If you walk due west of the Windmill on Wimbledon Common, down the wooded incline, you’ll stumble upon a sizeable lake, Queensmere. It’s quite deep and weedy. As a child, I was always warned against swimming there with tales of expert swimmers, caught by their feet, entangled and dragged to their death. I always suspected that it was more than the weeds, that there were creatures under the water who wanted to draw you under. There is a suspenseful stillness about that place that has one imagining something might break the surface at any moment.
I believe that the lake was created to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and that prior to that time it had been a popular location in the 1830’s for duels. But I always associate the lake with my father, not a duellist, but a keen runner. I remember running round the lake with him or going for walks there. That’s what made me want to record this place we shared and give it to him as a painting to remind him of our times there together. So I went and sat there with the paintbox and my memories and made my first field painting. In situ.