A forest near Paris

After quoting from one of Godfrey’s letters in the post ‘Search for Gold’ of a walk in a London wood walk he takes searching for the last of the gold leaves for the season –  in Wellington I discover a small oil of a forest – in Paris.

A forest outside Paris, private collection, photograph held in the Aust National Archives

Forest outside Paris, private collection, recorded in the Aust National Archives

The discovery of gold in Paris is at the height of the autumnal season and the post-impressionist canvas brings forward the light and glow of the leaves. It is approximately dated as 1933-34.

Our pilgrimage into the memories of cousins is tiring Mum considerably so we take the days quietly with rest being a precursor to any outing. Today we met with another cousin, Mum commenting how wonderful it would be for them all to meet together at one time. The Wellington cousin suggested they had left there run a bit late as the cousins are all separated through Australia, New Zealand and Ecuador and travelling is far more physically challenging these days for them all. These cousins are all Godfrey’s first nieces and each have moments of meeting, gifts given, their own memorabilia and stories to share. He is said to have talked about sunflowers but I don’t know of any canvases with the flowers; he purchased one sister-in-law a painting by Charles Conder that he chose for her in London at her request; he often shared his philosophies with his nieces providing concrete life examples to aid their thinking through of the ideas; he was particular always about his work and how it was framed making frames himself, including the one above, of the forest near Paris. The frames and inner frames were vital in the composition.

We may not be able to take the road trip to Hawera & Patea (Taranaki region with Mt Taranaki), as it would be a full day trip. We do however have an appointment at Te Papa to view their ‘Nude and the Moon’ that they have kindly agreed to show us despite our very late notice. Another great niece, like me, let us know it was there. It will be interesting to view it, keeping in mind, the Nude and the Moon held by the AGNSW.

We may also have time for a trip to Naenae to John Duthie’s home, Balgownie, currently on the market…but we shall see. This home was where my Grandmother Mera grew up after her mother Isabella died (also mother to Godfrey & Malcolm). Godfrey and all the other Miller children visited their grandparents there and photographs of rowing boats

Waiwhetu Stream below Balgownie, Naenae

on the stream below the house exist in nearly all the cousin’s homes, and if I look carefully, I am told, one of the rowing boats holds Godfrey and Mera. This I will explore when I get home as Godfrey rarely appears in photographs.

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