Thursday, 29 October 2009

Durham Statue on the Move

Visitors to Durham at dusk on Wednesday may have thought they were imagining things as a headless horseman made his way past the toll near the Market Place.


The much-loved equestrian statue of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry is on its way to London to be restored.
On Monday, scaffolding was erected around the statue, which was first unveiled in the Market Place in 1861. The Marquess of Londonderry was famous as the builder of the Durham coal port of Seaham Harbour.
Created from electroplated copper by sculptor Signor Raphael Monti, the statue is in need of repair, which will be carried out by London based Rupert Harris Conservation.

Local people are glad that their beloved landmark statue is to be restored. However, there is much concern about its future location.

For nearly 150 years the statue has stood on its plinth in Durham Market Place, but may be moved further down on its return. The depth of feeling is evident in a petition of 5,500 signatures asking that the statue should remain in its original position.

There was a feeling of quiet respect as the statue was prepared to be transported to London. The head was removed for travelling, and as the sun set, people stood by waiting.

The horse seemed to champ at the bit, caged on the transporter.

At last the extraordinary passenger was on the move.

Silence fell, as the huge vehicle carefully turned the corner by St Nicholas' Church.
The people of Durham bid their beloved statue farewell, until its return.

North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre - Durham statue on the Move

Thank you for your concerned comments, dear bloggy-friends! You can read more about the statue here and here.

Ingrid Sylvestre

Durham artist Ingrid Sylvestre, Artist in Durham.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Bench of the Week - Houghall

This week's bench is also featured in my Autumn header, and is from the dim and distant past of last century - 1998! I've had to scan the photos as this was pre-digital for me, the camera used being a little Olympus Trip.
I find as an artist that certain locations recur again and again in my work, and this spot is one of those special places. The view is from the patio doors of the house I lived in while lecturing at Houghall Horticultural College. To me it was magical, and I used to gaze and gaze, and sketch, paint and photograph this wonderful place.

The garden was huge, and led out onto fields and the distant Houghall Woods. The shapes of the hedges fascinated me - I have always loved the light along the edge of hedges backlit by the sun, or moon. There was only one outside light here, and at night the stars shone undiminished by street lighting. Owls called, foxes barked and the air was redolent with the scents of trees.
The bench belonged to the college. I stood it among my tubs, and used it as a kind of focal point leading the eye along the garden. After trying to sit on it once and wobbling fearsomely, I decided it was too rickety to use as a seat, and that it's charm was visual!
In this last photo the bench gleams softly in the evening light and the overgrown Virginia and other creepers take on an Autumn glow.
'Bench of the Week' was started by RuneE of Visual Norway. Other participants include Barbara Martin, PERBS, Malyss, Ackworth Born , Your EG Tour Guide , Dimple and Dina - do visit their blogs to see their Bench of the Week on Fridays.

Durham Artist Ingrid Sylvestre, artists in Durham City.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Hippophae Sunset

Working all round the clock on artistic exploits has meant that although I haven't had time for blogging recently my awareness of the beauty of our world has been heightened.

Rhythm, texture, light and shade at this time of year is so exultantly inspiring. My hippophae rhamnoides has always fascinated me with its salix-like foliage. It seems to dance before the sunset sky.

If I had time I would love to make a textile embroidery/collage of the wonderful layers of hippophae, dark trees and the glowing sky.

Or an illuminated manuscript illustration with gold and silver leaf ... My mundane garden wall could be a medieval castle parapet!

This could be an expressionistic stained glass dome over a magnificent conservatory ...
Or a small shrub in a tub!
(You can see the hippophae in bud from earlier this year here. )