Friday, 4 March 2016

Finding Mr. Toad

It has always been said that E.H. Shepard used Ely's courthouse  for the inspiration for his illustrations of Mr Toad on trial in 'The Wind In The Willows'. He is supposed to have made drawings of the forbidding courtroom, which was built in 1821 - only I can't find any proof that it actually happened!
Everyone (including a local author of a booklet on the subject) says it's true but after an exhaustive trail through his sketchbooks, which are now kept in his archive at the University of Surrey, I can't find an evidence to substantiate this.
This is a pity, as I have a vague idea for a painting in the future, which would require me to make drawings of this wonderful interior. I've got various ideas of who in the family could be symbolised by Toad as 'on trial', only I can't use this material unless it really happened - or can I?.

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