The Toilets


Oil on gesso panel

18.5 x 16.5 inches (47 x 42 cm)

Tom the Caretaker was utterly bemused by my presence here, set up with my easel and paints. "You're not really painting in here are you?"

There were lots of toilets around the school. I loved the pipework and the kind of iconography of a communal loo. Also the sheer utilitarian quality of the room.  Besides that I think it's fair to say that a significant proportion of time is spent here by everyone. We're all very familiar with this type of room, this look, because we kind of gaze about it absently while there. But we don't take many photographs of it. And in 200 years this may well be one of the few images of such a place. Of course they may be exactly the same, but I think we've made some progress since 1812.

On the (very) few occasions I was left in charge of a class there was always someone who immediately asked to go the toilet. I was fool enough to let the first couple go. They rarely returned. I was obviously a soft target.

All text and images © Blaise Smith 2017