Tim Rakewell and his wife are now in their late forties and their children are grown. They stroll, like Mr And Mrs Andrews in Thomas Gainsborough’s famous portrait of the landed gentry (c. 1750, see p. 44), in the grounds of their mansion in the Cotswolds. They are new money; they can never become upper-class in their lifetime. In the light of the sunset, they watch the old aristocratic stag with its tattered tweed hide being hunted down by the dogs of tax, social change,
upkeep and fuel bills. The old landowning breed is dying out. Tim has his own problems; as a ‘fat cat’ he has attracted the ire of an ‘Occupy’-style protest movement, who camp outside his house. The protester silhouetted between the stag’s antlers refers to paintings of the vision of Saint Hubert, who converted from the leisured life of a nobleman on seeing a vision of a crucifix above the head of a stag.
Text courtesy of the artist.