I had the good fortune to have met René Halkett in 1976, when I moved to North Cornwall with Footsbarn. René accepted to be on the management committee of the group. He was a true source of inspiration and information for me, spending many an evening with him in his musty cottage in Camelford., discussing his life and times. It was an Aladins Cave of memories and where he stored most of his paintings (I had the privelege to see them all), sitting in the front room in front of a mirror that he never cleaned and delving back through his history was a pleasure. René always came to see rehearsals of the Footsbarn shows and from the time we were there 1976 to 1981 he was ever present for the dress rehearsals. One of his passions was theatre, and he often referred to theatre in his weekly "Letter from Cornwall" recorded in Plymouth for the BBC World Service (Germany). It was with a heavy heart when I heard that he had died, and true to his attention to detail and friendship he left me a violin in his will.


RENE HALKETT was born on the 5th of February 1900 in Weimar, Germany. His real name was ALBRECHT GEORG(E) FRIEDRICH FRIEHERR von FRISCH..

He came to England in 1936 and became a British subject in 1946. It is believed that it was at that time when he changed his name to Halkett

Rene was widely known as a painter, writer, lecturer and BBC broadcaster. He lived and worked in several countries. Early in 1923 Halkett joined the Stagecroft Workshop of the original "Staatlichas Bauhaus Weimar" where he also came under the influence of Klee, Felniger, Kandinsky and Moholy-Nagy.


Rene was a prolific artist. Four (4) of his paintings can bee seen on Baecker Art Gallery's Web site - Contemporary European Paintings - Galerie Inge Baecker - http://www.artnet.com/ibaecker.html

- Frau in rotem Garten

- Frauenkopf an eisernem Haken

- Gandhi-Buste

- Hand mit Frau, Farbhandtucher

Forty (40) of Rene’s drawings are portrayed his book “Rene Halkett Drawings.” The book was printed by Ben Maile Art Pint Products and published by Peter Edwards for the North Cornwall Museum and Gallery in 1981. It can be purchased from Amazon.com.

He was also a noted poet. The words of Rene Halkett's haunting poem “Nothing”, spoken in his own voice with David J's accompaniment, was recorded on a portable cassette recorder in the backroom of Rene's cottage on the 28th of July 1980. It, along with another poem titled "Amour", was released in 1981

Song "Nothing" with David J (Bauhaus)

Song "Amour" with David J (Bauhaus)

Both poems are provided below.


I know

As if I could not remember it I know -

Nothing is left

Nothing exists

Not even past to be remembered.

If no one can remember no one can tell

If no one

Can remember -

No one

Can tell.

As if I could remember it

I'd tell -

There was that light.

That blinding light which turned all matter

to unseen light

Not darkness.

Darkness cannot exist where light can not

be known.

Nothing is left

No matter

And no more light

And no more dark

And nothing.

As if I could remember it I know

I have

A hand

Unseen in my weightless hand restlessly lies

on nothing

For it needs to write.

To write what matters when no matter

is left to write upon.

My hand now writes on nothing

It writes.

Know then that nothing lasts forever

And nothing will remain when I

have written.

These words on nothing will remain

For nothing lasts for ever.

It will remain



Waiting for new creation.


I am distressed



How. Did the burning wood disintegrate?

at last?

I am undressed

Between the iron and my naked skin

Nothing is left

No more protection against my armour

I dare not move

Cold iron cuts

My naked flesh

Cold pain. Sharp pain

Disarming pain

Armour protects

But now my arm

Can not wiled arms

Frozen, in pain.

Slowly, in hope or fear, my arm

Spreads out the gaudy surcoat -

challenge or disguise

The tatters fly away

My armour is undressed

Steal, beg or borrow other guise, and play!


Play the fool, the hero.

Play the lover, the monk, the peasant.

Play one an all!

Play them

And let them play

Let Hero play the Fool

And Fool the Hero

Let Peasant play the Monk

And Monk the Peasant

All play the Lover

Lover play them all.

Play, guiser, endless permutations

of disguise

Armour protects you still

And while play in pain

Protecting iron

Will scrape away your skin,

Your naked flesh

And in the end

will leave your bones undressed

Your secret core disclosed

And rest you truly, gentlemen.