Meat for Art

A post that strays somewhat from charcuterie, towards another of my obsessions: collecting art works. I’m a compulsive hoarder, and I’m terrible for buying paintings, drawings, photographs, etchings, prints and sculpture. Today marked my first ‘Meat for Art’, when a block-print was exchanged as payment for bacon and sausages.

However, this isn’t my first charcuterie related art acquisition. During my HCC Scholarship to the US last year, I’d stopped in Brookings, Oregon to call into their Farmers Market. Across the road was an antique shop, I wandered over for a browse and came across a collection of pig drawings. They were owned by Elmo Williams, an Academy Award Winning Film Editor. I can’t put my hand on his biography at the moment, but if my memory serves me correctly the story goes; that he would ask any visitor to his office to draw blindfolded the picture of a pig. The drawings would then be pinned to his office wall. At one time the drawings numbered in their hundreds. Of the drawings on sale that day, the most famous ‘artists’ were Peter Sellers and Britt Ekland. I opted for some more modestly priced ones. The first is by Jack Davis, an illustrator and cartoonist who also produced movie posters during the 1970’s for films such as Kelly’s Heroes and Inspector Clouseau.

Pig, by Jack Davis.

My second purchase was a slightly more naive drawing by Helen Palmer Geisel, an American children’s book author. At the time I didn’t know who she was, however, after purchasing the drawing and doing a quick google search, it turns out she was married to Theodor Seuss Geisel, who’s better known as Dr Seuss!

Pig, by Helen Palmer Geisel

I’ve a raft of interesting customers, people who are a joy to chat with when I’m on my rounds. I hope I don’t take up too much of their time, it’s always nice to stop and talk when the only company I usually have in the day are my pigs and my DAB radio.  And so, to my newest acquisition – “Mythic Animal #3” by Rose Davies. It’s one of a collection of blockprints which draw their inspiration from some rock drawings Rose saw while on a trip to Pakistan. Rose also has a blog that’s well worth taking a look at.

Mythic Animal #3 by Rose Davies

I don’t know whether it’s a pig or not, but the drawing brought to mind a little snifter of interesting information that a friend in Vancouver had told me. Said friend, is a specialist in mythology, and on a visit some years ago we trooped to nearby Penymynydd (which literally translates as The Top of the Mountain) above the village of Trimsaran to the spot that is reputedly the site of the entrance to Annwfn (The Underworld) in the legends of the Mabinogion. While staying with him last October he dug out a quote for me to read:

‘Lord,’ said Gwydion, ‘I hear that some kind of creatures that have never been in this island before have arrived in the South.’

‘What are they called?’ said Math.

Hobeu, lord.’

‘What sort of animals are they?’

‘Small animals whose flesh is better than beef. They are small, and their name varies. They are called moch now.’

‘Who owns them?’

‘Pryderi son of Pwyll-they were sent to him from Aawfn by Arawn, king of Annwfn.’

from The Mabinogion, a new translation by Sioned Davies.

So, by my reckoning the Welsh have a pretty firm claim to the pig.
What makes for an even better story is the legend of the Twrch Trwyth, which recounts the hunt of an ‘enchanted wild boar’. Part of the story mentions ‘Coed y Glyn’ (Woods of the Glen). Now, we can’t be sure which Coed y Glyn it refers to. I like to think that as we’re in the shadow of Annwfn and as we’re part of the Glyn Estate, with a large swathe of woods that have been known as Coed y Glyn for centuries, that there’s a distinct possibility that the woods that our pigs reside in could have been at one time home to another mythical animal!
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3 thoughts on “Meat for Art

  1. Pingback: Bank Holiday = classic vans, bacon, foie gras and blog awards. | Charcutier

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