This painting benefited in particular from the plien aire study “Gaillac and the river Tarn” (see below)
which helped with the artist recall the subtle secretive pink’s. Those pink colours are subtle, photography even using the best cameras, has difficulty reproducing the pinks and the sheer brilliance of the scene, so typical of the luminous colours of summer in south west France.
The old quarters of Gaillac are one of the finest examples of an unspoiled South Western French town, barely on the ‘tourist trail’ here you can experience strong echos of the atmosphere of 17 th 18th and 19th century France.
The history of Gaillac is a long one intimately linked to navigation of the river Tarn.
The original village would have been founded and easily defended between two fresh water streams that flow into a deep pool at the navigable head of the river Tarn.
An ideal site for a bronze age village.
The wines and the district are known as ‘Gaillac’ as opposed to ‘Albi’ or ‘the Tarn’ almost certainly because early traders would have preferred to arrive by water so if asked “where to?” would have replied “I’m bound for Gaillac“.
Gaillac is as far as one could navigate until 1820 when the river bed was cleared of rocks as far as Albi.
There is evidence of at least 4 different quay’s at Gaillac, 3 above the present weir, one at the Abbaye (built on the site of a Gaulish temple), a long quay under the Medievieal walls and a third on the opposite bank where the old Roman road arrives via the property of Charles Octave Le Comte de Noblet d’Anglure who generously gave me a comprehensive tour and unrestricted access to his family land opposite Gaillac,
The weir for long centuries could be passed via a lock to the deep water pool above. I found maps dating back 250 years that showed a lock.
I’d bet on there being much earlier evidence in the archives and maybe the soil.
Archaeologists and local traditions assure us the phoneticians navigated to Gaillac and planted vines long before the Romans arrived.
The Tarn was the frontier between the vast Roman Province of Narbonne and the Gauls for over 300 years.
Inevitably the Romans over ran the North bank and made the region famous for more than wine, for pottery, corn, timber and pastel dyes.
The location has inspired several Gordon Frickers paintings, most notably the remarkable “Port of Gaillac 1863”
painted for the wine museum at Broze, Gaillac.
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Gordon Frickers © 23,02,16, updated 05.03.16, 18.12.2017