Sunday, April 18, 2010
The first event for which we helped the Chadwick family has come to be known as Errant Walker (2004). It was spurred by an invitation from Grizedale, an English arts organization that explores the legacy of English Romanticism, especially the persistence of its images. After some research, we discovered the very real possibility that the Johnnie Walker Company’s striding man logo—with us day and night as we stroll any urban center—was, though uncredited, in fact based on a sketch of Chadwick Dalton done by the English novelist and travel writer William Beckford.
In retrospect it may have been a mistake to have informed the Chadwicks of our discovery, since before we could complete the research members of the family (Torrent Chadwick and Chadwick Dalton—two of the most active and, frankly, most difficult Chadwicks, biographies of whom precede the text of Errant Walker) were in New York ready to press a poorly formed legal case. Or, at least they were ready to find suitable lodgings from which they could stroll the New York avenues. In fact they soon seemed far more interested in the myriad questions bound up with the selection of their living quarters than in those of their legal case. On one of the afternoons in which they toured downtown Manhattan, debating about how some of the largest, most ostentatious condominiums then under construction might be tricked out into the kind of elaborate, exotic fantasy dens they saw as their imperial birth right, the transcript of this debate was, thankfully, preserved by their man servant, Smithson.