Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Draft List of Plates for 'Liber Studiorum' Parts 1-7' circa 1808

Joseph Mallord William Turner
Draft List of Plates for 'Liber Studiorum' Parts 1-7 circa 1808
Pencil on paper
support: 89 x 110 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

I’ve been pestered left right and centre by over-organised family members wanting to know what I want for Christmas. No longer is it ok to discover what you might have got sat under the tree with genuine surprise. “The list” must now be made earlier and earlier, so that other family members can execute their Christmas like a military skirmish. Responses such as “I’m not sure”, or “Ummm, I’ll have a think” to the question of “What do you want for Christmas?” are welcomed with scowling usually saved for the uninvited aunt at Boxing Day lunch.

Finally succumbing to the pressure, I put some time aside this week to have a think what it was that I actually wanted. I glanced down on my scribbles; an identical replacement for my soon to run out foundation, socks to replace the millions of pairs that seem to disappear between the washing machine and the drawer, some fancy towels (yes there were actual towels on there). This was truly a sad state of affairs, definitely time for a rethink.

This Christmas, my official list that will be farmed out to family members like an unwanted petition features things that I actually want. Things that I would never buy for myself, things where half the fun is the packaging and things that make a cold Wednesday evening with no good TV seem just a bit more bearable. These things:

Dried wild mushrooms
Foie gras pate
Champagne
Yellow gold oolong leaf tee
Hand-roasted coffee
A bottle of Henriques and Henriques Madeira
Artisan honey

So this is my list, now I’ll just have to wait and see. What’s going on “the list” this year for you?

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