This painting, for which my daughter, Iphigeneia and her Morgan mare, Pelee, served as models, was inspired in part by a vintage print and in part by Mary Stewart’s novel, The Ivy Tree. For those of you who have never been addicted to Mary Stewart’s literate and evocative — think Daphne du Maurier — suspense stories, The Ivy Tree tells the story of a young woman impersonating someone she resembles, Annabelle, who is presumed dead. Annabelle abandoned her Yorkshire home eight years previously, after falling traumatically in love with a married neighbor. The Ivy Tree was indeed a trysting tree, but in this case not only a place to meet, but more importantly, to leave messages.
Annabelle was a superlative horsewoman; our heroine refuses to mount one. Annabelle was in love with Adam; our heroine tells him that it’s over and has been since she was eighteen. There is a Roman ruin; there is an inheritance; there is danger; there is a desperate ride in a storm and there is the question of whether our heroine is really the disappeared Annabelle after all.
The Old Trysting Tree II, oil on canvas, 12×12, $200.00 USD