Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Culture at the Hogsmill


My venue of choice this morning was the River Hogsmill at Ewell, walking along its modest flow from Bourne Hall to the Open Space Park. Apparently, this particular stretch of the river was used by the artist John Everett Millais as inspiration and a backdrop to one of his most famous paintings - Ophelia. It depicts the grief stricken Ophelia drowning herself in a stream - but what a beautiful end! I've seen it in The Tate and it is one of my favourite works of art.

Wandering around sans gloves, it could have been spring! Mild and sunny, catkins hanging from Alder and Hazel, mating Coal Tits and plenty of Winter Heliotrope in flower (top, right image). A couple of Kingfishers were showing off and they were joined by a Grey Wagtail. Altogether most agreeable.

9 comments:

  1. Nice one, Steve. Very spring-like weather up here today (Wednesday).

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    1. Glad that the spring-like conditions are with you Dean - it does lift the soul...

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  2. This is also one of my favourite paintings. Apparently Lizzie Siddall stayed in the water too long whilst modelling for this one and suffered hypothermia or something.

    Next time you visit the NHM or thereabouts then Millais House is a couple of streets away. The only 'thrill' you will experience though is a blue plaque saying he lived there.

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    1. Today Ms Siddall would also contract Weil's Disease...

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  3. I trust you saw the Ramularia purpurascens all over the Winter Heliotrope then? Takes me under 10 mins to walk there, y'know? One day, one day........

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    1. That's the difference between a professional and a rank amateur Seth - I wouldn't know what to look for. When we do finally meet I expect an avalanche of pan-ticks!

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  4. There is good evidence that Millais painted the background to Ophelia on the Hogsmill below Old Malden church not at
    Ewell Court

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  5. Oh don't say that Robert - I always like to think that he stood by the river at Ewell Court with an easel, watching his model immerse herself in the water!

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    1. Yes the model was in the bath in London

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