The Improbable Story of Orion Goss

The Improbable Story of Orion Goss

It is 1901 in the Cornish port of Falmouth and Henry Scott Tuke, the eminent marine artist, many of whose paintings feature the naked bodies of local boys, is obsessed with Orion Goss, a handsome, bashful, young market garden assistant.

Orion, a devout if unenthusiastic Methodist, refuses to be painted but, gradually overcoming his fear of the artist’s reputation, dares to show him his own, tentative attempts at drawing.

As their friendship develops Falmouth’s other famous marine artist, the austere Catholic, Charles Napier Hemy, fears that Henry’s emotions may overcome his normal restraint but the real threat comes from Orion’s father and brother, violent drunks with volatile tempers and dangerous friends.

When, on the night of Edward VII’s coronation, Orion is beaten senseless it is clear that the two artists must take action if they are to protect his life.




One comment on “The Improbable Story of Orion Goss

  1. Neil Johnstone says:

    Dear Victoria Woodcraft,
    Your book: Orion Goss
    My wife has recently taken over our daughter’s car – very much the same as her old one, but with a “Kernow” sticker on the boot.
    I very much enjoyed the story. It was an inspired idea to set it around Tuke and Hemy. As a Falmouth boy, I was very impressed by your local knowledge. I knew Ruse’s Nurseries very well, having grown up in the 50s and early 60s in Woodlane Close, less than a hundred yrds away. When, as I often did, I looked up from doing From my homework at the desk my dad had made for me in the alcove before my attic bedroom window, there were only two relatively small gardens between me and the ten foot high stone wall (still standing) which formed the eastern boundary of the nursery.
    The words “Ruse’s Nurseries” have also stuck in my mind because they were the designation of a bus stop.
    I can still hear the name in my head being announced by the bus conductor, after the bus (always a dirty green double-decker in my memory) which, having strained its way up the town side of Trelawney to the Bowling Green, would come shuddering down the other side towards Woodlane. Just before it turned right, the conductor would call out: “Ruse’s Nurseries,” and the bus went round the corner and came to a halt by the Western National timetable board next to the post-box. (I think it made such a lasting impression because, as a little boy, I had no idea what a nursery was, so the call had a touch of the mysterious about it) That was where I got off.
    . Unfortunately I can’t claim to have known any of the staff.

    Remarkably, though I live in a small village some 30 miles north of Cologne, I have a neighbour of my age, discovered only a few months ago, who also grew up in Falmouth. It seems that we’ve been living only two streets apart for over 20 years, completely unaware of each other’s existence. It was he who lent me the reader on which I read your Orion Goss, my very first “electronic” novel.
    Naturally he and I have been discussing your Falmouth topography and have two questions about which we’d be grateful for an answer.
    1. What made you choose such an exotic name? did you have a specific Tike picture in mind in which “he” features.
    2. Which quarry did you have in mind as the site of Orion’s home? your book has made us realise just how many there are in the town. Is it the one up the hill from the former police station, the early site of the Secondary Modern school? Or is it the one near Pike’s Hill below Wodewood Terrace) or perhaps the large quarry below Budock Terrace?
    3. Did you have a specific location in mind for the cottage Tuke obtained for Goss? We’ve been racking our brains, but are unable to agree on a likely spot.
    4. Your local knowledge is so accurate ,ee feel you must have lived in or near the town at some time. Are we right?
    5. Any more Falmouth books in the pipeline?

    We’d be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to help us and thank you once again for giving us such a pleasurable story, a vivid picture of our home town, and so much food for thought.
    Very best wishes.

    Neil Johnstone
    & Mike Lavery (neighbour)


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