A MDNW Original Design.

These stories are developed from the novels of The Trilogy of Remembrance [The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and Night Crossing] and are designed to entice you to read them. Alexander Wainwright, Britain’s finest landscape painter and visionary artist, is the star. Think of them as delightful appetizers. Enjoy and respond!

MAGRITTE SON

The Son of Man, by Magritte. I am everyman. Tonight I am James Helmsworth

 

You might remember that I, James Helmsworth, am a friend of Britain’s finest landscape artist, Alexander Wainwright and am also his art dealer. This is a recollection of mine from almost twenty years ago. It will tell you much about Alexander’s extraordinary gifts!

I first met Alex and some of his friends about twenty years ago. You can read about my meeting his friends Rinaldo http://bit.ly/1D9GSSR and Peter http://bit.ly/1nkJzgB  in several other of my stories

I must say, it was relatively easy to get to know his art—or so I thought. However, it was much more difficult to get to know the man who created these very special works of art.

Alex is, by nature, a reserved person, who does not speak of himself easily. A rather pleasant surprise in this day and age when so many, driven by narcissism, are flaunting each and every aspect of their existence for the world to see.

I well remember our first walk about London together just after his first one man show at my gallery, Helmsworth and Son.

We really are quite different sorts of people. I am a man living in the world of business and commerce. Although I like to think I have some knowledge and appreciation of painting [obviously necessary in my profession] my primary focus is on evaluation and the market—not the creative process.

Consequently, I feel I am well rooted in this every day phenomenal world. My profession demands this of me.

Alexander is quite different as became immediately apparent on our first walk through Bloomsbury—a wonderful part of London graced with many parks and gardens. There you will also find the British Museum and The University of London as shown in a drawing by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd in 1827.

Prequel, novels, suspense,mystery, muse, visions, critically acclaimed novels, art, artists, Magritte, Son of Man, Alexander Wainwr, Trilogy of Remembrance, Bloomsbury, London

The London University

I have selected certain drawings and photographs of the neighbourhood for your enjoyment.

If you find these bore you, please excuse me as I cannot resist the appeal of any form of art.

Prequel, novels, suspense,mystery, muse, vision, critically acclaimed novels, art, artists, Magritte, Son of Man, Alexander Wainwr, Trilogy of Remembrance, Bloomsbury, London

Drawings of Old Houses in Bloomsbury  by George Clinch

Normally, I do not pry into other people’s affairs. I prefer to let them tell me what they will in their own good time.

On our walk,  suddenly Alex stopped up and, looking quite nervous, said, “Before we go any further Mr. Helmsworth, there’s something you should know about me.”

What was I to think? Was this young man about to speak of some deeply personal matter or confess to some heinous crime—theft, murder or rape?

Prequel, novels, suspense,mystery, muse, vision, critically acclaimed novels, art, artists, Magritte, Son of Man, Alexander Wainwr, Trilogy of Remembrance, Bloomsbury, London

A garden square in Bloomsbury

With mild trepidation, I replied, “Shall we sit down on one of those benches over there?”

Alex nodded and we crossed the grass and sat down on the closest bench. The artist sat there staring at his feet for some moments. I held my breath wondering what I might say to a wide range of topics he might bring up.

At last he said, “I have experienced the occasional vision. And they are central to my art.”

I breathed several sighs of relief. This was one topic I had not thought of.  “Really! Tell me about them—please. Anything about your art is very important.”

Alex tossed back his hair and smiled blissfully at me. “Mr. Helmsworth! It is such a relief to hear you say that. I was afraid you might laugh at me or think me mad.”

“No! of course not. And by the way, surely we can be on a first name basis. James or even better Jamie.”

“Wonderful!” You will call me Alex?”

“Yes. Now do tell me about these visions, Alex.”

The artist  twisted his hands in his pockets like a small child.

“You see Jamie, it all started when I was about eight years old.”

“Yes?”

Prequel, novels, suspense,mystery, muse, vision, critically acclaimed novels, art, artists, Magritte, Son of Man, Alexander Wainwr, Trilogy of Remembrance, Bloomsbury, London

Mother and Child, Kathe Kollwitz

Mother and Child, Kathe Kollwitz

 

“Do you know the engraving by that very talented artist, Kathe Kollwitz—the one with the grieving mother and her child.”

“Yes, I think so.

