BURFORD HIGH STREET
To Rachel Hodgkins, 27 December 1921. London.
.... I have at last fixed on Burford, a small town about 20 mile from Oxford & 2 hours from London. You may remember I was there once before, or rather in the next village, Great Barrington, and liked it, & found the Cotswold country very paintable & the air splendidly bracing.
Burford High Street, Oxfordshire, painted by Hodgkins circa 1922, depicts the main thoroughfare of the town. During his trip to the Cotswolds in 2013, Jonathan stopped by the town of Burford making sure to capture the same view down High Street present day. Not much has changed!
A historic photograph of the street taken circa 1920 is illustrated top for further comparison and as an indication of what Frances would have seen as she painted.
FRANCES HODGKINS' STUDIO IN BURFORD
To Rachel Hodgkins, 13 January 1922. Studio, St Lawrence’s St, Burford, Oxon.
…[The Studio] is a lovely old barn. I have bought 8 old chairs for 10/-… an old counter for a table, an iron bedstead & various adjuncts including a black kitten, young of Mrs. Plosh of Park Farm, Barrington. It takes plenty of nerve to climb my ladder – a handrail will be necessary if visitors are not to break the neck in the semi-darkness of a winter afternoon.
In 1922 Frances Hodgkins moved to the Cotswolds town of Burford about twenty miles from Oxford. There she rented a "lovely old barn", which was to serve as a studio and as her living quarters, and with unquenchable hope was planning for the future. She was determined to make the barn into a ‘Hodgkins centre’, where pupils could rally round and immerse themselves in art. At the same time she could not believe that she was settling down again in England after shaking its dust off her feet only a year before.
[ABOVE] The site of the old stone barn which, by the 1930s, had fallen into disrepair. Threatened with a corrugated iron roof, in 1937 it was demolished and replaced with a stone cottage designed by local architect Russell Cox.
To Rachel Hodgkins, 13 May 1922. Studio, St Lawrence’s St, Burford, Oxon.
I am sitting out in the sunshine - How long will it last? Spring is tardy in these parts. The winter nearly finished me but now I am pulling my exhausted self together & trying to forget all the little things of life that have annoyed me so much of late. At the moment my special affliction is church bells. The Oxford Bell Ringers are performing .... You would think all Burford is being married. I said to Mrs. Search my neighbour in the Lane "Why is this?" "Oh just an 'obby Miss" They started at 1/2 past 2 and now it is 5.30. It is about time they went back to Oxford.