I just took this photo of a painting I did of Maiden Castle in the 1990’s. It’s a hill Fort in the countryside near Dorchester in Dorset, England. Sorry for the shine on it, my camera flash reflected off it.
What is Maiden Castle? A series of ramparts of soil, rising and falling until it reaches a plateau in the middlewhere the Fort is situated. It can be reached by a pathway through the maze of hills.
My painting includes a dancing and decaying figure. She is meant to represent the spirit of the place and its history. I was studying radiography at the time, and had found a rabbit skull on one of my walks. I also liked watching the archaeology TV programme, ‘ Time Team’ and this was my attempt to embody the feeling I got as I stood up on that hill.
Sadly I haven’t been back there since. But I just read a post by Sue Vincent and her visit to the place and it reminded me of the place. The Maiden Castle scene was taken from a photo and the dancing woman was imagined.
Sue Vincent’s challenge.
The clarity of my memory was funny, it came and went, but I felt certain that I had been on this beach, in this bay, before.
Perhaps it was the scent of the sea, seaweed, and the aromatic plants on the shore that took me back. Or the azure water, the sandy beach or the dark craggy rocks that caught in the folds of my memory.
Yes, the island in the far distance, in my memory I clearly saw a lighthouse there. Not visible here, but as you sailed out beyond the headland it would come into view, built of the hard stone that makes up the coast. On stormy nights it saved many a sailor, and its booming voice could be heard on foggy days and nights.
Now I remember with clarity why I was there. There is a cave just beyond the tideline. I’d been snorkeling in the bay and found a small chest, iron clad and rusted shut. The cave had seemed a good place to hide it. I was only eleven and it was exciting to hide a treasure chest. Plus my brother would have claimed it if I’d shown it him.
Now it was thirty years later, was it still there?
The dubloons had bought me my yatch. Now I am free to visit the bay any time I want.
I’ve been here
When I saw the prompt I knew the place, so we visited two days ago. I’m pretty sure it’s the same place. From the front you can’t see the size of the hall. You walk over the bridge over the moat. Through an archway into the courtyard.
Inside the house is dark and panelled in old oak. There are places where wall paintings are being restored and the old windows are fantastic. Up and down many stairs and spiral staircases you reach the long gallery. Beware the bees nesting at the bottom of the stairs though!
Then outside to the knot garden and main garden. These are hidden round the back.
All in all not Monochrome at all. And if you want to know where it is you will have to wait for Sue’s explanation. I won’t spoil the mystery (and I might not be right!)
For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto see here
Never ending fire
The world splits in half…..