By Heidi Trautmann……
Many friends and contemporaries of William Dreghorn had come together on the opening evening at the ArtRooms in Girne, Turkish Cypriot friends as well as British friends. He died in 2001, that was when we started building the house, and he was one of ‘the important things’ one learnt about Cyprus. I have never met him but have later written about some activities around his work initiated by the Dept of Antiquity, i.e. Prof. Dr. Müge Şefketoglu who knew him from childhood years and followed him – literally – with sketchbook and pen, and it is also her to whom I directed my questions when I was approached by collectors – the one in South Africa, the other in Los Angeles on the basis of my articles on my website; thus we received information of sketches and paintings which were not in the Cyprus collection. Internet the great communicator.
Dr. Sibel Siber said at the opening ….it is to honour William Dreghorn who has done so much for this country; she also wrote the introduction in the English and Turkish catalogue of his work which is a common effort of governmental and private initiatives.
Many buildings, images of streets and archaeological details would no longer be available to us if it was not for William Dreghorn. Also Erbil Arkin of the Arkin Group shared some private memories with us. Among the distinguished guests was also his doctor who sat by his side at the very end; even then he was asking for paper and pen to draw some things from memory, he told me.
To see some of the articles I have written about the work of William Dreghorn please click on the links below:
Castle Sketch Book by William Dreghorn – click here
A painting of St Hilarion by William Dreghorn – click here
William Dreghorn in Bellapais – click here
The exhibition itself was beautifully prepared by Oya Silbery, the director of the gallery; she had welcomed the guests on the lower terrace of ‘The House’. It was one of those melting tropical nights under a Mediterranean sky when you don’t want to go home and as I was moving from one group to another I heard all the stories people brought up from times when places like Girne and Famagusta were deserted and a man sitting for hours and sketching and painting away – Bill Dreghorn loved the Old Harbour in Girne – would catch everyone’s eye.
There is a permanent exhibition in the castle – and what would Bill Dreghorn say if he could see Girne today – he would turn in his grave. Yes, things have changed, especially these last ten years. We have somehow lost the patience to observe the details, and this is a good occasion to call that into our minds, with the beautifully drawn pictures of so many parts of our island, an old alley in the Old City, a fountain, a door or the stone works on a building, they are drawn not only for the love of detail but with his heart; you immediately feel at home when looking at them closely and you want to go and find them in reality.
A big thank you for the organisers to share these moments on paper with us. The exhibition will be open until September 09 from midday on until midnight.