Visiting “a village in Heaven”
There's a lot more to the River Thames than London. I discovered it as the setting of Biblical scenes, from miracles to Crucifixion, in Cookham, birthplace and home of Sir Stanley Spencer, an English painter. He referred to Cookham as "a village in Heaven" and used people and places from the village to paint the Gospel, lending on occasion Christian teachings an eerie immediacy such as his unfinished Christ Preaching at Cookham Regatta and The Last Supper , which he sets in the Cookham Malt House. Weathervane Crucifix, Cookham
Edna, my Aunt Elaine, and I visited the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham and saw his meadows, moors, magnolia trees, graves and gardens that he used to make a paradise of Cookham, which in reality is no such thing; but there's the greatness of art for you. In London, you can see his Resurrection, Cookham at the Tate Modern, but in Cookham, you can see the local cemetery and church that inspired the painting and imagine the dead awakening to new life bathed with the light of the absolutely everyday. His paintings are so rooted in place and show that he is in love with what he sees.
After visiting the Gallery and graveyard, I was struck by the crosses that I found in the roofscapes of Cookham, as you can see from these 2 sketches.
TV Antenna Crosses, Cookham
Weathervane Crucifix, Cookham