SILBURY HILL

SILBURY HILL, WILTSHIRE
A late neolithic man-made mound with a varying construction date probably centred around 2700BCE. Silbury was likely to have taken over a generation to construct, reaching 130 in height with a flat top of 100 in diameter. Initially a small mound was formed, then covered by chalk from a surrounding ditch, which was later refilled. Successions of turf, gravel and chalk infill were added in hexagonal stages, to reach its cumulative height, and the base was encircled with local sarsen stones. The hill was probably left as exposed chalk, making it a focal point of the landscape, despite its positioning on low ground compared to the local natural hills. Swallowhead Spring and the River Kennet add to its mysticism. In 1776 the Duke of Northumberland employed Cornish tin miners to dig a shaft from the summit which may have destroyed any archaeological evidence of internal features revealing its true purpose. 1849 saw Merewether insert another shaft from the south and further excavations have also failed to reveal any new information. The earlier shaft has collapsed in the 1920s and in 2000, and access is now denied to the hill for safety reasons. Two smaller man-made hills are also in the area, the Marlborough Mound completely overgrown in the grounds of Marlborough College and the Hatfield Barrow at Marsden, which was destroyed by 1818. In the early C20th Cotsworth came to the conclusion that the hill's sole purpose was that of a giant sundial, whilst legend says that King Sil is buried within astride a golden statue of his horse.
OS: SU.100.685 Silbury is north of the A4 between Avebury and Marlborough.

art: 1. Twilight at Silbury Hill; 2. Silbury: Shadowed; 3. Silbury: Sunset; 4. Artery; 5. Silbury: Lit


TWILIGHT AT SILBURY HILL
ink & charcoal, A3, 2000, 40


SILBURY: SHADOWED
oil on board, 14" x 18", 2001, 70

Actually started this one in the car with the headlights on whilst listening to England draw 0-0 with Finland on the radio. Can't get more mystical than that! I then left it for a while, eventually retaining the modern fence in deference to this, and silhouetted Silbury itself to retain its magic despite the unnatural garishness of the other colours.
Click HERE to read The Silbury Tongue


ARTERY
oil on board, 14 x 18", 2003, 65

This autumnal view is from the foot of the path leading to West Kennet long barrow after a day's heavy rain, and encompasses both Silbury Hill and the shallow trickle of the River Kennet. The detail of the moon breaking through the clouds is very much lost in this bleached-out photo of the painting. The title derives from the Kennet's role in the environment and millennia's settlements. And it's got art in it!


SILBURY: SUNSET
oil on board, 18 x 14", 2001, 60 -pending repairs

Silhouetted to the right and viewed from the nearby long barrow of West Kennet, at Summer Solstice 2000. There was nothing more to this despite the magic of the environs than simply wanting to 'capture the moment', although I now keep finding too many other meanings to explain.


SILBURY: LIT
oil on board, 18 x 14", 2001, 60

Ah...Unrealistic photorealism! Everything I wanted it to be.

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