Video page flip of Travel Journal 3

As I have promised readers, I have a video of page flip of my third travel journal. This is the third travel journal I filled while away for 9 weeks. I hope you enjoy viewing it and listening to my general chatter about keeping a travel journal. At the end of the video I discuss a pouch I carry some of my art gear in.

If you want to see the other videos in the series you will find them I hope folks enjoy it!

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Salisbury Cathedral font – part icon, part water sculpture

For more than 150 years, Salisbury Cathedral had no permanent font. Instead, there was a small gothic-style Victorian basin that was wheeled out for baptisms from a side chapel.

Enter then Canon Treasurer and now Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend June Osborne, who set in motion the commission for a new permanent font. Rather than take the easy route of installing a neo-gothic clone of many other fonts, Osborne argued strenuously for a new work of art – something that would show Salisbury cathedral as looking forward rather than being constrained by its history. Osborne commissioned prominent British water sculptor William Pye.

Conscious that the church is renowned for its conservatism, Pye developed a series of designs which were placed in the cathedral to test the reaction of the parishioners – starting in 2001 – with the final design being approved in 2007. The result was gradual acceptance of a reflecting water surface as a font and a remarkable artistic achievement combining stillness and movement in the cruciform font – the largest in any UK cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral font

Salisbury Cathedral font

The font measures 3m across (10 feet) with the vessel itself made from bronze, set onto a purbeck marble square base. The font is shaped to channel water into four spouts at the corners which pour into bronze drains set into the floor.

The surface is so smooth that visitors have been known to place bags and cameras on what they think is a hard shiny surface, only to see their belongings disappear into the water.

As the previous post here has noted, the font provides an excellent opportunity for some spectacular reflections of the stained glass windows.

Consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 28 September 2008, the font is a daring and great addition to the cathedral, and is admired by the many thousands of local and international visitors as well as the local congregation.

The photo was taken from the balcony over the West Front, during the start of the Tower tour – which will be the subject of a subsequent post 🙂


Is there a cathedral in that puddle?

Reflections can make for interesting photos, and with the rain in Salisbury, Sharon was prompted to ask the question in the title of this post – alas with all the puddles around I just couldn’t get a nice shot of the cathedral. That is, until we checked out the Salisbury and South Wiltshire museum. As we approached the museum – and being cued in to look for reflections I saw a great reflection in the window. The result is this fragmented view of the cathedral:

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

I used a wide aperture lens out to f2.8 in order to ensure that the focus would be on the cathedral, while leaving the window frame a little out of focus.

Sometimes you can find great reflections inside too – the modern font in the cathedral provides a wonderful reflective surface in which to mirror the main windows. The font was designed by William Pye and is the first permanent font for over 150 years. It was commissioned over ten years ago by by the then Canon Treasurer and now Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd June Osborne. The font is three metres across and constructed as a bronze cruciform vessel atop a purbeck marble plinth. The water flows constantly, but the font is so constructed as to provide a perfectly smooth surface.

Salisbury cathedral font

Salisbury cathedral font

So it’s worth looking for opportunities for interesting reflections 🙂


Turner was there – or close by…

Visiting the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum just adjacent to Salisbury Cathedral (review in a later post) we saw a lovely view of the cathedral painted by JWM Turner around 1828-29 – so it just predates the John Constable views. But this was special as it was a view from Old Sarum – the ancient hill fort just to the north of Salisbury. Naturally we had to set off to see if we could find it 🙂

Old Sarum is actually a fascinating place – used and re-used over the centuries, it began around 400BC as a late Iron Age hill fort, though some evidence points to possibly early Roman period, and later – following the Norman defeat of Harold in 1066 – the Normans built a castle on top to command the local countryside.

Turner’s watercolour painting appears to have been painted from one of the low ridges around the outer ditch earthworks of the ancient site. We climbed to the top and I took a couple of photos from the embankment above where Turner was painting – I think we came fairly close to his spot, and anyhow it was a fun quest to see if we could find the view, and see what it looks like today.

You can be the judge of how close we came. Here is Turner’s version:

A Distant View of Salisbury Cathedral form Old Sarum by JWM Turner - source: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
A Distant View of Salisbury Cathedral from Old Sarum by JWM Turner – source: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum

And here is my version:

A view of Salisbury Cathedral form Old Sarum

A view of Salisbury Cathedral from Old Sarum

Old Sarum is well worth a visit – it is a fascinating place with around 5000 years of history. But first, don’t forget to visit the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum – they have some great artworks and artefacts – many from nearby Stonehenge and from Old Sarum.

As you might guess from this – photo quests and challenges are a fun way to begin really looking at a place 🙂