The Wittenham Clumps have always had a special place in my life - happy memories of ecology field trips without a care in the world at a time when my brain had the capacity to store more than it does now.
"Ever since I remember them the Clumps had meant something to me.
|Paul Nash - Wittenham Clumps|
I felt their importance long before I knew their history.
They eclipsed the impression of all the early landscapes I knew.
This, I am certain was due almost entirely to their formal features rather than to any associative force... They were the Pyramids of my small world"
It is probably the reason why I adore the artist Paul Nash so much. His evocative paintings of the Clumps (from 1912 onwards) and the Iron Age hill forts and other sites of antiquity I hold dear have the power to transport me right there, right now. I have spent many a happy hour viewing the landscape around the Uffington White Horse and it was the first place we took my eldest son on his first outdoor adventure not long after he was born. We then retired to the shade of Wayland's Smithy for tea. These associations to the landscape, thanks to Nash, remain with me forever and reinforce my connection to not only the landscape, but the smell of the earth or the sounds associated with each vista.
My nearest and dearest have been asking me for a suitable birthday "day out" venue for next weekend - I have been struggling to come up with one to tell you the truth as I would have been happy with an open fire on the beach and a pan of sausages cooked beach style over driftwood. I then happened upon this mouth watering exhibition at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester.
|Paul Nash - Uffington White Horse|
|Paul Nash - Newent, Gloucestershire|
The exhibition, which includes important early wood engravings and etchings, photographs, collage, correspondence and illustrated books, was amassed by the artist's intimate friend Clare Neilson. It has been recently gifted to Pallant House Gallery by Neilson's godson Jeremy Greenwood and Alan Swerdlow, through the Art Fund.
|John Nash - Shell Shilling Guide to Dorset|
|Paul Nash - Seats at Swanage Sea Front|
Both Paul Nash and his younger brother John had strong connections with Dorset. Paul lived in Swanage during the 1930's and died in Boscombe in 1946.
So, there is a day to look forward to. I am especially looking forward to viewing his photographs and collages which are, I feel, the underrated side of Paul Nash. Doesn't he look quite the natty dresser in this fine picture (below) at Staunton in Gloucestershire!
|Paul Nash - Standing Stone, Staunton|