It’s the time of year for a Robin picture! So, here is a watercolour I have painted in honour of Christmastide.
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.
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 £180 + P&P. You would be ‘Robbin’ me!’ (Please forgive pun but I can’t resist).
Robin in the Bramble
I was ambling on a ramble
When I heard
Singing soft and clear—
(so dear to hear)
I look up high
in the tree
Atop the reddened bramble
His sanguine breast as red as the deadened leavesLesley Scoble | December 2020
a lonely song
For summer gone
a Robin’s mate
Kissed and missed.
He stops singing.
I wished and wished
he’d carried on.
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?
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!’.
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.
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 faintWalter de la Mare
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.
Seasons greetings from the robin
Keep safe and well