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Some days I feel this way. James Helmsworth

Will you listen to my story of new beginnings from times long past? Think of this as a prequel to a much larger story contained in The Trilogy of Remembrance.

 My name is James Helmsworth and I am greatly honoured to count myself as friend and art dealer of Britain’s finest visionary, landscape painter, Alexander Wainwright. If you and I happened to meet, my pin-striped suit and briefcase might make you think I’m a drab and dreary soul—a civil servant at Whitehall lost in reams of facts and figures. I do like to foster that impression. It creates anonymity and anonymity confers a certain degree of freedom.

I have made certain small contributions in the publication of The Trilogy of Remembrance, in which Alexander Wainwright is the star. Think of me as his dedicated biographer, who has pieced together accounts of certain periods in Alex’s life in which he brought his art to further greatness.  You will learn a great deal about him in The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and Night Crossing.

But my story tonight is a recollection from many years ago–the night I first met Alexander. He was not yet thirty and had graduated summa cum laude from the Slade School of Art.

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This is one of Alexander’s first landscapes. Years later he perfected his light to express that sense of the “beyond.”

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My gallery–Helmsworth and Son.

Already he was having his first one-man show at the Carstairs Gallery located on the second floor of an old building in Chelsea not far from mine, Helmsworth and Son.

A heavy mist hung over Wembly Close and as I approached I could hear the clinking of glasses and much delightful chatter coming from an upstairs window. The opening of the show was obviously going exceedingly well.

Eager to see Alex’s work, I yanked open the etched glass doors and heard a gasp.

Looking up the stairs, I jumped back. Then came shouts and loud thrashing and banging sounds at the top of the stairs.  A body took flight and, like a huge black creature, tumbled downward in the darkness.

 

Nasty cracking noises came as the body hit the stairs and bounced off the handrail on the way. It’s hard to describe what I heard next but it sounded like muffled screeches and then groans. At the bottom of the stairs lay—as I later learned—the body of Alexander Wainwright.

At first, the body did not move. I dropped to my knees before it. But soon, I was assured it was alive by the pained groans which filled the stairwell.

At the top stood a small, wiry man. He made a frantic dance down the stairs shouting…

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Rinaldo, the conceptual artist.

“Oh dear God! Alexander, are you hurt? Please don’t be dead! How did you fail to see my foot? I was just trying to put on my galoshes.”

This little man, whose rat-like features peered up at me, tried with all his meager might to sit Alexander upright.

“Please, Alex tell me you’re alright! You’re not going to die on me, are you?” Don’t do that! I should be ever so sad!” He tugged hard on Alexander’s coat. “God! You are heavy and I’m so small.”

Alexander gave the man a weak shove and sat up himself. “Let go! I’m alright. Who are you? How do you know my name?”

“Oh, thank heavens! You’re alive! I am so relieved!”

By this time other people at the gathering had descended the steps.

“Do you need an ambulance, sir?”

“Here, take my scarf to staunch that nasty cut on your forehead.”

Slowly, Alex rose and, mustering a laugh said, “No really I’m fine…quite alright.”

The little rat-faced man—apparently named Rinaldo—grinned and cried out, “I’m so relieved, Alex. Let me help you home.”

Maybe it was Rinaldo’s wink or the turn of his lip as if to suppress a smile that made me uneasy. As he tried to brush Alex’s coat off with hard, slapping motions, I wondered if I shouldn’t offer Alexander a lift home myself

But Alex laughed and then said, “That will be fine Rinaldo. After all, it’s the least you can do under the circumstances.”

Then the two of them left the Carstairs Gallery and walked down the street together in a quite friendly fashion.

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A stroll on the Embankment.

Of course, I did not realize at the time that these two men would continue for years one of the strangest relationships I have ever seen.

In brief, Rinaldo was Alexander’s nemesis. Although he was an unremitting thorn in Alex’s side, he must have brought some benefit. Why else would Alex put up with him?

Rinaldo, a conceptual artist, often creates pointless and puerile performance pieces—at least in my view. Alexander is a fine landscape painter—a true artist. When people view his work, they are astonished at the sense of the beyond or other worlds he creates.

This dish of rotting fruit was presented to a gallery by Rinaldo as one of his first works. He was not the only one who could not explain the concept behind it. Instead, he would sing the praises of Marcel Duchamp the grandfather of conceptual art. 

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Is Rinaldo’s bowl of rotting fruit art?

 

 

 

 

And so—both men are very different, not only in their artistry but in their fundamental temperaments and views of the world. Alex experiences the universe as one filled with marvellous secrets and forces—a mystic one might say who sees meaning and purpose in everything. On the other hand, Rinaldo sees the universe as a completely meaningless dance of molecules. And yet he is still a person of some strange and improbable influence upon Alex.

I hope this little blog-sized short story has whet your appetite because much more of Alexander Wainwright lies before you in The Trilogy of Remembrance starting with The Drawing Lesson and next The Fate of Pryde. The concluding novel is Night Crossing. I, James Helmsworth am proud to say I have had some small part in bringing Alex’s stories to you.

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And this is the real me, James Helmsworth, who stands behind the artist, Magritte.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I‘d love to hear from you so please don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts in the comment box below. Should you want to explore the bookstore, the carousel is right below with the novels from The Osgoode Trilogy and The Trilogy of Remembrance.  

Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the newly released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing. Presently, The Drawing Lesson is a Wattpad Featured novel which you can read in its entirety right here Wattpad.com 

 

 

 

 

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