—John Caple – The Thorn Tree Cycle

7-11 October 2010

Gallery Preview: 28th September - 2nd October
Art London, Royal Hospital Chelsea: 7th-11th October

John Caple's art is rooted in the old traditions of Mendip, Somerset, where his family have been farmers and quarrymen for centuries. His direct, narrative paintings represent stories and traditions
that have been passed down for generations.

Comprising eight paintings that form a continuous frieze, 'The Thorn Tree Cycle' is Caple's most extensive narrative sequence to date. It starts with the arrival of St Joseph of Arithemea in the West Country and continues with his journey along an ancient river through the tidal marshland towards Glastonbury, a route often used by the Romans to the lead mines up on the Mendip Hills. He came first as a merchant, bringing with him Christ as a young child, but later returned with the cup from the last supper. It was then that he is said to have thrust his staff into Wearyall Hill, which caused it to miraculously bud. This is the origin of the 'Glastonbury Thorn', descendants of which plant still survive to this day, and which always flower at Christmas. St Joseph then went on, it is believed, to establish the first Christian church here, and local lore holds that the cup was entrusted to a farming family who guard it to this day.

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