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All that remains of us is Love

Philip Larkin poem Arundel tomb

There is a tomb in Chichester Cathedral called the Arundel Tomb. It shows a powerful and influential couple from 700 years ago, but their faces have faded with time and their achievements forgotten. Then one notices that the Knight has removed his glove and is tenderly holding his wife's hand. All that now represents this couple is their love. Perhaps love is all that connects us and is all that remains after us? This was the subject of a Philip Larkin poem and part of the inspiration of this drawing.

I wanted to keep faithful to Larkin's poem so included references to the people moving past the tomb over the centuries, the sun streaming in through the window and the birds. I have added the idea of the couple moving towards the light. The circle of light contains nothing, like the figures, which is reflecting the Buddhist concept of 'nothingness'. When we die, we lose all attachments including the idea of self and thought. Everything we did, good or bad, will be forgotten as it is impermanent. We no longer exists as an individual. But when one lets go of the 'self' and all our worldly attachments, we return to the state where only love remains. We do this at death, but we can also do it now.

Philip Larkin poem Arundel tomb
Acrylic and charcoal on paper.

Larkin poem Arundel tomb
Acrylic on paper.

Arundel tomb
Ink, charcoal and acrylic on paper.

Larkin poem
Ink, charcoal and acrylic on paper.

ink drawing on handmade paper
Ink on handmade paper.

Arundel tomb poem by Larkin
Sketch of the Arundel tomb poem by Larkin.

Sketch of the Arundel tomb in Chichester Cathedral. Charcoal and ink wash on paper.

Study of the Arundel tomb.

Study of the tomb and the Philip Larkin poem.

Philip Larkin poem