Medieval Galleries at the V&A

April 2nd, 2015 by RoyReed

Mitre - possibly belonging to Thomas BecketA couple of days ago I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum to see the medieval galleries. Many years ago I photographed some of the objects in the collection for a wide-screen audio visual programme at the English Romanesque Art 1066-1200 exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1984. This included the mitre which is thought to have belonged to Thomas Becket. Being allowed to handle that was a real thrill. The programme mainly depicted the architecture of the period, and I spent many days photographing some of the best Romanesque buildings in the country, including Durham cathedral where we were given a key and told “This key opens any door in the building – make yourselves at home”.

The galleries have been improved immensely since those days and the objects are now beautifully displayed. Here are some of my favourites.

(Click on the photos to see them larger.)

Lloyds TSB Bank Lobby

March 2nd, 2015 by RoyReed

The lobby of the Lloyds TSB Bank at 222 Strand, London is a wonderful display of art nouveau tiling by Doulton painted by J H McLennan. Formerly a restaurant and built originally as the Palsgrove Hotel, this is the work of the architect G Cuthbert, and dates from 1883.

(Click on the photos to see them larger.)

A Walk Along the Regent’s Canal (part 2)

February 23rd, 2015 by RoyReed

Last weekend I completed my walk along the Regent’s Canal starting at the Islington Tunnel and going to where it meets the Thames at the Limehouse Basin.

(Click on the photos to see them larger.)

After the walk along the canal I met up with some friends and went for a meal at the Cutty Sark pub and restaurant in Greenwich where there was a spectacular sunset.

Sunset panorama from Greenwich

The Padstow ‘Obby ‘Oss

February 3rd, 2015 by RoyReed

The Blue Ribbon 'OssNo one knows when the ‘Obby ‘Oss festival, which takes place on the 1st of May (or the 2nd if the 1st is on a Sunday) every year in Padstow, Cornwall, started. The earliest written reference to it is in about 1800, but it’s likely that the festival dates back to much earlier times and is probably related to Celtic Spring rituals.

The celebrations start at midnight the night before when the Night Song is sung to the landlord of the Golden Lion Inn. The next morning, with the town decorated with branches of green leaves, bluebells and cowslips, the children’s parade, with smaller sized, colt ‘Osses, starts at about 8.00am. The Day Song is accompanied by drums and accordions.

Unite and unite and let us all unite,
For summer is a come unto day,
And whither we are going we will all unite,
In the merry morning of May.

Since the end of the First World War there have been two ‘Osses, the Old (Red) ‘Oss and the Armistice or Peace ‘Oss which took on the Blue Ribbon. The Blue ‘Oss starts its parade at 10.00 followed at 11.00 by the Old ‘Oss. The two ‘Osses tour around the town, seldom meeting, led by the MC with his top hat and decorated cane, then the accordions and drums, followed by the Teaser and the ‘Oss, and the rest of the ‘Mayers’. The tour climbs the hill out of Padstow via the church to Prideaux Place where the Red ‘Oss dances outside the house. Later the Blue ‘Oss visits the house and is invited in.

The white clothing (which should only be worn by true Padstonians) is decorated with neckerchiefs of red or blue. The ‘Oss is made from a large circular hoop covered with black sailcloth that falls to the ground. The man carrying the ‘Oss wears a tall, fearsome, conical mask. At various points in the parade the ‘Oss ‘dies’ and the relentless beat of the drums stops while a mournful chorus is sung.

O! where is St. George,
O!, where is he O,
He is out in his long boat on the salt sea O.
Up flies the kite and down tails the lark O.
Aunt Ursula Birdhood she had an old ewe
And she died in her own Park O.

The ‘Oss is then ‘reborn’ to the cry of ‘Oss ‘Oss, Wee ‘Oss! and the drums and parade carry on.

As it begins to get dark, the two ‘Osses eventually meet in the town square and dance around the maypole, after which they are returned to their stables. The supporters then meet again at the maypole to carry on singing until midnight.

(Click on the photos to see them larger.)

