Richard Warren

"Clearly I tap to you clearly along the plumbing of the world" (W S Graham)

The silence of the baa-lambs

You can’t make an image of a mother and a baby without it lurching off into a signification of The Mother and Child. Or at least, Ford Madox Brown couldn’t. So here, as a Christmas image, is his extraordinary Pretty Baa-Lambs of 1859.

It’s the colour of that sky that does it. Luxurious, calm, almost silent – but ominous. And those evening shadows, creeping sideways. The child staring at the future. The mortality of The Lamb. (Compare with Richard Dadd’s visionary Mother and Child of the following year – here.)

Though, considering ominous, maybe Baa-Lambs is not so unfit for the times through which we’re now obliged to live, having somehow surrendered our future to a bunch of shameless chiselers.

But at some point a reckoning will arrive. Meanwhile, a bit of Peace on Earth to you today – Happy Christmas.

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