Tuesday, 30 September 2008


On Friday last, Paul Newman died. For some 50 years he was an icon to my generation of film buffs; but reading his obituaries you see a bigger picture: in his long life, he suffered much personal tragedy, and whilst his success made him rich, he was also hugely generous.

Today's illustration is of another Newman, John Henry, 1801 - 1890. Here he is, shown as an old man in his robes as a Cardinal. The illustration appears on the front of the current Friends of Cardinal Newman Newsletter, kindly dropped on my doorstep yesterday by Christopher Page.

The picture, by the Birmingham artist, Claude Pratt, was owned by my cousin Tom Townsend, who would have inherited it from either his father Sir Reg Townsend or his mother Millie, the daughter of Birmingham-born Ned and Agnes Cartwright. (Agnes was my grandfather's aunt.)

Tom and his wife Betty had no children, and I was fortunate enough to inherit "Cardinal Newman" on Tom's death. But with our impending move, we have been trying to slim down on pictures, so I am very happy that it has now found its way back to Birmingham, and indeed to Newman's Oratory in the Hagley Road.

No comments: