STONEHENGE

art: 1. The Estate; 2. Equinox; 3. Stonehenge Mid-Morn; 4. From Stonehenge Estate

STONEHENGE, WILTSHIRE
On Salisbury Plain, surrounded by centuries of continuing war games, and allegedly flown to England from Ireland by Merlin, Stonehenge was just as likely to have been brought by a tribe of African giants as Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed in the C12th. Mind you, Aubrey claimed in the 1600s that it was built by druids as a temple for human sacrifice, despite the fact that there were no druids until 1500 years after it had already become a derelict ancient monument. He did like a laugh though. Actually built in 4 distinct phases starting around 3000BCE and culminating in 2400BCE before its abandonment around 1600BCE. The first phase saw the construction of the henge and the mysterious “Aubrey holes”, small holes of uncertain use in the bank and ditch, and have been subsequently filled with out of context cremation deposits. Rediscovered in the C20th they were named after the aforementioned John Aubrey, who had first noted them in 1666. Post holes have been uncovered dating from between 2900BCE and 2600BCE, in a second phase of development, and it was the third phase around 2600BCE that the bluestones were transported from the Welsh Preseli Mountains. These were reset during the 4th phase of 2400BCE, when 74 sarsens from the Marlborough Downs 15 miles away were erected. Up to 12’ tall and weighing 26 tons, they encircled 5 trilithons (ie 5 groups of 3 stones each) forming a horseshoe feature opening to the north eastern avenue. And then much of it was re-erected and set in cement in the C20th. There is so much going on at this site that archaeological fact can seem anathema, but the evolution from lunar temple to solar temple is generally acknowledged. Excavations by Hawley in 1924 pointed to a 30’ circular wooden structure at the north east, and he uncovered human bones suggesting a possible mortuary site prior to interment. At the north east entrance he excavated 56 postholes in rows of 6, possibly recording the rise of the moon, with 6 larger ones delineating the 18½ year lunar cycle. The avenue of approach is aligned to the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset and the station stones mark the midwinter sunrise and midsummer sunset. The heel stone is the only surviving unshaped stone, dating to 2500BCE, and undoubtedly had a companion, between which the solstice sun rose. Stonehenge’s central axis is aligned on the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset, the widening of the north east entrance shifting the axis and transforming the temple’s prime mover from lunar to solar. The positioning of the stones and the smoothing and shaping on their inward side have led to some recent updating of views re the use of infrasound in ritual. And it all stands in a 6 mile wide cemetery of numerous barrows, cursuses and henges such as Durrington walls and Woodhenge to comprise the greatest of neolithic and bronze age ritual landscapes.
OS: SU.122.422 At the junction of the A303 and A360 north of Salisbury.


THE ESTATE
oil on canvas, 30 x 40", 2002, £360
Ltd Ed prints available (/500), Postcard prints available

Stonehenge is such an imposing feature, despite the odd person voicing their disappointment at first sight. I decided that a view from across the estate would set it in a more natural context as opposed to a main feature which people would recognise from the tourists' viewpoint next to the roadside or from the car park. And nobody believes my story that it was constucted by neo-communist penguins using umbrellas of tofu...
Click HERE to read The Estate


EQUINOX
oil on canvas, 40" x 32", 2003, £370

Whilst The Estate depicted Stonehenge within its landscape this is pure dedication to those who like to park. A basic depiction at around the scale from a tour bus and juxtaposition to modern tendencies. With Stonehenge still synonymous with media depicted excess drug taking at Summer Solstice, I decided to change the festival but retain the notion with the sky and earth creating a rather Caribbean feel to maintain the ganja cliché. The bands of cloud represent the modern roads which impinge the site.
Click HERE to read Lost and Confused


STONEHENGE MID-MORN
charcoal, A3, 2000, £60


FROM STONEHENGE ESTATE
ink & charcoal, A3, 2000, £60

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