Posthumous Portraits


Today I scanned the last of the Christmas 1985 negatives, and here present a selection.

Grandma, Mum, Louisa, Derrick 12.85

When you lunched at Mum’s you not only fought your way through a massive roast meal, but later, you were expected to consume a plentiful afternoon tea. Jessica must have taken this photograph of Grandma, Mum, Louisa, and me seated at the table.

Jessica, Sam and Louisa 12.85

It looks as if Jessica swapped places with me.

Having entertained Sam with Hoopla, Dad spent some time playing with Louisa on the sofa. It looks as if there was a certain amount of competition as to who would fall asleep first. Mum will have made the knitted doll.

Dad and Jessica 12.85

My father’s reward for his exertions seems to have been to have his daughter-in-lawย read him a story;

Jessica 12.85

after which Jessica found time for contemplation.

Sam 12.85

Sam, however, continued to daydream about another game with his grandfather.

Joseph 12.85

Joseph was well ahead of the current fashion for young men to wear full beards.

There were two more photos ofย Dad,

Dad's portrait photocopy

one of which I used as a model for a pastel portrait for my mother, the Christmas after he died. The story of how he helped me is told in ‘Would You Believe It?’.

Auntie Gwen 12.85

Auntie Gwen was also the subject of a portrait. This time in pen and ink for a magazine illustration.

Auntie Gwen 85

This is how I adapted the photograph.

This evening we dined at Daniels Fish Restaurant in Highcliffe. With her chips Jackie chose scampi; my choice was haddock. We both had mushy peas. Jackie drank coffee, and I drank tea.


  1. Wow! These pictures contain an entire life. Those who have no memories lived in vain. And you have a lot of, Derrick ๐Ÿ™‚
    xo <3

  2. Some really good photos, and I take it these did not need restoration.
    I so admire people who can draw and paint like that. For me, even a straight line is a challenge.

  3. The pastel is really a nice piece of work Derrick. The photos are a nice way to look back, too. I particularly like trying to pinpoint a time by hair/clothes/kitchens. Of course, you’ve told us it was 1985, so there’s no need to guess.

  4. What? You are an artist, as well? How fortunate for you–and good for us! I just dabble in this and that with visual art, but your portraiture is excellent. I also always enjoy how informal your photos are–you have an obliging family and/or you have a knack for finding that quick moment to sneak an image!

  5. 1985 Full beards; Ahead of fashion? I was required to shave mine off in 1975; else look for another woman! My wife did not like or approve of beards, she thought that the wearer had something to hide. Gained a wife, lost a beard and sometimes I wonder…………………… ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

  6. Looking at your photographs,looking at your drawings, reading your blogs, I’ve come to the conclusion that you are a very talented, artistic man. I admire your work very much indeed.

    1. I’ll second that. What a multi-faceted personality. Although, Lord Beari, do you suppose he was clinging to that long haired look just a trifle too long into the eighties ๐Ÿ™‚ ? And I suspect I met Joseph living as a recluse in the Lake District around 1980 – or at least his twin brother. I love these slices of family life. And another thing I love, is that the children are always dressed in comfortable kid friendly clothing. It’s such a different story today, with even very young children being dressed as fashionistas. I fondly remember the corduroy overalls my auntie used to run up for my little boy from about six months on. And I think the pencil of Aunty Gwen is amazing. Of course . . . I could be biased.

  7. Wonderful memories for you, Derrick. I didn’t know you are such a talented artist. I did not get the visual art gene that some of my family members have. I went back and read the story of you creating the pastel of your father. Spooky and intriguing!

    1. Many thanks, Merril. Had we had the money I would have liked to go to Art school with the object of learning book illustration. That pastel was a pretty uncanny experience.

        1. That’s long gone, Merril. You know how my creativity is now expressed.I occasionally pick up a pencil, and when I lived near London’s Portobello Road, I joined a life drawing group. Thanks for the thought, though

  8. I did laugh when you described dining at your mother’s house …. they were a generation of feeders – I always feel the war and the deprivation and rationing that entailed shaped their need to show love through plenty of nosh. The pictures are lovely but I must comment mostly on your pastel and the pen and ink …. both wonderful studies – you are indeed a very talented man.

      1. My mother is 84 and younger than her eldest sibling by 13 years. My grandmother I suppose would have been 120 next February …. I remember her wonderful tables of food and my mother though these days less so is still what her grandchildren regard fondly as ‘the feeder’. The compliments are quite simply deserved!

  9. Love seeing your art Derrick – both are beautiful. We don’t see your work enough. Very comforting to see the family gathered round the table, happy memories.

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