by Alan Langford
In his book, WELGORA, Alan Langford writes about growing up in the New Forest, where his fascination for horses and the Romani people started when he lived with his family in a caravan at Drapers Copse, Dibden.
Alan’s instinct to draw and paint began with childhood attempts to copy a horse’s head from the comic, The Robin, then developed when as a young man working at Peko Mines, Australia, he decorated the walls of his fellow workmates’ huts with paintings of Amazonian beauties. It continues today with Alan a full time artist and member of the Society of Equestrian Artists.
The book is illustrated with more than a hundred sketches, watercolours and large oils on canvas. Scenes from the Welgoras (Romani horse fairs) provide the subjects of some of his most powerful paintings where he truly achieves ‘the illusion of movement that compels me to paint.’
About the Author
Alan Langford was born in Hampshire in the early 1950s when his family decided to emigrate to Australia under the popular immigration scheme after the Second World War. In spite of the benefits of life in Australia his father suffered with homesickness and they returned to England after three years. In much depleted circumstances the family lived in a caravan at Drapers Copse, Dibden, on the edge of the New Forest. Alan writes, ‘It was there that I met my first Romani gypsies. They were a tough lot, and their toughness became most apparent during the winter of 1962-1963. Everyone on that caravan camp had a hard time that winter.’ Alan attended the local junior and secondary schools, but his main interests were the New Forest ponies and drawing and painting. After leaving school Alan went to Australia where he took on all manner of unskilled work, ending up working at a steel works and then a mine. When he returned to England he took work at Fawley Refinery on the edge of the New Forest, and after a full day at work studied art at night school. There he met his wife, Janet, who is also an artist, painting wildlife and natural scenes in miniature. In time Alan found a full time job as an illustrator and later became a freelance comic strip artist, working on Warlord and 2000 AD/. Eventually he took the big step of becoming a self-employed full-time artist and pursued his passion for horses and the Romani way of life, painting outdoors whenever he could. Alan is a member of the Society of Equestrian Artists.