfully English, pastoral but with a dark puckish streak running through it. Always there is the sense of a riddle or a secret, just out of reach, that, if only one had the key, would unravel marvellously.
Well, last summer I was lucky enough to meet Kit Williams and to view his current collection. To cut a long story short, my partner ended up modelling for him, and we were both invited to take part in the forthcoming BBC 4 documentary, The Man Behind Masquerade. Here are some photos to give you an idea of what to expect!
We were also lucky enough to have been invited to the preview of his retrospective in London, which, in true Kit Williams style, lasted just one day. I must confess that it was rather full of London arty types - not grubby folkies at all - and we were just on the point of leaving when, lo and behold, a plinth was wheeled in, on top of which was a perspex box, covered in a cloth.
Surely, no? We looked at each other in amazement, hardly daring to speak.
And then, yes! There it was! The Masquerade Golden Hare! It's whereabouts have been unknown for the last twenty years since it was bought by an anomymous buyer. Quite quite extraordinary to see it, something I've dreamed about since I was a child. And, quite possibly, the only time it will be put on public view. I feel very blessed.
And, here's a conincidence, the opening track of the forthcoming Bees album is called, Saddle the Hare, which is partly inspired by one of the pictures in Masquerade. Nice how things turn out.