Local artist wins top award for village 'postcard' artwork

By Alan Quick   |   Editorial Manager/Photojournalist   |
Wednesday 24th November 2021 7:00 am
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The winning artist, Philip Keen, pictured here with actor Thomas Michaelson taking the role of Lt Lapenotiere for the ceremony.

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DEVON family history was brought to life this month in a "postcard" piece of art which won its creator a first prize award of £1,000.

In a ceremony held at the exclusive Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall, London, on November 6, Devon artist Philip Keen was presented with his winner’s cheque by celebrated marine painter Geoff Hunt PPRSMA.

The art and photography competition, "Postcards from The Trafalgar Way" was staged throughout 2020 and early 2021 by heritage charity The 1805 Club to promote The Trafalgar Way (www.thetrafalgarway.org), the 19th-century coaching route from Falmouth to London travelled by the messenger returning with the first news of the famous battle of 1805.

Entrants were asked to submit scenes on or close to the route which would make a good postcard image.

Judges were particularly thrilled to see entries which demonstrated a high level of research carried out by the artists and photographers, with some going to extraordinary lengths to visit and learn about the history of the route before coming up with a shot or design.

Many had personal connections with their images. In Philip’s case this was significant, for as well as his beautiful, intricate pen-and-ink design, his work, titled "Changing Horses at the Golden Lion, Crockernwell," included a very personal connection.

Philip explained: "My grandmother, born in 1885, grew up in Golden Lion house where the Inn originally was, and my great aunt and uncle lived there from the 1960s until recently. The original barn was still there around the back of the property. So after hearing of the competition I was inspired to imagine the scene in 1805. The picture is based on a Victorian postcard which shows my grandmother as a child, sitting on the pavement."

Philip took the original postcard along to the prizegiving ceremony for all the attendees to see. It depicts a vintage street scene of Crockernwell during Queen Victoria’s reign.

Some 75 years prior to the photograph being taken, the Trafalgar messenger, Lt Lapenotiere, mentioned Crockernwell in his expenses claim for the journey where, on November 5, 1805, he paid £1 17s 6d to change horses at the Golden Lion and continue on his way, travelling "post-chaise express" to Exeter.

Kathy Brown, Director of The Trafalgar Way told the "Courier": "The judges were delighted with this lovely entry which combines detailed pen and ink work with digital techniques, and we were all touched by the artist’s personal connection to the scene, too.

"The story behind The Trafalgar Way is a really exciting and interesting one, and Philip’s piece has helped to bring that history to life for us all."

Philip’s art can also be found in the pages of his books written in aid of Topsham Museum.

The Lockdown Fox is a beautifully illustrated digital book for all ages, with proceeds donated to Topsham Museum. For details visit: https://shop.topshammuseum.org.uk/product/the-lockdown-fox-digital-format/ .

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