Sunday, 9 September 2018

A National Trust visit to Fairlynch

News of the extended loan of ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ has resulted in a further boost for visitor numbers, including increased interest from groups. Seen here with Chairman Trevor Waddington are members of the  Exeter & District National Trust group who visited on 26 July.

Group leader Nerina Frampton was delighted with the visit: ‘I cannot begin to thank you enough for the warmth of your reception, for doing so much to make us welcome and for your sheer expertise,’ she told Trevor. ‘Every single one of our group told me how much they had enjoyed their visit and seeing some of your permanent and temporary treasures.’   

Sir John Everett Millais’ painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ continues to be the main attraction for visitors. The Fairlynch Raleigh 400 exhibition provides a rare chance to see the painting at eye-level, so details can now be appreciated. It’s only recently that I realized that what I thought was a basket, to the right of the sailor, seems to be lined on the outside with exotic feathers. 

Could it be, like the toucan, next to it, something that the sailor brought back from his travels in the New World? Could it in fact be some sort of upturned headgear worn by a native of somewhere like Guyana, which Raleigh would visit on two occasions? Has Millais painted it to balance the smart green hat with its feather, next to young Walter?

The painting goes back to London on 31 October, but until then you have the chance to admire this magnificent piece of Victorian artistic romance; and there’s lots more to see in the exhibition.  Group visits are welcome. 


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