The Lark over the Sussex Weald from Devils Dyke Season Fall
‘The Lark over the Sussex Weald from Devils Dyke Season Fall’.
Panoramic format. Print size 124 x 30.5 cm approx. Signed print from a limited edition of 100. From original ink drawing to which I apply colour digitally. Printed on fine art paper using archival inks.
Devils Dyke was formed during the Ice age; it is England’s deepest and widest dry valley nearly a mile long. Described by Constable as ‘the grandest view of the World’. The view I portray looks down onto the Sussex Weald confined by the South and in the distance the North Downs and even the Isle of Wight that can be seen on clear days.
This print was created as a result of a commission where I had to revised a previous print. This version has an Autumn fell and the addition of the Isle of Wight that can be seen on clear days.
Painters and poets have historically celebrated this view, it comes to my mind the poem ‘A Hike on the Downs’ by John Betjeman from the book printed in 1937 ‘ Continual Dew’ that goes like this:
“Yes, rub some soap upon your feet!
We’ll hike round Winchester for weeks—
Like ancient Britons—just we two—
Or more perhaps like ancient Greeks.
“You take your pipe—that will impress
Your strength on anyone who passes;
I’ll take my Plautus (non purgatus)
And both my pairs of horn-rimmed glasses.
The summer or 2019, one clear day my friend Eros and I had a picnic in this exact location, it is hard to believe that it is only twenty minutes outside Brighton. It had been in my mind for some time to depict this mesmerising view. We sat on the grass with our sandwiches when i heard it first, a lark, instinctively i found myself looking up scrutinising the sky to subsequently find it, up there, held in the air singing its defiant rather loud tune.
Can you spot the two larks in this print? As it happens in nature you will have to put some effort to find them. Larks in Mythology and literature have several meanings, they stand for daybreak as in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 “Like to the lark at break of day arising / From sullen earth sings hymns at heaven’s gate; ..”