|The Ipswich Mermaid, George Courage, Acrylic on canvas 8"x10".|
My husband George Courage painted this mermaid portrait.
The image of a mermaid in a wheelchair is one that's been with him since he was young, growing up in Ipswich, MA. When he was in high school, the drama club produced the play Miranda by Peter Blackmore. (Miranda was made into a film in 1948 starring Glynnis Johns, one of my favorite mermaid films.) The titular mermaid was transported in a wheelchair for the better part of the play and inspired the image. Although the play was set in the 1940's, George loved the idea of a mermaid wearing a Victorian-style dress, and that's how he sketched her as a college student.
This recent version also features a lighthouse in the background. The model for this lighthouse once stood on Crane's Beach in Ipswich. It was moved to Cape Cod in the 1930's and though George never saw it in person, he grew up going to Crane's and heard stories about the lighthouse that used to reside there.
"The Ipswich Mermaid" is currently on display in Salem, MA (along with several other illustration works by George) at the Salem Theatre at 90 Lafayette Street. His work will be on display through December 2014.