Fay Slimm.




I wish thee to colour her 
in rightful shades.
Portraits without intrigue 
frighten a Lady.

Paint her ambitious 
and thou see her wrong.
Pencil her ugly, 
thy neck may get strung.

Crayon her wistful 
and that may'st not fit.
Pastel her jealous 
and thou wilt regret it.

Sketch her romantic 
and thou draweth near.
Colour her lovely 
and thou needst not fear.

Portraits commissioned 
by patron's contrivance
meant artists were paid
if they portrayed wisely.     

  • Author: Fay Slimm. (Offline Offline)
  • Published: October 5th, 2022 11:07
  • Comment from author about the poem: I imagine the artist in days gone by was given instructions by the patron on painting his Lady and have versed what I think he might have said to the crafter of truth before he even lifted his brush. Hope you enjoy.
  • Category: Unclassified
  • Views: 41
  • User favorite of this poem: Doggerel Dave.


  • Bella Shepard

    I can imagine the smile that must have crossed the artist's lips as he listened to the patron's instructions. Your description dear Fay, I think is spot on. Truly enjoyed!

    • Fay Slimm.

      Your comment shows our minds think alike on this subject dear Bella - - - thanking you muchly for your perceptive comment.

    • Neville

      I for one didn't just enjoy it, but rather, I thoroughly enjoyed it my dear lady Fay ..................... x

      • Fay Slimm.

        And I for another do not just feel pleased but thoroughly pleased at your welcome comment my dearest Sir Nev...........................x

      • MendedFences27

        This was the truth of those times, no doubt. Artists weren't free to express themselves, especially on "commissioned" portraits. I think you've described the quandary an artist would be in when doing so. A lovely look back at times of yore. _ Phil A,

        • Fay Slimm.

          How right you are in that artists of that time had their hands tied by those who commissioned a portrait - - - love the word "quandry" you used as it fits so well the position they would have been put in by wealthy patrons -- - thanks for dropping by for a read Phil.

        • Doggerel Dave

          I believe (no, not believe – am certain) you are right, Fay. I like galleries and have visited some big ‘uns. Really enjoy the atmosphere as well as some of the works. But as I shuffle through rooms full of notables high on one of the past’s social heaps towards something interesting, your truth is pretty evident. Possibly the only saving grace is that it would be one of the best clues as to bygone attire of the rich and %@&#* prior to the advent of photography.
          Your well structured piece has nailed it nicely.

          • Fay Slimm.

            Yep the wealthy held sway and had their say then when jingling the coppers at poor but talented artists methinks Dave - and as you rightly state we can deduce this with a visit to any large gallery - - -pity the poor holder of those oily brushes if they made any move to paint some Lady or Lord just how they were eh? - great to have your views on the verse and thanking you muchly my friend.

          • hotidris

            Magnificent poem about the portraits being commisioned by the patron's contrivance.

            • Fay Slimm.

              I am so glad you liked the read my poet-friend.

              • hotidris

                I'm really glad that I read your poem.

              • crypticbard

                Brings back that scene from Girl With the Pearl Earring wherein the patron was insistent upon Vermeer as to how the commissioned painting should result. The feel captured in this poem is equally if not more explosive and creates that cognitive tension as to whom the creative onus issues from - the patron/Muse (however contrived that may seem) or the artist/scribe? Good going Fay!

                • Fay Slimm.

                  Yes I remember the reference well when Vermeer was told how to express his paint in that instance - - thanks Rik sharing the point the verse tried to make about portraits and how real they portrayed in those days or yore before the advent of cameras.

                • orchidee

                  Good write Fay.
                  Sometimes the patron or artist appears in a small corner of the painting, even maybe with his/her little dog!

                  • Fay Slimm.

                    They do indeed appear in some corners of portraits dear Orchi - am glad you raised that point.

                  • Violet bluebell( used to be yellow rose)

                    An interesting read fay 🙂

                    • Fay Slimm.

                      I am so pleased you enjoyed the read of Commissioned dear Violet.

                    • Hollow Enigma

                      For me, I get to read something most people only feel. It's the telling of obsession and glamorous happiness. He has to see the beauty he sees in his mind on his wall because he has so much happiness from only her existence. The knowing of the fact that love exists and he gets to hold it. A great job and such a great poem!!

                      • Fay Slimm.

                        Thank you for this thoughtful and empathic view of the reasons for a patron's' insistence of portrait compliance - - insistence on beauty seen in the mind is an aspect of love I for one take on board and am grateful you stopped by for a read.

                      • SureshG

                        For a few coppers the painter intently listened, for his craft was hired not to paint the reality but what the patron visioned, that your words have so hauntingly penned for us all to immensely enjoy.

                        • Fay Slimm.

                          Grateful thanks Suresh for this very perceptive comment - I wholly agree that was how wealthy patrons hired the crafters to paint portraits in the days of yore -

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