Part of the plot of The Angel has Kim leaving trendy Shoreditch to come and work in the pub in rural Buckinghamshire. She’s also going to carry on working as an artist. It might be thought a bit implausible by some people (probably in London) that any serious artist would leave London unless they went to other arty areas, like Brighton, Pembrokeshire, St. Ives, Southwold or Eastbeach (!).
However, there’s an event in Buckinghamshire starting today that shows that there are a huge number of artists working in the county. Bucks Open Studios is an annual event that has over 400 artists open their studios or exhibit work in churches or village halls — it’s between 12th and 27th June this year. There is an exhibition by half a dozen local artists in the village hall half a mile away (and the population of our parish, including four villages, is only about 700). There are also loads of artists’ studios within a two or three mile distance of where I live, which considering that large swathes of that area include Â a big National Trust nature reserve and ancient monument and the Chequers estate and most other directions are fields full of sheep or wheat is quite surprising. There’s quite a big village about five miles away called Haddenham (used extensively for ‘Inspector Morse’ filming and the like) that has twenty five artists participating in the Bucks Open Arts scheme.
It’s probably very logical for there to be so much artistic activity here — many people may have also given up a life in the rat race in London and set up as artists at home, but London’s not that far away and there’s enough money around in the home counties to probably sustain demand for the artwork. It’s also probably a very inspirational place for many artists to work — with some wonderful countryside, nature and peace for concentration (except when some of the suburban-minded anal retentives decide to chop trees down and pulverise their remains first thing on a Sunday morning, like today).
I suspect that many of these artists are relatively old and not like Kim but I’m going to try and have a look around their open studios over the next couple of weeks to do a bit of research.