It came from the direction of Dunstable in the North, flying over my house towards London in the South, and knew exactly where it was going. As it flew nearer I could hear the rhythmic beating of it's wings, and felt suddenly uplifted, and charged with a feeling of immense happiness, as though something wonderful was about to happen.
I felt moved to research the possible significance of seeing a Solitary Flying Swan.
There were such amazing things to discover. Several salient points of interest caught my immediate attention. A Swan can be regarded by some as a Totem, sometimes a personal one, bearing messages from the likes of Angels. I also learned of the existence of the Dunstable Swan Jewel, excavated in 1965 from the site of the old Dunstable Friary, where it had lain hidden since the fourteenth century, worn rather as a Livery badge than a piece of Jewellery in those times.
Today it has a permanent home in the British Museum in London, where it can be marvelled at for all time. A most rare and exquisite piece, expertly crafted in solid gold, and covered with white enamel feathers. Such a unique, historical find to inspire my imagination for this painting, already rapidly forming in my mind.
Another interesting fact is that both my Swan and the Jewel are the Mute variety, a species which enjoy longevity, and mate for life.
Now complete, this painting is probably my most thoughtful work so far. I have surrounded the design with a Celtic knot border, into which the chain securing the crown worn round the neck of the Jewel Swan is linked, creating a seamless border.. no beginning..no end. Forget me Nots and a sprig of fresh flowering Rosemary for Remembrance are significantly woven into the front border. The Whipsnade chalk Lion in the hills beyond, gives a clue to location. Blows Downs and the Bluebell Wood are represented on the horizon, top left . High in the sky my Swan is flying across a new moon.
Luna, my Tortoiseshell Cat, named after the Goddess of the moon, expresses my own wonderment of the scene, and how it came to be.
I think it is possible that both swans may share the same Spirit; or at least during the time from when I conceived and worked on this painting.
The chances of seeing that flying Swan at that particular second in time were less than one in a million. In over 60 years I have never noticed one flying over my house before, nor have I seen it since. It just took the one second in time. This painting is my interpretation of his message, so joyfully received.
Lesley Anne Ivory, 2021