ILLUSTRATOR: CLOAK OF PROTECTION
9 April 1947 – 23 August 2020
As a child, in St Helens, Morgan had his own natural history museum, in the garden shed. His friend Harry Friar remembers “The museum would always have a centerpiece as the main attraction: a sparrow’s skull; an owl pallet; cow horns.
“His dad used to bring them [the cow horns] home and we would leave them in the garden until there was only a shell left. We would walk around with them over our shoulder tied with a piece of string. We must have been bubonic plague carriers, they didn’t half smell.”
His house on the Kapiti Coast was full of reconstructed skeletons, and his garden was full of buried skeletons. Different country / same habits!
He was recruited to NZ, as a wallpaper designer, around 1980. He impressed John Callwood, of Ashley Wallpapers, with his design experience, his phenomenal charm, and (most importantly) his love of Folk Music.
Their band Sasana played at the launch of Cloak of Protection, at the Mahara Gallery, 21 Jan, 2012.
I’d gone to find him after seeing an exhibition of his illustrations at the Paraparaumu Library. His airbrush work was magical. Whether he was illustrating wildlife or whether he was illustrating fantasy, he knew these creatures from the inside out . . .
. . .what I did not know, but was to learn, was that Morgan only ever did one thing or the other.
In all aspects of his life, Morgan was a contrary combination of opposites – as if he viewed life through slits in opposing walls.
He would take a position to view through one slit, on a mission to illustrate and/or defend this spot to the death. Then he would cross to an opposite wall and take a sighting through its slit.
When I asked him to do both (wildlife and fantasy) on the same project, he was excited (he loved sets), but he was also flummoxed. He had no way to see through both window slits at once!?
Given time, Morgan eventually worked out a way. . .it was to be one of his proudest achievements. He was (as Harry says) ‘a talented git’.
75 air-brush illustrations. This was his BIG completed project. It was the piece of work which he declared himself most proud. He had made his mark!
The game has been so successful, that earlier this year we meet to discuss a new edition.
Whither he goes, through which-ever slit through which he watches the world, and where-ever he sits, may his glass always be full, and may his elbow always find a place to lean.
His beloved Liverpool, won the EPL title, for the first time, this year. He rests a happy man.