07 December, 2008


I decided to photograph this a few days ago - because the light suddenly struck me as good - but it has been standing under a cherry tree in our garden, giving pleasure to all, for a decade at least.

Frankly I have seen damaged sculptures of kouroi in the The British Museum and The Louvre with much less presence than this and I could kid you with tales of expensive dealers in illegal exports and/or digs at dead of night or even of famous British sculptors with a 'thing' about 5th century Athens . . .

. . . but I will come clean! We two were enjoying a rare holiday, all that time ago - in the Yorkshire Moors. I cannot recall exactly where but I remember we were told that from there, on a good day, you could see the sea off the east coast of England and the west at the same time. [Could that really be? Were we being taken for a bit of a ride?]

Anyway, we were quite high up and found ourselves on a hillside which was literally strewn (like bodies on a terrible battlefield that went on as far as the eye could see) with pieces of limestone pavement, presumably littered there by some glacier or another. [OK, so I am NOT a geologist!]

This was a remarkable enough sight but my eye was suddenly caught by one single piece of this rock. It was not particularly close but was propped up slightly by the fact that it lay on another so that the all-important line of its 'neck' was visible. I went to it, stood it upright and walked back. At that moment it HAD to come home with us.

Two points to make. Firstly, I had brought home pieces of rock from holidays practically all my life. Great hunks of serpentine from Cornwall, a large but beautifully broken 'pebble' from a beach in Ireland and various treasures from France, Greece etc.

The second point, and I hasten to make it, is that all this was before there were laws in this land designed to stop beautiful natural landscapes being denuded by insensitives with great lorries ripping up stone for sale in garden centres for suburbia's water-features. Yes, I put my hands up to thieving this piece from the nation but we did only take the one piece and I am sure that it has given more pleasure to our visitors here, quite apart from ourselves, than it would have given if it had lain all these years, anonymous among its millions of fellows!

We found a base (from our own land!) and pinned the one to the other and placed it under the cherry tree. Since then, I have been continually amazed at how satisfying a piece of sculpture it is. It is my experience that most pieces of 'found sculpture' may look wonderful from one angle but, from most others, just look like a hunks of rock. This one looks spectacularly good from pretty well all angles.

Anyway, that is enough of me going on about it. I will simply give a random sequence of the photographs I took the other day and I hope they will please and interest. It may be, of course, that you see the thing just as a random hunk of rock . . .

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