The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

60 Second Interview - Juliet Horncastle

Malta Independent Sunday, 23 April 2006, 00:00 Last update: about 7 years ago

Juliet Horncastle recently exhibited her paintings at the Museum of Fine Art. Brought up in England she was sent to a convent boarding school on the Isle of Wight where she did a lot of painting and drama.

Went to Kuala Lumpur. At the age of 17 she went with her parents to Kuala Lumpur, thus missing her chance to go to drama school. But there were compensations. During her three-year stay Juliet worked as Programme Assistant on Radio Malaya, writing and announcing. She also helped to found the Malayan Arts Theatre. Back in England, she married and lived on an 80ft Thames Sailing Barge with no engine. They sailed where her naval officer husband’s job took them – including Cuxhaven, Germany. They subsequently moved ashore in Suffolk and had three children. Juliet kept up her interests in drama and painting and as a mature student studied for three years for S.R.N. and worked for 12 years in I.T.U.

They then bought a farmhouse in Zebbug, Malta and moved there part-time in 1980, keeping the coastguard cottage for summers.

Juliet started painting more, studying under Yvonne Drewry, a Suffolk painter, who “taught me to go out and suffer!” Yvonne would paint the most marvellous snow landscapes, standing on cardboard boxes. Juliet began exhibiting with other East Angcian painters.

In 1987 her husband died and she went to West Africa for two years to nurse in a Franciscan Mission Hospital, working mostly with mal-nourished children. She says that this was “a tremendous experience which I feel very privileged to have had”. She continued painting in West Africa, in the end, on shroud material, as she ran out of canvas. She comments: “They have no tradition there of landscape painting, and portraits always have large heads and small bodies.”

Juliet still keeps in touch with her African friends there and in 1995 she went back for six weeks to see the three water-points for which she had raised money in Malta and UK.

Back in Malta she worked in the Zammit Clapp Hospital for about two years when it first opened.

Since then, Juliet has been painting steadily and also doing some acting.

She remarried in 1999, which is why there has been eight years between her exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts. Although she has had two exhibitions in between in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Her second husband and herself have six children between them! Juliet has an artist/photographer son living in Berlin and two daughters in America of which the youngest is a ‘Tertiary Carmelite’ belly dancer.

nHow old are you? Star sign and date of birth?

Sagittarian – Born in the 1930s.

nWhat would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?

Painting better.

nWhat is your idea of perfect happiness?

Swimming on a deserted beach in the early morning. I love the sea and I love painting it.

nWhat is your favourite occupation?

Creating something.

nWhat is it that you most value in your friends?

Being on the same wavelength.

How would you like to die?

In my bed.

nWhat is your greatest extravagance?

Travelling, especially India. Have been there five times.

nWhat is your greatest regret?

Not going to drama school.

nWhat is your most treasured possession?

My coastguard cottage in Suffolk.

nWhich talent would you most like to

have apart from the ones you already have?

To be able to play a musical instrument very well.

nWhat do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Cold wet weather in town – country


nWhere would you like to live?

Present is perfect. Malta and Suffolk in the hot weather.

nWhat is your most marked characteristic?


nWho are your heroes/heroines in real life?

Great admiration for people like Medecins Sans Frontiers. Also Vanessa Redgrave and Lucien Freud.

nWhat is it that you most dislike?

Property developing.

nWhat is your motto?

Keep going.

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