Ted's Paintbox

(with acknowledgement to Stanley Holloway)


Now I'll tell you a tale of our Edward*,
Who, nigh on his fortieth year,
Took up painting pictures as hobby
To save him from going on t' beer.

So he upped and joined Guild of Artists
And a very queer crowd he found there
One fellow could paint, while the others
Did their best with black beards and long hair.

*Edward (Ted) Barnes, a former Hon Secretary

The name of the Chairman was Leonard**
A bloke who was fond of his joke
If he'd worked as hard as he chattered
He'd have covered more ground than Van Goch.

In charge of the Vice was young Philip
He didn't like pictures too new
Three centuries old and some cobwebs
He reckoned by then that they'd do.

**Len Hunt, a former Chairman of the Guild

There were ladies too in this venture
And one of them known as our Agg***
Painted hunting scenes of great splendour
Fifty hounds, two trees and a nag.

And another who caused a sensation
Known to all as Winifred Rob
Would sell you a frame for a fiver
And throw in her work for five bob.

***Agnes Allen, a founder member of the Guild

Now Edward was comely and 'andsome
He'd been painted by one of the nobs
So he tried to cut-dash with the ladies
By painting their portraits in blobs.

Bu his efforts to paint were a failure
Though he strained both his nerve and his muscle
So he went with the rest to do figure
With a clever old geezer named Russel****.

**** Russel Reeve, a former President of the Guild

Now when all of the class was assembled
And eager to start on their task
Old Leonard knocked over Ted's paintbox
When reaching behind for his flask

This made our Edward so angry
He cried out at what Leonard had done
"Your standing on my burnt sienna
Pick 'em up before they all run.

But Leonard said "I am the Chairman"
In a voice that was haughty and cool
"I don't pick up paints for beginners -
Don't miss that Flake White near the stool"

At this Ted got madder and madder
And the hairs stood right out on his neck
"If no one picks up this here paint box
You can go somewhere else for Hon. Sec."

They all tried to pacify Edward
But pacified he wouldn't be
So they called on the Master to help them
He was supping a cup of hot tea

Russel spoke, Oh so quiet and so gentle
"Now Ted, Ted, do as your told
The class is all eager for painting
Besides, bloody model's got cold".

Ted's nobless oblige was notorious
Good manners he never could skip
So he bent down and picked up his paintbox
And threw blanket o'er model's right hip.

He said to the others "I'm sorry
To keep you in awful suspense"
Then unsheathed his favourite hog's bristle
And said "Now let painting commence".

Tom Gosling