Each year for his wife's birthday birthday, Shadbolt made her a watercolour that, given their great relationship, seemed always to embody the best and most intimate aspects of his work as an artist. This exceptionally fine painting has the same intensity and touching grace that his annual tributes to his wife have. It is both dramatic and private, rich in detail, but with an overall sense of unity. The imaginary hieroglyphics hint at a message that we want to translate or understand, yet we know, almost instinctively, that the message will be a poem whose meaning will only pose further enigmas or mysteries.
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