• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 02
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My Last Duchess

Great movie stars convey emotions, even decisions, through their eyes. They say looking into Garbo's eyes was like looking down long corridors – you could see endless thoughts and feelings – doors opening and closing to infinity. That's how I felt about Duchess's huge and heavy-lidded eyes. I copied them in stone, almost without needing to look at them. My fingers remembered.

Of course I wanted more from the stone but I still got closer to my vision than I ever had before. Carrara Marble – the heaviest stone I've yet worked with – yet you could barely believe it's resting on a plinth. Instead, she seems to be reaching down from the sky, tentatively nibbling grass or sipping water she can barely reach.

I caress those delicate, articulate ears. No-one else is allowed to – even Carrara Marble can be worn away. Her ears are flattened – but not in fear. It's as if she were alive.

The owners of the farm are carrying out their threat to sell the fields. The horse sanctuary is finished. Those of us who loved Duchess can only go to my work for comfort.

I couldn't have my favourite suffering.