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Inspired by George Bouverie Goddard

13 June 2017 by Felicity

The Struggle for Existence, by Goddard, at the Walker

It’s always fantastic to hear from visitors who have been inspired by paintings in our collection. In this blog post, Chris Woodward tells us how a painting by George Bouverie Goddard inspired him to write a play, soon to be performed here in Liverpool.

“I was staring at this beautiful painting in room 9 at the Walker Art Gallery; The Struggle for Existence by George Bouverie Goddard. Goddard is a self-taught animal painter. The painting has a wall solely dedicated to it and rightly so. It’s breathtaking, philosophical and bursting with character. I was taken back by its ruthlessness and the harsh reality of life within the painting, and Goddard captures this brilliantly.

As I sat there taking in the beauty of this painting, it got me thinking that all of us are fighting our own “struggle for existence.”  In this big world that we live in, we all have a desire to make a mark and be a dominant character within our own reality that we have created for ourselves.

This painting sparked an idea and inspired me to write a play which demonstrates one man’s struggle for existence. Looking at life from the unique point of view of Edgar J Harris, a man on his journey to get to the pinnacle of the business world, and to stay on top when he reaches it. The play also delves into the measures Edgar took to survive and exist.

As you observe Goddard’s painting, the ruthlessness, the ambition and the hunger to survive by any means necessary is dominant in the painting. Each wolf is strategically looking for an opportunity to take out his opponent, to make sure they remain the alpha. This is mirrored by the actions of Edgar.

As you look deeper and look at the detail you also see a hawk circling the pack of wolves. This to me represents the idea that behind somebody’s downfall is somebody’s triumph. Like the wolves, the hawk also has its ‘struggle for existence’ – surviving by preying on other animals. All of these characteristics that Goddard presents in Struggle for Existence created Edgar J Harris, the main character in my play. This painting by Bouverie Goddard is the heart and soul of the play.”

The play, titled The Man with no Identity, will be performed at the Casa, 29 Hope Street on 23 June, 8.30pm.

  1. Michele says:

    Great blog and a great play, I saw it at the casa recently. I’d urge anyone to go along and see this play. Chris Woodward is an up and coming playwright with great insight

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