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It is probably the best £5 I ever spent

Painting out of doors involves carrying an awful lot of stuff. Stanley Spencer successfully pioneered the use of a pram but limited its use to carrying his paints, canvases, easel and umbrella.

His pram was a kind of push chair, with a seat at one end sitting on a small wheeled, articulated metal frame.

When, some years later, the local boy scouts had a large wheeled pram for sale, I eagerly bought the chassis, which I could see had great potential, but declined the baby carriage.

It is probably the best £5 I ever spent, as for decades the pram has given sterling service, not only acting as a studio but as a shopping trolley and the conveyance for a portable organ for Tresanton’s Christmas Carols.

Unlike Stanley Spencer’s my pram is set up as a complete studio, with an easel clamped to the chassis and a permanent palette fixed to the frame. A shelf underneath takes the paints, sketch books, picnic and thermos, and boards, canvases, umbrella and stool can all be strapped on top.

Painting is far from the ‘relaxing hobby’ which those who never paint often seem to think, and it takes a lot of concentration. So, when I paint out of doors, to avoid constant interruptions from curious passers by, I have a polite notice saying ‘Please do not disturb. Thank you’.

It generally does the trick and people are very understanding.

So I was fascinated to see that Stanley Spencer had encountered exactly the same problem.

One of the very few benefits of lock down is that, thanks to Mrs Polizzi, I’ve been able to paint undisturbed on the hotel terraces. As there may not be much longer to enjoy this luxury I’d better get back to work!

Yvonne Fuller

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