26 Pairs of Eyes




Captain Thomas Coram by Afy Nou

William Hogarth, Captain Thomas Coram, 1740 © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum

William Hogarth, Captain Thomas Coram, 1740 © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum

The story behind the story

Going round the museum, I was thinking:
‘Please not a painting.’

I’m a philistine.

I got a painting.

I read about creased clothes, short
statures, sea-worn faces, hats cast aside,
painters signing paintings, not wearing
wigs. Honesty emerged as a theme. Then I
saw that reflection, and had an idea.

Writing it was a captivating, frustrating
process. Fifty-eight. Restriction is inspiring.
Sixty-two.

Afy Nou

Captain Thomas Coram

I was deep in this painting, reflecting. Then
look, on the right, on the globe — a
window’s reflection. Took me right out of it.

Seascape turns into fabric backdrop. Scene
to studio. Subject, sitter. Exposed by this
window in the wrong and right place.

It fits, though. Like the rugged, round face,
rumpled coat, the haywire hair, the printed
boast. No pretending.

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