Hamiltons of Pelham

The Mustards are the family that frequent Sam's pieces. Read their story:


Ernest Hemmingway Mustard lives on the Brighton/Hove border with his dear lady wife Violet and Doris, their rather grumpy, portly Jack Russell.


Mr. Mustard is a kind, simple soul:  a professional tuneless hummer who dabbles in hurricane prediction.  Violet, the dear lady wife, is slightly stern seldom smiles, but is a devil for the Gypsy Creams.  Although he doesn’t quicken her pulse like a slightly damp Mr. D’Arcy, Ernest is a fairly reliable and generous husband who will bring her a bar of Pry’s Chocolate Cream and bunches of flowers from other people’s gardens.  She got a whole trough of bizzie lizzies once, and asked no questions.


Doris (her majesty) likes nothing more than to lie in front of the fire with a tin of evaporated milk for company, but reluctantly accompanies the Mustards out of the house when she knows their pockets are filled with humbugs.  Of a weekend they walk on the Downs, and have met with a lovely friend.  Her long eyelashes, swanlike neck and elfin figure (disguised by her thick woolen coat) make one think of Audrey Heburn reborn as a sheep.  Audrey would simply adore to live with the Mustards, but they have such a small back yard, and what would the neighbours think? 


Mr. Mustard has taken it upon himself to broaden the horizons of his pet goldfish and, although it looks a little daft, he brings him on walks.  Sometimes Rover, a melancholy fish with tunnel vision and a not-so-enquiring mind, has just started to come out of himself and looks forward to his trips into the “big wide world of walking things”.


Horace Duck and Curiosity Cat live down the way.  They often follow Mr. Mustard about as they know he carries a secret stash of Spam to tide Doris over until teatime. 


In fact, Mr. Custard is so often out wandering the streets with his menagerie that his wife is especially glad her oldest friend is not too far away.  Mrs. J.B. Macaroni and her special little Scottie dog, Precious number 7, live along the Eastbourne Riviera.  It’s quite a bus ride so when she comes to visit, they really make a day of it.  They’ll start off with a pub lunch or a picnic if it’s nice, then find somewhere for tea and cakes to finish off.  After a bit of a wander, it’s fish and chips all round with extra crispy bits for Doris.


So consider yourself formally introduced to Ernest Hemmingway Mustard, wife Violet, Doris Dog and Precious 7, Mrs. J.B. Macaroni, Audrey H the sheep, a fish called Rover, Horace Duck and Curiosity Cat.  Keep your eyes peeled and you may start seeing them too.    

have you met the mustards?

Sam was born in June of 1964, and is a native of the UK, having lived in Staffordshire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Le Vaudreuil Ville Nouvelle, Essex, Surrey, Liverpool, Balham, Tooting, Ealing, Middlesex, and currently—but for how long remains a mystery—in Brighton and Hove.


    In her fifty odd years Sam has been a fire extinguisher salesman, a silver service waitress, a death grants advisor, a Wedgwood Rooms worker, a catering manager, a civil servant, a student, an au pair, and an unemployed person. Somehow, in all of this, Sam, without much formal training, became an artist.


    She is a mixed media artist and works in oil pastels, coloured inks, scraffito, and with the innovative finger and thumb technique. She says, “I am lucky that the accident of my birth left me at the edge of things—ever watchful, observant, and compelled to link scenes and memories into some kind of narrative. Stripes, textures, delicious whiffs, children’s rhymes, eccentric characters, lovely hats, nostalgic tunes, and beautiful dogs are all things that catch my attention and fuel my imagination. I am grateful to these favourite things that make my creativity possible, along with my hands, my eyes, and especially my mum.”


    Sam has created a rather spectacular group of chracaters: Mr.Mustard, a professional tuneless hummer and his wife, their dogs and a variety of other village animals to frequent her paintings, a reminder of the free and whimsical, the young and the old, happiness, kindness, and soul.

sam toft