One elegant cat!
There’s always one event, thing, person or place that makes an impact on you at times in your life. When it comes to cars, the E-Type Jaguar fit that bill. In the very early sixties, my family moved from rural New Brunswick, Canada to Rome, Italy. Besides Rome having a very different and exciting culture, the streets were inhabited with a different breed of vehicles – smaller, louder and in very many instances, sleeker.
The first school I attended in Rome was British – St. George’s. From doing all things Canadian, I was now immersed in an Italian culture with strong British overtones. There were, of course, lots of Fiats, Lancias and Alfa Romeos everywhere, but being Europe, plenty of French, German and British cars as well. The one vehicle that stood out, in my newly European cultured mind was the Jaguar E-Type that had only been released into the wild for about a year.
It was as if someone had invented a car for the first time. Here was the sleekest, most exotic vehicle my British-influenced mind had ever seen. Even Enzo Ferrari is reported to have called this car the “most beautiful car ever made”. Powered by the 3.8 litre six-cylinder Jaguar XK6 engine with leather bucket seats, it certainly made more of an impression on me than our own 1963 Opel Record Caravan – but I guess when you get down to it, a little more practical when hauling 5 kids around in Roman traffic.
Every British schoolboy at the time probably knew that the E-Type could do 150 mph, and this probably was the impetus that got me drawing cars in all my most boring classes. In fact, one of my first art college assignments developed into a still life containing – you guessed it – an E-Type Jaguar.
Though all versions of the E-Type are striking, in my mind, the Series 1 iteration seems to be the purest in design, before safety realities and US regulations required changes.
When I was developing my E-Type portrait, 2 things I felt I had to do. First, I felt it needed to be clad in British racing green. At that time in my schoolboy world, my collection of Corgi cars required that British sports cars wear this colour with pride. I am simply carrying on the tradition. Secondly, I felt this elegant Jaguar required an elegant setting. My wandering through the stunning Castle Hill, or Várhegy district of Budapest, Hungary gave me the perfect environment.
I believe my inspiration for automotive art has more than stood the test of time, and always will.
Prints of this painting are available at www.thedrawingroomgallery.com.