The Sky Suspended
Sun 04th Mar 2012 at 20:24:10
Box canvas 72 x24” (180 x 60 cm)


Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth’s foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

Alfred Edward Housman

This is the crucial moment in the story.

At the farm, Hazel is pinned down by the cat (Can you run? - hissed the cat - I think not).
Underground, in the Honeycomb, Bigwig faces the General and stands his ground, gaining precious time for Hazel’s plan to take place.
After running for his life in the farmyard, Dandelion has gained some terrain on Bob, the farm Labrador, and is now leading him towards Watership, running down the field on the right side of the lane.

And on the horizon, the mighty expanse of Watership Down itself, standing against the morning sky, with the rabbits’ wood on the top.

This is the one chance throughout the whole story to depict it as it appears in reality. Its name has become the title of the novel. We thought it deserved to be shown to the readers too, almost as another silent character, the very place around which the lives of the rabbits unfold.

I promised Richard I would paint his Watership Down on canvas and here it is!
With my personal tribute to him: his faint impression in the clouds, looking down at his beloved landscape.

Part four: Hazel-rah
From Chapter 47: The Sky Suspended

By kind permission of Richard Adams

…Dandelion slipped along to another crack, gathered himself a moment and then broke cover, running across the yard to the opposite shed. It was open-fronted and he went straight through to the boarding along the back. There was a gap under the broken end of a board and here he crept into the field beyond. The dog, following, thrust its head into the gap and pushed, barking with excitement. Gradually the loose board levered open like a trapdoor until it was able to force its way through.
Now that he had a better start, Dandelion kept in the open and ran down the field to the hedge beside the road. He knew he was slower, but the dog seemed slower, too.

- Aldo Galli -