As anyone who's read my Japanese print blogmost likely knows, I was incredibly fortunate in having Jack Hillier as my mentor. He was a scholar and a gentleman and a very dear friend. I can't even begin to count the ways in which knowing him impacted, and continues to impact, upon my life. Well, a wonderful thing happened today. I was attending a book signing for 'The Wonderful Demise of Benjamin Arnold Guppy' at Waterstone's in Wells, which is about an hour from my home, when a couple approached and asked about the book. We got talking, and I mentioned that my last book had been about Japanese art. The gentleman asked if I knew of Jack Hillier, as he was Mr Hillier's nephew. Given the fact that I do not live in Wells, the couple (Martin and Gill) do not live there either, and the Hilliers lived in Surrey, what are the chances of us meeting at a book signing in Wells for a book that has nothing whatsoever to do with Japanese art, when we were all there for only one day? Consider the size of the country, if not the world, and the number of people in it... the possible locations that either one of us could have been in. And yet, there we were together.
There isn't a day goes by that I don't miss Jack and Mary Hillier... wonderful people who were part of a wonderful family. They are always in my thoughts, but have been even more so these few months as I'm working on another Japanese print project and refer to Jack Hillier's notes often. I was quite overwhelmed today, and the meeting made this particular signing so very special.
The photograph is one of Jack Hillier at his home in Surrey. It's how I shall always remember him... happy, enthusiastic, vibrant, and having a jolly good laugh.
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