this northern boy

Illustrations for an imaginary age

Tag: nature

A Frosty Walk

Winter seems to have finally arrived in the UK, nothing compared to the polar vortex currently plunging much of the US in to a deep freeze, and I managed to get myself out of bed early and in to my local park for a walk this morning. Bushy Park, one of the Royal Parks of London, is beautiful at any time of year but with a hard frost under clear skies it’s absolutely spectacular. These photos are taken with either my iPhone 8 or Olympus Pen.

 

 

 

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August blogfest – day 12

Mouthmill.

 

When I was seventeen, studying Graphic Design in York, I bought a book called The Anatomy of Illusion. It was the collected art of a British illustrator called Michael English.

The work in the book varied from early psychedelic posters for shops on the King’s Road in London, to hyperrealistic paintings of trains.

All the art was amazing. Staggering really for me to comprehend, as someone just starting out on a career in design / illustration, the level of talent, technique and precision.

There was one painting, part of the Nature Series, that absolutely stopped me in my tracks. Mouthmill, an astonishingly realistic rendering of water flowing over moss, over hanging ferns stand out against the dark background… It’s flawless.

Michael English simply said of Mouthmill – “This painting marked the climax of all my nature work in the 1970’s. It has no equal.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Michael sadly died in 2009, you can read his obituary here.

Michael-English

Mouthmill, Michael English, 1980.

August blogfest – day 10

I’m lucky enough to live just a stone’s throw from Bushy Park, a royal park southwest of London sandwiched between Hampton, Kingston, and Teddington.

I probably don’t spend nearly enough time in the park, but whenever I do, it’s an absolute joy.

 

The Royal Parks Foundation says this –

Before a Royal Park…

The flat site of Bushy Park has been settled for at least 4,000 years. A Bronze Age barrow & burial mound was excavated near Sandy Lane and the contents are now housed in the British Museum. There are clear remains of medieval settlements, with the finest example found South of Waterhouse Woodland Gardens, where there are traces of the largest and most complex field system in Middlesex.

The Longford River

King Charles I had the idea of creating an artificial waterway in the park because Hampton Court Palace was always short of water. There was nowhere locally with a sufficient fall of water and so the Longford River was built exceeding 19 kilometres in length. It was designed by Nicholas Lane in 1638-39. It was built by hand, took 9 months to complete and cost £4000!

Chestnut Avenue

This mile long avenue was conceived by Sir Christopher Wren as a formal approach to Hampton Court Palace in the reign of William III & Mary II. Flanked on both sides by a single row of horse chestnuts and four rows of limes, it marks the park’s zenith in terms of royal ambitions and sophistication. The view from Teddington Gate provides the most striking view of the Avenue, with the Arethusa ‘Diana’ Fountain and the Banqueting Hall as the backdrop.

The House of Windsor

During the First World War (WWI), areas of land in the park were turned over to the plough to ‘Dig for Victory’. King George V gave his permission to use Upper Lodge as a home for Canadian Convalescents. Queen Mary visited the troops and made sure entertainment was provided with the help of local people. This Canadian tie with the park is commemorated by the Totem Pole and the Canadian Glade in the Waterhouse Woodland Gardens.

During the Second World War (WWII) large areas of the parks were again turned over for the production of food.

From 1942, Bushy Park became the site of a large U.S. base called Camp Griffiss, headquarters to a number of the Allied departments. General Dwight Eisenhower was averse to working in the centre of London during the Second World War. He decided instead to make Bushy Park the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) centre for planning Operation Overlord, the 1944 D-Day.