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This picture was painted for the 30th Aldeburgh Festival where it was included in an exhibition subtitled 'An artist's response to the music of Benjamin Britten'. Nolan was a friend of Britten and this work was inspired by the composer's opera 'Peter Grimes'. This is based on an 1810 poem by George Crabbe which is set in Aldeburgh. Grimes, a villainous fisherman, kills his apprentices through ill-treatment and eventually is forbidden to keep apprentices. Subsequently he is driven insane by guilt and dies. This painting depicts Grimes's second apprentice who died after falling from a cliff into the sea. He is shown here floating among the fishes, still wearing his fisherman's anchor-embroidered jersey.

August 2004