In the April edition of the Hawkesbury Parish News, I’ve been focusing on a prominent village landmark: the Somerset Monument.
“But that looks like Italy!” “Definitely Italian.” “No, that doesn’t say English village at all.”
Such was the feedback when I showed foreign friends the proposed cover for All Part of the Charm. This new book brings together all my Parish News columns with my essays about village life.
My friends’ reaction astonished me. Like most people who live here, I’m used to the Monument serving as shorthand for Hawkesbury Upton. Its portrait is everywhere, including the cover of the Parish News. The only challenge is to find an original way to illustrate it. I was using a watercolour painted by my dad.
Then I remembered some basic facts about the Monument’s 170-year history. Its architect was Lewis Vulliamy, who also designed Westonbirt House, now a private school. The Monument echoes the style of the splendid mid-Victorian House. Italian Renaissance was all the rage in those days. Classic Cotswold country cottage it ain’t.
With reluctance I rejected the Monument picture. The new cover design features a more typical Cotswold scene: sheep in rolling fields (also painted by my dad). I just hope nobody thinks the sheep look French.