Audiobook - Dark Shadows: The Blind Painter

Dark Shadows The Blind Painter

Our own painter, Susan Omand, discovers The Blind Painter in another instalment of Dark Shadows from Big Finish...

It’s 1920 and the artist Charles Delaware Tate is in an asylum. A new nurse visits him and asks about his art, because it seems Charles can still paint despite being blind. After talking about his blindness, the nurse, Jesamine, asks Tate to make a painting her, which triggers a memory of someone he used to know. She asks him to tell her about this person whilst doing the painting.

The flashback goes back to 1893, New York and Tate was a struggling artist who met a woman, Eloise Verinda, at a gallery. She takes a look at some of his works, is impressed by them and commissions Tate to do a portrait of her, much to his surprise. Tate agrees to begin the portrait the following evening. He finds he paints her incredibly well and she tells him to keep it as a sample of his work in order to get further commissions, however he finds that, unless it is Eloise he is painting, he cannot paint at all.

A few weeks pass by the time Tate next met with Eloise and, when he reveals his recent humiliation to her, Eloise suggests that he should paint her again in order to put his theory to the test of her being his muse. He readily agrees and completes a portrait that Eloise thinks is even better than the first. This confirms his theory and Eloise says she knows of a way that Tate can paint others the way he paints her because she can give him the gift permanently. He agrees and Eloise does as she said. Much to his joy Tate can now see beauty in everything around him. However everything comes at a price, as he is soon to find out....

As an artist myself, I really enjoyed this storyline as I understand the feeling of elation when you capture something in art and it works, so I empathised with Tate’s need to create and the panic when he thinks that is taken away. I also really enjoyed the initial twist on the story which, having recently listened to the Quentin Collins stories, I was, I admit, somewhat expecting. However the twist near the end came as a bolt out of the blue and was incredibly shocking, made even more stark by the resignation in Tate’s voice as he realises he is fated by a curse.

The acting was, as ever, sublime and I was really interested to read, in my research for doing the review, that Roger Davis, who played Tate, had come back to the role after more than 40 years to do this recording and it was very nice to hear Nicola Bryant back using an American accent.

I’ll be interested to find out more about Charles Tate, hear more about the paintings, the sitters and the curse that caused all this initially.

Image - Big Finish.

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