“It used to hang in my bedroom when I was a child.”

If I were thinking of the right drawing, it seemed like a very odd work of art to hang in a little child’s room.

“My mother hung it on my wall once I had recovered from a serious illness. She said it was to remind us how extremely close we came to tragedy with my illness and to be ever thankful for my life and health.”

“What did your father think?”

Alex shrugged. “No idea. Either he died or had just left when I was  very young.”

“What was the illness?”

“No one was entirely sure just what it was. But I was very ill for more than a month with fever and chills and the worst headaches and pain in what felt like each and every bone—no matter how small or large.”

“Good grief! What did the doctors do?”

“Not very much, I’m afraid. It was my mother who got me through it. I was able to sleep a little during the days but at night I had high fevers and chills. She was exhausted.”

“That would keep your mother at your bedside…”

“One night, I awoke to see a beautiful young woman but, oddly, she seemed to float somewhere up near the ceiling. Her smile  was the kindest I had ever seen. Her expression  was—searching, questioning. It was as if she were trying not only to comfort me but impart some secret message.”

At this point, Alex faltered and I do believe he even blushed.

He continued uncertainly, “You won’t think me mad, will you James?” He broke off for a moment. “Her clothing was vividly coloured but she was as insubstantial as a rainbow. I remember wanting nothing more in life than to follow her. After a moment or two, the vision would disintegrate leaving only misty shreds of colour”

“What an experience, Alex! What did you take from it?”

Alex shook his head. “I don’t really know, Mr. Helmsworth.”

“Did you tell your mother?”

“Yes. But  unfortunately the visions were accompanied by blinding headaches. She was quite disturbed when hearing of these visions I described. Perhaps she thought high temperatures had driven her only child mad.”

“Did you have many of them?”

“At the height of the illness, it seemed the room was filled with any number of women—men too. I demanded that my mother get me a drawing pad so that I could capture them. When she did, I spent much time scribbling away with my pastels. The doctors were very impressed and considered the drawings a sign that I was improving.”

“Did anyone ever give a name to this illness?”

Alexander gave a wry twist of his lips and then began to chuckle. “Yes—they called it Alice in Wonderland Syndrome!”

Prequel, novels, muse, vision, suspense,mystery, critically acclaimed novels, art, artists, Magritte, Son of Man, Alexander Wainwr, Trilogy of Remembrance, Bloomsbury, London

Alice in Wonderland

Surprised, I gave a short laugh. “What on earth is that?”

“No one really knew. It was really just a wild guess–the only thing they could come up with.”

“I suppose one always feels better if you can put some sort of name to an illness.”

With his eyes, roaming over the gardens, he said quietly, “I guess they decided I was having hallucinations–like seeing the cheshire cat!” He grinned at me.

Suddenly Alex looked unwell to me. He had closed his eyes and was now touching his forehead.

“Please tell me more if  you can. But if you’re not feeling well, Alex, save it for another time.”

He spoke faintly. “Yes, I think that’s best. I’ve become rather tired, you know…”

There was much more to the story, which I heard later. Today was not the right time for lengthy stories. Together we left the gardens and went our separate ways. I could not help but think that his muse had appeared before him when he was only eight years old.

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.

The novels of The Trilogy of Remembrance [The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde. Night Crossing]and The Osgoode Trilogy [Conduct in Question, Final Paradox, A Trial of One] can be found in the bookstore. Just click on the cash or the carousel below. 

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5 thoughts on “Prequel 1: Alexander’s Visions and Alice in Wonderland.

  1. Alexander is the person we want to be:thoughtful,kind,engaged. Rinaldo is the mischief-maker we sometimes might like to be. James is the avuncular father figure who bridges the differences yet also cannot understand everything he sees. The images provoke thought, particularly the mysterious and haunting Colville and Hopper scenes.

  2. Pingback: Prequel: Alexander's Visions and Alice in Wonde...

  3. I can’t afford to buy books on my fixed income but this would surely be one that I would purchase. I will however ask at my library to make sure they have all books available fo me.

    • Thank you so much Londa. If your library doesn’t have a copy of any of the novels, I know they will order them? Do you like to read on a Kindle or other similar device? If you do, I’d like to send you a copy of one of the Trilogy of Remembrance novels [The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde or Night Crossing] without charge especially if you’d like to write something about it. Please let me know because I could send it to you right away.

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