Staying Indoors

Being currently confined to barracks has given me the opportunity to be selfish and to concentrate on my own interests. Browsing through photos on my iPad I came across a set I took of the work of the Cheltenham born artist Freda Derrick – works housed with the very large collection of ‘Works on Paper’ in the Art Gallery & Museum (the Wilson).  The Derrick collection falls into three main sections – her book illustrations, her studies of rural life, and her studies of crafts.  It was a set of works in the illustration section which, in our current situation, particularly caught my interest – her art work for her illustrated children’s book – ‘The Ark Book’.  So here goes with a glimpse into the familiar world of catastrophic threats – the Flood.

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In following what happened then and Noah’s response the author succinctly explains why animals like dinosaurs and their ilk died out :-


In spite of Noah’s publicity and welcoming some creatures scoffed at the necessity for a lock-down!                                                                                             As I ruminated on this illustration I was reminded of a short ditty by Ogden Nash – “God, in His wisdom, made the fly; and then forgot to tell us why!”.  Nash was a great writer of witty and pithy comment – I remember a painful incident of my very young childhood concerning undesirable creatures. It was not on the sands of Arabia, but Southport – I was stung, painfully, by a jellyfish!  I rather concur with Nash when he wrote “Who wants my jellyfish? I’m not sellyfish!”

Anyway – back to the Ark.

Noah was probably rather relieved that some creatures had declined his invitation as he struggled with the practicalities of housing creatures of every shape, size, and weight. How to find neck room for the giraffes, ensuring the heavy creatures are at the bottom of the Ark to prevent capsize in stormy weather, space for daytime creatures to stretch their limbs without treading on others asleep? Etc., Etc., Etc.,

Anyway, things soon settled down – and then the wait, the long wait, the very long wait, for the flood-waters to subside and landfall made – and the animals, plus Noah and his family, venture out into the world. In other words it could get a bit boring!!!!


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This illustration reminds us that Freda Derrick produced this book not long after the First World War.

But things did get better – there began to appear a few signs that things might be improving – and eventually it was clear that the flood-waters were subsiding – causing quite a bit of worry for Noah as the excitement was seriously rocking the boat!!

But – at last :-

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