A sprained groin keeps me away from Magic Flute rehearsals. Apart from the occasional painful twinge I am best off sitting at the easel; a willing prisoner.
Last month in Florence in Santa Croce's wonderful space I wandered from fresco to fresco. Occasionally a shaft of light picked out the boundaries of the separate areas of plaster prepared for each day's work. Such a patch was called a giornato, the expanse which would have to be painted that day since, in buon fresco, fresh plaster had to be used. Many of such sections were imposingly large, ready for two or three square metres of limbs and complicated folds of drapery. Even the smaller surfaces, enough to encompass a face or two, were substantial.
At the end of today I somewhat ruefully compared my own giornato which measured barely three square inches, less than a thousandth of the area a good professional would have expected to cover six centuries ago.
Suddenly, however, I remembered that only a mile away the team at Capital Scenery was painting 150 square metres or so of my floor design for Act I of The Magic Flute. Also, north of the river, near Red Lion Square, the finishing touches were being put to a mosaic of Cardinal Newman that I designed some years ago for Westminster Cathedral.
So (quantatively at least) honours are, for once, more than even.