Still Life with Blackbirds

A remote island in the Hebrides and a lost, ancient bowl, a bowl that legend has it, possesses power over life and death. An archaeological dig is close to unearthing it but who will get there first – the archaeologist with no name who has come to claim it or the hundreds of restless black birds who have been guarding it for centuries. One man has already been murdered because of it and as the storm gets closer, the birds are restless; the race to find the bowl becomes a race against time itself.

Still Life with Blackbirds was a collaboration with the Cotswold artist Richard Kenton Webb. We’d worked together before in Listen, but sometime in 2013 he sent me a series of thirteen drawings that needed someone to tell their story. The drawings showed the very clear narrative of a murder and a series of landscapes which formed the backdrop for the crime so there was a narrative of sorts already in place but the rest was up to me. Once we had the Corinium Museum in Cirencester on board, a really beautiful museum in the heart of the Cotswolds established within a Roman Villa I found within the museum the grave of an Anglo Saxon princess. In my story she became an Iron Age girl who is protecting a priceless bowl which is the object of the protagonist’s quest in the story.

Still Life with Blackbirds was published as part of an exhibition in the Corinium Museum in September 2014 and then as a limited edition signed book by Artists’ Choice Editions in 2015.