art: 1. Aurore de Vilsden

The remains of a neolithic chambered long barrow, with a long since ploughed away mound and the remaining stones possibly those of a false entrance, was first recorded by Stukeley in the C18th. The site remains unexcavated and was re-erected in 1921. The area used to be a source for sarsens, and the last order for building work came in 1938 with repairs for Windsor Castle. Legend tells of a rabbit with coals for eyes which sits on the capstone at midnight to watch the devil with 8 white oxen attempt to pull it down.
OS: SU.152.696 North for half a mile along a track on Fyfield Down, off the A4 at Clatford Bottom heading west from Marlborough.

I wanted to represent this in silhouette as a companion to the starkness of the fields' freshly ploughed but frozen slopes, and obviously the composition's title is a very poor pun! I have only visited this site once so far, and this image was constructed from photos I took on a day so cold and wet that I had no intention of doing any in-situ sketches. I can't understand why the trackway to Devil's Den seems to have more standing water the steeper it gets though.
Click HERE to read Cleft Palette

oil on canvas, 30" x 30", 2003, £269

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