I never asked my Nana about the picture that always hung in her hall. I always liked it and I presume she did too since it hung in her hall for as long as I can remember. It was on the right before the door to the little sitting room. Now it hangs in my hall, on the left just after the door to the bathroom, creating a funny little connection between me and the woman I looked so like the day I was born.
A while after my Nana passed away, my dad asked me if there was anything from the house that I would like to have. At first I couldn’t think of anything. I couldn’t remember what there had been. I hadn’t been in the house for years, what with me living away and my grandmother having been in a nursing home for a time.
One day something made me remember the picture in the hall. I asked my dad about it and at first it didn’t ring a bell with him. He said he’d check if it was still in the house. The next time he came to visit, he had it with him. He’d removed the thin, dark wooden frame it had always had so that it wouldn’t break in transport. Out of the frame, without glass and up close the picture looked shabby and different to the image of it in my head.
More out of a sense of duty and less out of any attachment, I set about re-framing the picture. Around this time we were renovating our hall, stairs and landing and taking it from the peach walls and dark brown woodwork the previous owners had favoured to white walls and glossy white woodwork. The pine-coloured floor was staying, so I chose a simple pale wooden frame with a white passepartout. It has transformed the picture into a real piece of craftwork.
Against the white of the passepartout you can pick out the individual pieces of the picture so much better – the donkey in the foreground, the dog on the right, the mountains in the background and the cottage at the centre stands out so well.
I would love to know where my Nana got it and why she chose it. Or whether she got it as a gift. And who made it. And how old it is. Unfortunately there was nothing noted on the back of it, so I suppose I will never know. But just in case it lasts my lifetime and a grandchild of mine puts their eye on it, there is now a line of my handwriting on the back of the picture noting where I got it and the name of the lady who owned it before I did. After coming from Louth to Rheinland-Pfalz, who knows where it might move to next.
|The backing of the picture with no detail of its story.