Monday, 3 December 2012

Miniature Van Gogh

We recently had some visitors from Berlin; an old friend who asked if we could show his companion Dave's old studio in Haslingden. They stayed at the studio for a good few hours, and in the course of the visit we naturally looked not only at the piles of large canvases but also at various examples of Dave's work that are filed away in the many plan chests, and at the piles of small drawings, paintings and notebooks that have made their way up to the top floor. 

Among these are a small number of very tiny paintings on wood - done both in oil paint and gouache. These works are from the late 1960s and early 70s when Dave was obsessed by Van Gogh. The above example is one of the latter and measures only about 10 by 7 cms, and it's one of the many images that Dave painted with figures in rooms or in landscapes representing Vincent and others wearing distinctive large hats. In this one there's a hat on the table too; it has candles strapped to it, and Vincent describes using this method for being able to continue to paint after nightfall. When I shared a house, briefly, with Dave during this period we made a cake like this to honour Vincent's birthday.

The smallest example we found was an oil of Van Gogh's 'The Reapers' after Millet, that measured just 3.5 x 7 cms, and which my friend from Germany bought on the spot. 


  1. On the subject of hats with candles in: Christopher Francis Drake Long, when he discovered White Scar Cave near Ingleton fixed candles in his bowler hat in 1923 to light his way as we wormed his way along a very narrow rocky channel to the first waterfall in the cave system. It took him 2 hours and that was the first place he could stand upright. He was also only wearing shorts. Who says modern Health & Safety is a bad thing?

    I know all this because I had a short stint as a cave guide there. If you're interested in hearing more of the story here's a link to their website (

  2. I remember the hat with candles painting Bob - from way back when. In my mind there was a bigger one too but maybe that was done by Stuart (Bradshaw)? Anyway - its fantastic to see these brilliant paintings being appreciated.