Conkers (25 x 50cm) oil on panel –SOLD–

As a boy I picked up conkers from the woods and gardens around my home. The ‘conker’ is the seed of a horse chestnut tree and can be used to play a traditional game called “conkers”. Threaded onto a piece of string, opponents take turn to strike each other’s conker until one breaks. Victorious you gain the opponent’s tally, “a two-er”. Overall shape was important and my favorites were always “cheesers” or “cheesecuters” which have one or more flat sides and sharp edges to do some real damage.

To get your hands on the top quality conkers was not easy task and usually involved a covert mission on a misty morning and trespassing. Situated in the private grounds of artist Ralph Steadman’s home was a tree that produced the most wonderful conkers. Unfortunately it also meant a mad dash without cover across 50 meters of lawn. Missions were often thwarted by an encounter with Mrs. Steadman and her school bell.

The conker pod opens very easily to reveal a beautiful white casing with the appearance and cleanliness of fresh paint or sliced apple. The conker inside is polished to perfection like a brand new pair of brogue shoes, a rich dark red. This brilliance is fleeting, momentary and fades so quickly, lost either to the touch of grubby hands or air as it begins rotting casing to a brown colour.