An Eggardon Summer

Watercolours Liz Somerville

Eggardon Hill is an Iron Age hill fort to the north-east of Bridport in Dorset. I live on a farm half-way up it; the hill dominates the landscape behind us and in front there is a far-reaching view across Lyme Bay to Devon. My studio looks directly out on to Eggardon, the window at the back perfectly frames it.

Eggardon Rows

Double-ended Cloud

Corn Fields Up To Eggardon

Rain Over Hot Fields

Pink Eggardon

These pictures are snapshots of the hill itself and the land in its lee. Over this summer, from May to September, I’ve sketched and photographed and painted, completed in situ or in the studio. I’ve worked with no particular outcome in mind (other than the Rowley window) or theme, except the location. I didn’t want to deliberately focus on trees or fields or geology, I just wanted to see what came out. It was when I put all the work together and set about selecting that the weather became the most apparent influence and consequently colour and light.

Green Eggardon

Field Of Grass & Studio

Eggardon Silage Tracks

Stone-walled Eggardon

Orange Fields

Rising Moon

Heading out at six on a May morning the hill as a great green lump, a soft light creeping in from the east. May was all shades of green, June saw silage making and the tracks of the mower in the fields and a stronger, harsher sun. The heat of July made the grass wilt and die, yellows, browns, lavender and pink. By August the trees had turned a darker green and the hedges against the dry fields, almost black. The moon was good, both rising and full and it was warm enough to work outside. September had a wonderful pink gold light and regenerative rain and plants sprang back to life. One clear blue morning I saw the hill in mist as if wrapped in a shroud, clear as a bell everywhere else with bright sunshine slanting in.

Hill In Mist

Hill Pots Ali Herbert

This new collection came from me getting back to it after beating cancer last year and wanting to try something entirely different. I decided on stripping things back and going for a much more simplistic approach in this new phase.

Carved Hill Vase

A well-timed discovery of some local earthenware clay exposed by ground works that were being done at a local farm beneath Eggardon Hill helped me realise my new direction. Interested in the qualities of this wild clay, I decided to put it to the test. Impressed and excited by the results, I chose to centre my new collection of work around using foraged materials, including these slip glazes infused with the Eggardon clay as well as wood ash and igneous rocks from the South West.

Stoneware Round Bottle

Stoneware Bottle

Oval Pinch Bowl

Pinch Pot

These pots are inspired by my surroundings in Nettlecombe (at the base of the hill) and ceramics from the Edo period in Japan.

Liz Somerville / The Rowley GalleryAli Herbert / The Rowley Gallery


Frames of reference

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