Winter Solstice : Central Scotland
Wishing you a Merry Festive Season
and Peaceful,Happy and Creative 2012
Oak-leaved Hydrangea : Hydrangea Quercifolia.
After an unusually mild autumn,winter has suddenly appeared bringing rain, icy winds
and snow on high ground.
Ripples on water.
I open the door.A gorgeous guest
from afar sweeps in.In her hands are
gifts--the gifts of hours and far-seeing
moments,the gift of mornings and evenings,
the gift of spring and summer,the gift
of autumn and winter.She must have
searched the heavens for boons so rare.
Abbie Graham : American writer (1889-1972).
War Shield with broken arrows : Gallery installation.
Materials : birch branches,earth,feathers and fabric (diameter 6ft).
It was later ceremonially burnt at a Samhain (Hallowe'en) party in my friend Morelle's garden.
The intention was to create ending (death) and transformation for the artwork at this turning point
in the seasonal cycle.
The arrows survived!
Materials : sycamore wood,leather,gull feathers and glitter paint.
The Bowl Reflects the Universe (1997) : birch twigs,wood pulp,bark shavings and gold foil.
Dimensions : 90cm wide x 60cm high.
This sculpture began life as a pile of prunings from a birch tree in my garden and a Bengali proverb,
"the pot shows the universe".
White Sand,Red Millet,Many Flowers : mixed media and pigment.
Work by internationally acclaimed artist Anish Kapoor at Edinburgh College of Art.
Edinburgh International Festival, August 2011.
Untitled : Wax,oil based paint and steel : Anish Kapoor,2010.
As this huge sculpture very slowly rotates the metal blade peels off a minute amount of wax creating an interesting textured surface.A plaster cast of the Winged Victory is beautifully displayed in an archway. On the walls behind and on the upper floor are casts of the frieze from the Partheon.
The college owns a large collection of casts,most dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries,and are significant in that they are casts of the original works.Casts found in most collections are casts made from casts,rather than from originals.
Nike,Winged Victory of Samothrace.
The original sculpture,now in the Louvre in Paris,was discovered in 1863 in a field on the island of Samothrace.It is considered to be one of the great masterpieces of the Greco-Roman era. Created around 200 BC,it was carved in flawless white marble from the island of Paros in the Aegean.The quarries were in use from the 6th century BC onwards.
A lone flute player plays in a deserted corridor. I know little of this work other than that it is a side panel on a block,the front of which displays a relief depicting Aphrodite rising from the sea.
Aphrodite of Milos,better known as Venus de Milo welcomes visitors in the entrance hall.
The original marble sculpture of the goddess of love and beauty was found on the island of Milos in
1820 and dates from around 100-130 BC ,it is currently on display in the Louvre, Paris.
Looking south east from Holyrood Park over Duddingston Loch and Duddingston village,on the left corner of the loch.The loch is within the boundary of the park and is a designated bird santuary and nature reserve.Otters have recently been spotted here for the first time in 100 years.
These photos are best viewed full screen.
In the 18th century a large hoard of Bronze Age artifacts,including bronze swords and spear heads dating from around 2000 BC, were dredged from the bottom of the loch. Evidence of crannogs,prehistoric stilt dwellings,has also been found here.
Duddingston Kirk is a fine example of Scoto-Norman architecture.The church was built around 1124 by a Norman knight named Dodin,on lands given to him for a settlement by King David I of Scotland. After the Norman conquest in 1066 David's father Malcolm III had offered land to Norman knights in return for their allegiance to the Scottish throne,a practice which appears to have been continued by his son.
Dr Neil's garden,was begun in 1963 by Drs Andrew and Nancy Neil who had a medical practice close to the village. It was created on rocky ground between the church and the loch,on what has been described as the church rubbish dump.
Monkey puzzle tree
This sundial base appears to have been constructed with ecclesiastical "rubbish".
Seat with a view
A quiet corner
Looking towards Crow Hill. Ridges left by agricultural terracing can be seen on the hill above the trees.These were probably used from prehistoric times until the 17th century.
Outside the garden,the church field,the tower,loch and Pentland Hills in the distance.
Designed by the architect William Playfair in 1825,this octagonal two storey building on the loch side,known as Thomson's Tower,was built to store curling equipment. In these days the loch regularly froze over in winter. Nowadays only a thin ice covering is formed, barely enough to support wildfowl,and only in very cold winters.The building became known as Thomsons Tower after the Rev John Thomson who was minister at Duddingston Kirk from 1805-1840. The minister was a notable landscape painter and used the upper floor of the tower as a studio,the curling equipment was stored below.
A section of the old boundary wall built when King JamesV of Scotland created Holyrood Park in 1540.
Today it is a managed wild park in the centre of Edinburgh.
Click to enlarge
Edinburgh skyline from Queen's Drive with Salisbury Crags on the right
and Edinburgh Castle on left.
The perimeter wall runs behind the trees.
15th century St Anthony's Chapel above St Margaret's Loch.
Whinny Hill with East Lothian fields in the distance.
Dunsapie Loch and Dunsapie Crag,where traces of an early fort have been found,possibly Iron Age.
Beyond is the East Lothian coastline with Bass Rock barely visible on the horizon just to the left of
Berwick Law (small pointed hill).
Heather on Whinny Hill.
Bell heather and whin bushes : Arthur's Seat,the highest point, from Whinny Hill.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse and ruined 12th century Holyrood Abbey, from the hill above St Margaret's Well, looking towards the Firth of Forth and the hills of Fife.
Holyrood Palace was built by King JamesIV at the time of his mariage in 1502 to Margaret Tudor,sister of HenryVIII of England.Their son JamesV extended the palace and had rooms lavishly decorated in the French Renaissance style.The palace has been changed and remodeled during the intervening centuries and today the north-west tower is the only surviving part of the original building. Holyrood is the official Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II and for most of the year is open to the public.In July this year it was the venue for the wedding reception of the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips and her husband Mike Tindall.
A closer view of the turrets.
James V (1512-1542) and his french queen Mary of Guise, parents of Mary Queen of Scots.
Tapestry made in Flanders around 1500.
JamesV built up a collection of over 200 tapestries,some of them bought on his trips to France.
Tapestries were hung on walls for insulation as well as decoration.They would be rolled up and transported from one residence to another and cared for by tapestry repairers.
Image source : Wikipedia.