One of the heartening things about the renovations at The Izaak Walton Inn is that a completely new pub-sign, featuring the great man himself, has been created.
Painted on both sides, and slightly embossed, it shows Izaak facing us, with, behind him, a broad river, where a man in the distance is fly-fishing. According to Wikipedia, the story is that Izaak fished in the nearby River Blithe (where you can still get trout to this day).
The two sides are slightly different, but only in details.
What is striking though is that the artist has not copied the former pub-sign exactly, but appears to have Izaak looking younger than in the old pub-sign. Izaak doesn’t look 80 years of age, as in the old pub-sign, but more like 60 years-old.
Yes – to us, Izaak looks younger in the new pub-sign!
In fact, Izaak Walton himself lived to a great age, only dying when he was 89 years old, in 1683.
His most famous piece of writing, his book about fishing ‘The Compleat Angler’, was first published in 1653, when he was just turning 60.
Is it possible the artist preferred to paint the great man at an age when his most famous book was arriving on the English literary scene?
Unfortunately, we can’t actually ask the artist. Kathy Morton, the pub’s manager, says the work was sub-contracted out to a professional firm – and they did not tell her who the artist was…