Bryan Andrews


Painter and Writer

Short Stories

London 1946
Barry had to queue at the Rex to get in to see National Velvet. At least it was only a U film so he didn’t have to hang around to ask an adult to take him in or, worse, bunk in at the side door when no-one was looking, as his best friend Maurice used to do when he was out of funds.

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Thomas cantered into Wadesmill. He was tired after the long ride from Cambridge and longing for a good drink of ale. But most of all he needed to think. Ever since he had written his prize-winning essay, ‘Is it lawful to make slaves of others against their will?’ on abolishing the slave trade, his mind had been buzzing with questions. What can I do about it? Shall I visit the slaves in the Caribbean? What about finding out more about the conditions on the slave ships? Can I find an MP to put the case for abolition in Parliament? So many questions.

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He had tried hard enough at Goupil’s Art Gallery in Paris. He just couldn’t understand why it was so hard to sell pictures he admired.   Customers invariably chose something quite uninspiring to hang above their fireplace in their nice fashionable house. Once he had refused to sell a picture to M. Valentin until the man had first looked at Millets that were hanging in the gallery. Millet, painter of peasants, was Vincent’s idol. He fervently believed Millet would convert all Philistine tastes and lead, in particular, M. Valentin to a higher appreciation of art. If only he could sell the Millets and not this worldly art preferred by these dolthead Parisians, how happy he would be. No, he was cast into misery by only selling despicable paintings.

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