The Majesty oak is well named; it truly is majestic, /məˈdʒɛstɪk/, adjective, having or showing impressive beauty or scale, synonyms: exalted, august, great, awesome, elevated, sublime, lofty. It is all of these and more. It lives in Fredville Park at Nonington in Kent, alongside other exceptional trees called Beauty, Stately and Staghorn, but Majesty is said to be the finest oak in all of the British Isles. It stands 60 feet tall and measures 40 feet around and estimates of its age vary from 400 to 800 to the best part of a thousand years, no one knows for sure but it looks to me like it’s been here forever. Continue reading “Majesty”
The tradition of Apple Day began on 21 October 1990 when the charity Common Ground took over the Piazza at Covent Garden in London with a demonstration to celebrate the cultural importance of the apple, as an enduring symbol of diversity and local distinctiveness. It coincided with an exhibition of specially commissioned photographs of West Country Orchards by James Ravilious. Over the last 25 years Apple Day has become a popular festival, celebrated across the country in schools and museums, village halls and the Houses of Parliament. Continue reading “Apple Day”
This is a short trailer for James Ravilious: A World In Photographs, a film by Hugh and Anson Hartford, originally shown on BBC Four and now available from Banyak Films. The first time I saw his photographs was in the early 1980s at an exhibition by Common Ground called Second Nature at the London Ecology Centre in Covent Garden. I came away with a beautiful photograph of sheep in the shade of an oak tree, In The Heat Of May, just one of 80,000 photographs he took of rural life in North Devon for the Beaford Archive between 1972 and 1999. He was the son of artist and designer Eric Ravilious, and he was a self-taught photographer. Read more at the James Ravilious website.
Last summer on holiday in Catalonia, we visited Girona where we chanced upon this striking installation by Àlex Nogué. It occupied one room of a small municipal exhibition space, Bolit-La Rambla. It consisted of 28 sheets of paper with ink and pencil drawings on the back wall, 56 trays filled with water on the floor, 2 digital second counters on the ceiling, one counting forwards and one counting backwards. It was possible to step through the hole in the wall and walk around the installation, but really best viewed from this position where it appears framed. It seemed to be an archetype, a symbol of time & place, heaven & earth, shadow & light, growth & decay. It was so simple and elegant and memorable, and more perfect for being found by accident. Continue reading “My Life As A Tree”