Treemen And A Rev. Rook

“Treemen and a Rev. Rook”, paintmarker and pencil on paper, 297x420mm, Charlie Kirkham 2013.
“Treemen and a Rev. Rook”, paintmarker and pencil on paper, 297x420mm, Charlie Kirkham 2013.

Using studies of Using models Gary, Paul and Tim as a basis for the figures I was also inspired by the Old Oak Tree. The Old Oak Tree on my grandmother’s drive really looked as if it had faces in it, as a child I remember it looming over me, a massive structure in wood. The tree was fairly covered with twisted ivy. There was another old pear tree in my parent’s garden which was so covered in ivy the tree inside had died. I watched it fall down in a storm, watching through the window with my brother. It was an instance where the power of nature reveals itself. There’s something compelling about trees.
The character of the Rev. Rook comes from the children’s nursery rhyme “Who Killed Cock Robin?” There are a few theories about the origin of this folksong / poem, one of which is that it refers to 18th century PM Robert Walpole fall from government. Whatever the origins it has inspired artists for generations.

“Who killed Cock Robin?” “I,” said the Sparrow,
“With my bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin.”
“Who saw him die?” “I,” said the Fly,
“With my little eye, I saw him die.”
“Who caught his blood?” “I,” said the Fish,
“With my little dish, I caught his blood.”
“Who’ll make the shroud?” “I,” said the Beetle,
“With my thread and needle, I’ll make the shroud.”
“Who’ll dig his grave?” “I,” said the Owl,
“With my pick and shovel, I’ll dig his grave.”
“Who’ll be the parson?” “I,” said the Rook,
“With my little book, I’ll be the parson.”
“Who’ll be the clerk?” “I,” said the Lark,
“If it’s not in the dark, I’ll be the clerk.”
“Who’ll carry the link?” “I,” said the Linnet,
“I’ll fetch it in a minute, I’ll carry the link.”
“Who’ll be chief mourner?” “I,” said the Dove,
“I mourn for my love, I’ll be chief mourner.”
“Who’ll carry the coffin?” “I,” said the Kite,
“If it’s not through the night, I’ll carry the coffin.”
“Who’ll bear the pall? “We,” said the Wren,
“Both the cock and the hen, we’ll bear the pall.”
“Who’ll sing a psalm?” “I,” said the Thrush,
“As she sat on a bush, I’ll sing a psalm.”
“Who’ll toll the bell?” “I,” said the bull,
“Because I can pull, I’ll toll the bell.”
All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.

The image of a Wren also came about from looking at this poem and went onto to become Wren in the Woods of the Treemen with Three Goldfish.