Me having a beerThese photos were taken 40 years ago at the May Day celebrations in 1975. I arrived from Trebetherick where I was staying with friends at about 8.00 in the morning having caught the Black Tor Ferry across the Camel estuary from Rock and I stayed all day until well into the evening. I don’t remember how I got back to Trebetherick that night – possibly one or two beers had been drunk.

You can see more photos from the day in my collection at Flickr.

Thanks to John Buckingham of the Padstow Museum for help with the facts.

Morwenstow and Kilkhampton Churches

January 8th, 2015 by RoyReed

Earlier this week I drove up to the very north of Cornwall to photograph and make 360° panoramas of the churches at Morwenstow and Kilkhampton. They have some of the earliest features still to be seen on any Cornish church, both having Norman arches to the south door. In the case of Morwenstow a second Norman arch (reused from another church) was added when the porch was built, probably in the 15th century. Three bays of the north aisle also have Norman arches with zig-zag moulding.

Morwenstow Church

From 1834 to 1875 Morwenstow was the parish of the Reverend Robert S Hawker who wrote what has become known as the Cornish Anthem, ‘The Song of the Western Men’ (also known as ‘Trelawny’).

The Song of the Western Men

A good sword and a trusty hand!
A merry heart and true!
King James’s men shall understand
What Cornish lads can do!

And have they fixed the where and when?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!

Out spake their Captain brave and bold:
A merry wight was he:-
“If London Tower was Michael’s hold,
We’d set Trelawny free!

“We’ll cross the Tamar, land to land:
The Severn is no stay:
With ‘one and all,’ and hand in hand;
And who shall bid us nay?

“And when we come to London Wall,
A pleasant sight to view,
Come forth! come forth! ye cowards all:
Here’s men as good as you.

“Trelawny he’s in keep and hold:
Trelawny he may die:
But here’s twenty thousand Cornish bold
Will know the reason why!”

Kilkhampton Church

Kilkhampton has a great collection of over 150 bench ends with religious or heraldic imagery. Many of these date from about 1380, but some that were in a bad state of repair were replaced with copies in the 1860s.

New Website for Performance & Wellbeing

December 2nd, 2014 by RoyReed

Performance & WellbeingAnd to wind up a few very busy weeks, a complete redesign of Performance & Wellbeing‘s website has just ‘gone live’.

PaW commissioned illustrator James Oses to produce a set of drawings for the site. These give a light touch and are a welcome relief from the more typical stock library photos that are all too common on small business websites.

New Website for The Alliance

November 12th, 2014 by RoyReed

allianceI’ve just completed a redesign for The Alliance’s website. The new site has been made using WordPress and is based on the Smart theme by ThinkUp. It’s been heavily customised using a child theme and some extra bits in the functions.php file. The site is fully responsive and has been tested on various screen sizes, platforms and devices. It’s been a very nice project to work on.

Clapham Graffiti (2)

October 31st, 2014 by RoyReed

A second graffiti by Loretto has just appeared in Clapham – on Landor Road, just round the corner from Clapham North tube. This one depicts a man and woman sitting at a table, but the woman’s head has turned into a TV screen menu which the man is selecting from using a remote control. I love the cat sitting under the man’s chair.

Loretto graffiti

Click on the image to see it larger (and to see a close-up).

Clapham Graffiti

October 21st, 2014 by RoyReed

A new Banksy-like graffiti has appeared just off Clapham High Street. The work is the creation of graffiti artist Loretto and depicts the evolution of man from the apes to the job centre – a great commentary on the current political situation.

Job Centre Plus Graffiti by Loretto

Polzeath Panorama

October 6th, 2014 by RoyReed

Two days ago I went to Polzeath to take some panoramic photos. My main objective was to create a wide image to make into a large print (I still haven’t processed all of the photos yet and only done a couple of test stitches) but while I was there I made a 360° panorama for my website.

Polzeath

Very stupidly I totally forgot to shoot one section of the panorama, but I managed to repair this by using two of the photos I’d taken for one of the print shots. If you know where to look you can just see where the patch is, but I’m still quite pleased with the result. In my defence, I was in a position on the edge of a 10 metre drop where I couldn’t walk round the tripod as I panned the camera, but even so it was a silly mistake and I was lucky to be able to salvage the image.