Monday, 7 February 2011

A Trip Back in Time

1960's Panda car: watercolour
Last September whilst holdaying in Gloucestershire, we visited Littledean Jail. This is no longer in use as a jail, but now harbours the most extensive collection of memorabillia I have ever seen, especially stage and screen items. Among the many things on display that caught my eye, was a lifesize Spiderman, Darth Vader and a rather sexy looking Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. The walls were almost totally obscured by photographs and trivia of 20th Century celebrities many of whom are now departed.

My encounter with Spiderman!
One of the the things that really turned me off however, was a real stuffed calf with two heads! There were many other gruesome exhibits on display, which by time we had finished looking round, got to be a little bit much of a muchness, and it was with much relief that on stepping outside into the back yard we noticed the Quadraphenia Collection housed in one of the outbuildings. Having spent my teenage years in the 1960's era, this was right up my street! The whole collection was based around the film about mods. The place was filled with lambretta scooters, covered in spotlights and mirrors, parkas, badges and lots of photos from the film. I could associate myself with all this, being a mod myself at that time, having a Lambretta, the latest fashions etc., but I never actually possesed a parka.

Quadraphenia Display
In the yard outside stood a marvelous classic car - a police Panda car from the same era. A Morris Minor, fitted with what was then a high tech police radio, but now looked very antiquated! In fact, everthing about this car looked antiquated, but very nostalgic.

The painting was done rather quickly - I just wanted to get a feel for this lovely old car. Nevertheless, my attempt is fairly accurate I think and was quite a pleasure to do. The windscreen was a bit of a challenge, I have never painted one of these before, the different amounts of reflected light made it tricky to make out the interior. I just tried to paint what I could actually see.

Quadraphenia Display at Littledean Jail.


  1. Thats a really nice car. I liked the painting. But what is this deal about a real stuffed calf. That sounds gross.

  2. Lovely painting.

    What an interesting place (I wouldn't want to see real stuffed 2-head calf either. Quadrophenia - loved that movie, not quite old enough for real thing.

  3. Great post and great painting Frank. The Panda car brings back memories ... not that I was ever chased by one. LOL. But I like the painting very much and I think you did a good job with the windscreen.

  4. Lovely painting of a timeless car. I still see a Morris driving round here - and you have the feel of one beautifully.

  5. A very interesting and entertaining post Frank .... I loved reading about this awesome unusual place. And the car is just GREAT ! I had a smile when I saw that it was a police car. My daughter owned a 60's Morris Minor (red), for her first car, and with her boyfriend's help, renovated it quite well. :)

  6. Thanks Prabal, there were a number of stuffed animals on show, but taxidermy has never been one of my great likes.

    Thanks Sue, I think mods have made a come back once or twice over the years, but the young ones have no idea what the original scene was like or about.

    Of course you were never chased by one of these John, you were riding in the back, LOL!

    Pat, on thinking about it, this may have been a 1000 rather than a minor.

    The Morris Minor was such a classic Alice, that we still see many of them driving around today. My favourite is the estate version, with the longer back and unmistakeable wooden framework.

  7. I like it! My Nan had one - adorable!

  8. My husband had a green Morris Minor in the garage Frank. She is called Matilda, and she is definitely the other woman in his life. Lovely painting and a great post. :)

  9. Should have said, "has a green Morris Minor in the garage" Ooops.

  10. Ingrid, there was a time when I too would have loved to have a morris minor in the garage, but these days I don't like messing with cars - they tend to go wrong on you when it's either raining, blowing a gale or up neck in snow, so trying to sort them out gets quite unpleasant!
    (Funny how that one letter change can add such a different meaning to the sentence - now I know you still HAVE the car!)