Tom Leworthy

The Famous at Nanternis

Lennon and Yoko at Nanternis painting by Tom Leworthy

  LENNON AT NANTERNIS

  ' The Final Snapshot '
  42" X 42" Acrylic on canvas
  Tom Leworthy 1991

This is one of a series of paintings of 'The Famous at Nanternis'. Lennon and Yoko stand outside the chapel at NANTERNIS, a small Victorian village three miles South of New Quay, on the West Coast of Wales, U.K.

This snapshot, taken in 1967, carries all the clues to the time of Lennon's death. The central gravestone of 'Annon', in the graveyard in the back-ground, has his birthdate of October 9, 1940, and, his final day, December 8. Had Lennon the time to pause and observe, he might have noticed the other clues to his own situation. The date on the inscription on the chapel wall reads 1880, and not the actual date of 1867. The time on Yoko's watch has stopped at ten minutes to eleven.

It is ironic that Lennon wears a U.S. Army shirt as a pacifist, only to meet the same end as many of his American contemporaries in Vietnam.

After the painting was completed the two fir trees in the forecourt of the chapel (only one in view) were cut down to the roots. However, out of reach, frequently above Nanternis, large clouds still soar heavenwards.

The notion of mortality is a difficult one to 'take-in', since we can never be quite sure, beyond the facts, or the fear perhaps, that it is in any way real for us. Beyond the fear and speculation, all we have is that we are here. We can avoid most of the speculation by paying a lot of attention to our involvements with everything else. Detached observation may be out of the question, so the best we can do is appreciate the moment, or usually the prospect of past or future moments.
People never stop this inner self-reflection, even after death, and then, as now, enter a dream world. If you could look around you'd see all the clues, if it were not for the fact that the chapel building does seem solid enough, and we can overlook, or not notice, the shadow.