This painting by David Hollington was for me the highlight of his recent exhibition, Apocalypse Of Love, at Lauderdale House. I suspect it is a self-portrait; he’s not drowning like Ophelia but enjoying a moment of rejuvenating hydrotherapy amongst his friends and familiars. The painting takes its title from a poem by Thomas Stanley, one of the English metaphysical poets; another, Andrew Marvell, is commemorated with a nearby plaque on the wall of Waterlow Park.
Ask the empresse of the night
How the hand which guides her sphear,
Constant in unconstant light,
Taught the waves her yoke to bear,
And did thus by loving force
Curb or tame the rude seas course.
Ask the female palme how shee
First did woo her husband’s love;
And the magnet, ask how he
Doth th’obsequious iron move;
Waters, plants and stones know this,
That they love, not what love is.
Be not then less kind than these,
Or from love exempt alone,
Let us twine like amorous trees,
And like rivers melt in one;
Or if thou more cruell prove
Learne of steel and stones to love.
See more paintings by David Hollington at The Rowley Gallery.