Several years ago, I was wandering round the Louvre on a wet Parisian afternoon. I turned a corner from one gallery to another when I saw a painting which would change my life forever.
Like a good many of you, I was completely unaware of Íñigo Melchor de Velasco, the 7th Duke of Frías. But then, how many of us know the person we are destined to become?
Looking at the picture, staring into those familiar eyes, I felt like I was looking into a mirror. A mirror which showed the future. I wanted to snap a picture but I had run out of film – these were the days before digital cameras. By the time I had found a shop selling the right film for my Kodak, the museum had closed and I was left wondering if I would ever find the painting again.
Last weekend, I took another step on the path which will lead me to time-travel. I now have evidence that I will become a master of time. I shall bend the fourth dimension to my will!
Hanging in an almost forgotten corner, behind a wall, is the most extra-ordinary painting. It is that of a minor 17th century Spanish noble. Quite unremarkable except for one unique feature. It is a painting of me.
At some point in the future, I shall travel back to the past…
Here’s a comparison with slightly more detail.
You need to imagine my face tilted down slightly – and my hair over both shoulders. There can be no doubt that this is a photo of me.
How I end up governing the Spanish Netherlands is a mystery to me. I’m searching the painting for clues I would have expected to have left myself – but I can find none.
What confuses me is the paradox of time-travel choice. Do I go back to the 1600s because I’ve seen this painting? If so – why did I choose to go originally? All very wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey… stuff…