Full of the macabre touches and dark humour that have made Paula Rego’s reputation, Stone Soup is a new version of the traditional Portuguese folktale by her daughter, the designer and writer Cas Willing.
The fable has existed in numerous incarnations for centuries. In contrast to many others, the wily protagonist in this version is female. We follow the efforts of a young female traveller in her attempt to save herself from starvation. She persuades suspicious townspeople to supply her with food for her mysterious Stone Soup. Hence, this is a tale typically read to children to encourage cooperation in times of scarcity. Thirteen watercolour and ink paintings are also reproduced here, bringing together Rego’s expressive cast of figures amidst their troubled landscape.