Poetry in Lockdown - Wright of Derby

July 15 2020

Image of Poetry in Lockdown - Wright of Derby

Picture: Derby Museum and Art Gallery

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Derby Museum and Art Gallery reopened to the public last week. To mark this occasion, they have recently posted a new poem by the poet John Birtwhistle (b.1946) inspired by Joseph Wright of Derby's portrait of his friend the clockmaker and scientist John Whitehurst (pictured).

I am by no means any knowledgeable critic of poetry, but Birtwhistle's lines make some genuinely lovely observations. It reminds me a little of what the likes of William Lisle Bowles (d.1850) wrote about the paintings he saw in the 1807 RA exhibition by the likes of Turner, West, Hoppner, Wilkie etc.

One stanza reads:

It is a painting about the moment

of thought, about art, about science,

and it paints about friendship.

It is a painting about the stubborn

intensity of loving attention

that may elicit concept from dark.

Follow this link to listen to Birtwhistle reading the poem himself.

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