I HAD for my winter evening walk
No one at all with whom to talk,
But I had the cottages in a row
Up to their shining eyes in snow.
And I thought I had the folk within:
I had the sound of a violin;
I had a glimpse through curtain laces
Of youthful forms and youthful faces.
I had such company outward bound.
I went till there were no cottages found.
I turned and repented, but coming back
I saw no window but that was black.
Over the snow my creaking feet
Disturbed the slumbering village street
Like profanation, by your leave,
At ten o’clock of a winter eve.
Today I thought I’d share some images taken at Dunstanburgh Castle on Northumberland’s beautiful Heritage Coast. The castle is the largest in Northumberland. In 1313, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin of Edward II of England began construction and John of Gaunt added to it later in the century.
During the Wars of the Roses, the castle was badly damaged and it slowly fell into decay. The castle is now owned by the National Trust and in the care of English Heritage. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.
This beautiful and evocative ruin can hardly fail to inspire, perched on a rocky outcrop above the coast and the plain below. Some great painters have immortalised it, including Turner and, one of my favourite contemporary artists, Michael Morgan.
Lilburn Tower, the most intact of the castle buildings, seems to demand a moody black and white treatment. Can you imagine a knight riding along that path, perhaps to rescue a princess from the tower? I kept thinking instead of Macbeth, riding to meet the three weird sisters, perhaps because Roman Polanski’s film, Macbeth was shot in the area.
I chased down a rainbow there on our visit, only just managing one hasty exposure before the colours faded, from which I made this, rather more painterly than usual, image with a little help from Topaz Simplify:
For all that I enjoyed the, admittedly rather over the top, colours of the last two images, it remains, for me, the black and white images that suit this location more. If you get the chance to visit this atmospheric ruin, I thoroughly recommend it.
Many of my images are inspired by paintings. I think the same basic compositions work in both mediums. In this image I was inspired by the watercolours of Michael Morgan RI, an artist whose work I greatly enjoy. I was recently lucky enough to acquire two of his originals which, together with one of his limited edition prints now provide permanent inspiration on my walls.
Which artists inspire you? Feel free to post examples of your work below. I find the crossover between genres interesting and would love to see what influences my fellow photographers!
and the third, a ‘texture’ made from a close up of the whitewashed walls of the cottage:
The cottage is Le Don Hilton, also known as La Caumine de Marie Best. It stands on the wall above St.Ouen’s beach with spectacular views of the surf and sunsets. It can be rented from Jersey Heritage and makes a charming, if basic, base for surfers. A more straightforward shot of the cottage appears in my earlier post, Jersey Shores.
Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear, – both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my mortal being …
William Wordsworth, ‘Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey’ (1798)
‘A child said What is the grass? fetching it to one with full hands,
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of the hopeful green stuff woven.
Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark,
and say Whose?…
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.’
Walt Whitman, ‘Song of Myself’ (1855), 6
April has been a month of rain for us here in England. As I travelled in a taxi through Hyde Park this morning I noticed how gloriously green everything was, drenched in refreshing spring showers. So today’s post is simply a celebration of green.
The top image was taken in the churchyard of St. James’s, Weybridge.