Monday, July 11, 2011

That Seashore Of The Senses


If there is one thing that I like, it is an image. Painting or drawing, full colour photograph or monochrome scan : it doesn't really matter. It is the image that counts : the image that leads you on, plays with your senses, takes you for a day out. For me, "image" and "imagination" are close bed-fellows that share more than a random collection of letters. This love of the interplay between words and images is at the root of my love of blogging, for blogging is the true descendant of the great photo-journalistic traditions of the first part of the twentieth century. At that point where words and images come together - that seashore of the senses - that is the place where I want to be.

Take the painting above. Painted by the not very well known English artist, John Holland, in 1869, it shows the Calder Valley at Lower Ewood, between Halifax and Hebden Bridge. The landscape depicted is so typical of this part of the world : the moors giving way to the hills and valleys, the raw industry leaching into the rural heartland. The scene would not be radically different today as it was when Holland took out his paints and canvass some 150 years ago. But the interesting thing to my mind, is that the painting is part of a collection owned by Calderdale Council and, to the best of my knowledge, has not been on public display for many a year, if at any time at all.

We are seeing it now thanks to a unique project which is being undertaken by a joint initiative between the BBC, the Public Catalogue Foundation (a registered charity) and participating collections and museums from across the UK. Entitled "Your Paintings" the initiative aims to make available scans of all 200,000 oil paintings that form part of public collections in the United Kingdom. You can search the Your Paintings Website by artist, place tags, collection and examine good-quality scans of the 63,000 paintings already added to the on-line collection.

Whatever your interests, the on-line collection provides a fascinating diversion from whatever boring task you are supposed to be undertaking. If, like me, you are an habitual rambler along the seashore of the senses, it is an essential destination.

11 comments:

  1. Good post, Alan. Mind if I roll up my trouser legs and join you in a paddle at the seashore?

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  2. You're right it is very indicative of the melding of country and industry that seems so typical of Lancashire and Yorkshire. Although since my most boring tasks involve paid work, I probably won't be browsing the catalogue . . so keep posting the odd one.

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  3. "Seashore of the senses..." I like that term! It's certainly a place where those of us in the blogiverse spend a lot of time. Great post, Alan!

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  4. Ooo, I love that phrase, "that seashore of the senses." So very apt. I once thought I wanted to be a photojournalist, so perhaps I have done so after all. I hadn't thought of it that way, but it fits. I like it.

    Art and words and how they come together, is what makes my world go 'round. Thanks, so much, for this interesting post.

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  5. From the colour, the water looks positively Mediterranean, which I'm sure it wasn't.

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  6. Count me in, Martin and Alan! I love a good paddle in the sea.

    Kat

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  7. Yes, good phrase. Another reason I long to retire, to have more time for paddling.

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  8. oh great hit alan...what a cool picture...will be hitting that link...now....

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  9. So well written this post....seashore of the senses...loved it. By the way (I'm late catching up on blogs) I totally agree about NYC being a walking city, I walked from Washington Square Park up 5th avenue one day. Took me several hours but so worth it.

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  10. only the decent thing to do to make these available to the public, even in a virtual forum.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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