Little Robin in the Bramble

It’s the time of year for a Robin picture! So, here is a watercolour I have painted in honour of Christmastide.

Robin in the Bramble | Watercolour 250 x 130 cm | Lesley Scoble

I was taking a walk on an RSPB nature reserve at the close of Autumn when a lone Robin’s clear song drew my gaze to one of my favourite little birds declaring (and perhaps lamenting) the end of summer.

I adore robins and have attempted to interpret in this watercolour my sighting of this particular bird.

Watercolour for Sale

The picture size is 250 x 130 cms and is painted on gorgeous Somerset paper with an overall dimension of 380 x 280 cm (important info when mounting and framing). This artwork is available for sale. Contact me and the watercolour could be winging its way to you with (as a bonus) a signed copy of the poem! For a meagre price of £280 + P&P. You would be ‘Robin’ me!’ (Please forgive pun but I can’t resist).

Robin in the Bramble

I was ambling on a ramble
When I heard
 a bird
nearby,
Singing soft and clear—
(so dear to hear)

Looking up—
I see up high,
in the tree
Atop the reddened bramble
A robin

His sanguine breast as red as the deadened leaves
Chirring
a lonely song
For summer gone
He grieves—
of late,
a Robin’s mate
Kissed and missed.

He stops singing.
I wished and wished
he’d carried on.

Lesley Scoble | December 2020

The Seasonal Robin

The Robin symbolises Christmastide. But why?
Robins live in the UK all year round, so why specifically does the little red Robin mean so much at Christmas?

Victorian Robins

Postmen in Victorian Britain wore red-breasted uniforms and acquired the nick-name ‘robin’. Victorian ‘postys’ were known and referred to as ‘robins’. The Robin therefore signified a Victorian postal worker or equivalent ‘Postman Pat’. And became a sign of chirpy Christmas greeting postal delivery. So, I suppose our nineteenth century ancestors might have said, ‘Oh the Robin is late again!’ or ‘The robin knocks twice’ or ‘Robin Pat and his black and white cat!’.

Religious Myth

A Robin is supposed to have settled on Christ’s shoulder when he was being crucified. The little bird sang to alleviate Jesus’s pain and suffering. Blood dripped from the crown of thorns on to the robin and stained its chest. Ever since that day all robins were to inherit the red-breast—male and female alike.

Robin Orange-Breast

In truth the colour of the Robin’s chest isn’t red at all! It’s orange! But when the Robin was given its name, there wasn’t a word for orange in the English language. So, it was called red. The identifying word for orange didn’t arrive in usage until the 16th century when the orange fruit gave the colour its name. Therefore the robin (if you wanted to be pedantic) should be Robin orange-breast!

Walter de la Mare

I have always liked Walter de la Mares poem SNOW and here I quote a few lines from it that I think expresses the little robin so eloquently.

Till pale and faint
At shut of day,
Stoops from the West
One wintry ray.
And, feathered in fire,
Where ghosts the moon,
A Robin shrills
His lonely tune.

Walter de la Mare
Robin Orange-Breast | Photo: Lesley Scoble

Seasons greetings from the robin

Keep safe and well

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