Our Days Were a Joy and Our Paths Through Flowers

© the artist / Bridgeman Images. Image credit: Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives

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David Inshaw painted this enigmatic and compelling image in less than two months for an exhibition at the Arnolfini. It was partly inspired by Thomas Hardy's poems about the spirits of those buried in a churchyard living on through the plants and trees, 'Pentargon Bay'. The girl was a ceramics student at Bristol Art School: 'I felt her face perfectly reflected her sweet nature… I thought if anybody had the right to live on and on, as Hardy described, Gillian's nature must survive… I was very sad when I painted it'.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery



Our Days Were a Joy and Our Paths Through Flowers




oil on canvas


H 135.9 x W 212.1 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1972

Work type



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