The experience of a view is etched into your mind and soul
I have written two previous columns on the subject of a single view and I make no apology for visiting this theme a third time.
Views are a part of our culture and their reproduction in photographs and paintings have, over hundreds of years, gathered in a collective consciousness, which allows us to instantly recognise in our daily visual experience places that evoke something in our soul that we do not always understand. Of course, the unconscious reference to received images is not the only force behind these emotions. Our own experience of visiting places and using the landscape also shows our response.
My parents were very interested in picnics and always spent some time choosing the right spot.Their choice, often involving water, was perhaps also influenced by images in books, magazines and galleries.
Driving along the river valley into Halifax, there is a distinct hint of Italy. I drove the route on a warm but grey day in early August.
In the valley hung a low mist, which softened the edge of everything and homogenised the range of green. You could almost feel the past mill owners going off on the grand tour and returning to a place suddenly transformed by their travels into an Italian ideal.
No wonder the buildings they commissioned were so heavily referential to the Italian Renaissance. They saw in their home a place transformed; a place that could exude an idea of cultural credibility, even if it was only a veneer.
The relationship between civic pride and cultural experience is important. It is possibly inevitable that people will try to recreate what they love (or sometimes what they are told they should love) at home.
Imagine a person who has lived their whole life in one valley, without ever leaving it, trying to change or improve the landscape.
It would be impossible because they would only have their own limited experience and nothing to compare that with.
I have been very impressed with Dutch local councillors, who regularly travel to other places with their officers to look around.
They are consciously expanding their frame of reference in order to help their decisionmaking. Admittedly, they are usually looking at buildings and townscape, but I like the idea of 20-odd people travelling hundreds of miles to simply look at a view.
In Wakefield there was a marvellous view from the banks of the Calder past the original bridge, with attendant medieval chapel, towards the centre of town. A number of artists have painted from this spot in the past, including Turner, because it was beautiful. You would not choose to paint it for that reason today. The good burghers of Wakefield have allowed this scene to become ugly. They seem to have allowed exceptionally ugly buildings to intrude, so much so that the river itself does not live in the minds of the locals.This view needs desperately to be recomposed To me, the image of the cliffs looking west from Sheringham towards Weybourne is beautiful. I Include the hut in my assessment of beauty and the time of day - 8.56am.
The deep shadows cast by the relatively low morning sun, create, in my mind, a series of forms that have been constantly eroded by long-shore drift.The sand from this place has created Blakenay Point.This place and moment are etched into my person and, no doubt, will influence some decision I will make in the future.
I offer this image to you in the hope that you might find it useful.
WA, from my kitchen table