In The Picture

Nicola here, sitting looking out on a wet and windy January morning and envying Wench Anne the Christmas puddingwarmth and sunshine of a Southern Hemisphere summer! We’re continuing our “12 Days of Christmas” series of posts on our favourite things.

One of my favourite things in the New Year is to get out and walk off the extra pounds I have put on with Christmas over-indulgence in food and drink. I’m very lucky that I live in such a beautiful part of the UK and have so many places on my doorstep where I can go walking.

A few years ago I discovered an artist who painted the countryside around where I live. He is EricIMG_5405 Ravilious and he was born in 1903. He began his career painting murals and also designed for Wedgwood china. The countryside of the chalk down land inspired some of his most famous paintings. He was the official War Artist in World War II and a Captain in the Royal Marines. Sadly he was killed on a RAF air sea rescue mission in 1942 aged only 39.

White HorseI can’t afford original Ravilious paintings, which sell for tens of thousands of pounds, but I am collecting his prints, so it was a huge pleasure to receive this picture as a Christmas present. It is a painting of the Uffington White Horse, a Bronze Age carving on the hillside above my house. I also have a miniature picture Buscotby Ravilious of Buscot Park, a Georgian mansion a few miles away. I hope to collect many more of his prints and at the same time enjoy one of my favourite things – walking on the hills that also inspired such a wonderful artist.

Do you have a favourite place that you visit at the start of the year, or a favourite picture that inspires you?

Very best wishes for 2012 and a happy and inspiring year!