The bitter row over the estate of Lynn Chadwick has finally ground to it's conclusion. Sophie Chadwick, Lynn's youngest daughter had pitted herself against her stepmother Eva Chadwick who controls Lypiatt Studio Ltd, a company set up by Chadwick in 1973. Sophie Chadwick claimed that much of her father's work produced before '73 did not fall within the companies remit and hence her stepmother's control, and that it should be held by the trust set up for his children. Classic scenario and millions at stake, no surprise ending, stepmother's expensive lawyers won the day, Sophie, representing herself in court, lost out, happy families or what.
In the 'olden days' working for Ralph Brown at Oakridge there were times when work was slow and money was slower. On these days I could find myself doing some visiting lecturing at the West of England or constructing faux stone shelves in Laurie Lee's Slad cottage but more likely I would be in Lynn Chadwick's studio at Lypiatt Park. Lypiatt Park was something else, a vast, sprawling historic manor house cresting a valley above Stroud. When I was around the studios were in the towered stable courtyard, the chapel had become a gallery space, it was a splendid environment and I enjoyed the work although I found Chadwick a taciturn character. I worked mainly on small welded maquettes and filling and chasing small sculpture, I had one memorable week repainting the huge winged figures that at the time stood on the valley skyline. I had been, in my growing, fascinated by the 'geometry of fear' sculptors, Armitage, Chadwick, Meadows, Clarke, Butler and so on but the sculpture I was now working on fell well short of the sculpture that had wowed the Venice Biennale, it was well into the process of commodification.
The idea of 'indentured' labour appealed to Chadwick but I was of limited use as I was fundamentally a modeller and caster not a fabricator. I recommended an ex fellow student from Birmingham, a superb welder, and shortly afterwards Chris Wilson, his wife Maureen and their baby were installed in the courtyard tower, it was a classy billet. We accept our millionaire artists live in vast country piles but I'm sure Chadwick was the first contemporary English artist to live in such style, and of course it could then be bought for buttons, happy days.
I am still smarting a little from missing the John Hiatt concert, John Hiatt and the Goners for pities sake. I wanted to wax about the brilliant songwriting, the unique sound and delivery, but I wasn't there, so here are some of his most evocative lyrics.
There's a lipstick sunset
Smeared across the August sky
There's a bitter perfume
Hanging in the fields
The creek is running high
And I left my lover waiting
In the dawn somewhere to wonder why
By the end of the day
All her sweet dreams would fade
To a lipstick sunset
AGED AND AWKWARD