Starting a Painting of Langstone Mill

Langstone Mill

Still proceeding as though real exhibitions are going to take place, I am looking for one more painting for the Denbies Exhibition in December. Langstone Mill is or was a favourite, although I haven’t painted it for a while now, so thought I would try it albeit in different colours and moods

So far I have got as far as a basic drawing on tracing paper which I will transfer to watercolour paper, and then see where I go with it

I think I might try a deep sunset which has worked with paintings of Bosham. Langstone is quite well known. It used to be a port from Medieval times until the early part of the 20th century, and was very important in its day. It was known as a haunt for smuggling as so many of those little creeks on the Hampshire coast were. I always thought that they would bring ashore brandy and tobacco, and possibly they did, but the big earner was tea. Tea was wrapped in a waterproof cover and stowed in barrels, which were roped together to make a raft. Small boats from Langstone went out and met foreign luggers mid Channel, and towed these rafts back to port. Plenty of local people happy to make storage available in return for a cut. There is even one instance of the local rector storing contraband in the church cellars

So quite a romantic place, which is quiet now. The old mill is still very paintable. The tower is all that’s left of the old windmill. The sails were removed in the late 19th century, and the place left to rot. The building far left was the old tide mill, and I remember as a boy watching the water from the mill pond thunder through. Rescued in the 1930s by local artist Flora Twort, the old mill was fully restored for residential use, and has been inhabited ever since. The architect was a Freud, son of Sigmund Freud. I have sadly never been invited inside but from what I can judge, the restoration has been very successful.

The mill has been associated with artists and writers ever since. Let’s hope they approve

4 thoughts on “Starting a Painting of Langstone Mill

    • Yes she was. She came originally from Petersfield in Hampshire were she started a bookshop, which amazingly is still there. She bought Langstone Mill and restored it in the 30s. Known for her friendship with novelist Neville Shute, who lived in the mill during the war and did some of his writing there. She had a gallery in petersfield which was run long after she died, but don’t know if it’s still there. We’ll see how this turns out
      Also doing some illustrations for John Griffiths, friend from Swansea, who is writing a delightful lockdown collection of memories , poems and thoughts. Not done that sort of thing before, so having to scratch my head

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      • A Town like Alice sticks in my mind, and probably his most well-known. Still readable but nostalgic now of course. Many others, none of which could I name. Less well-known is the fact that he was first and foremost an aeronautical engineer, and was managing director of a company called Airspeed, in nearby Portsmouth, which made aircraft. Eventually taken over by de Havilland

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