I’m an architectural photographer and writer.
On my van-life travels through the British Isles I’m building up a word and photo-hoard of material culture that celebrates the value and distinctiveness of our built heritage and contributes to a sense of place.
My van is my time-machine, it gives me fresh perspectives on our remarkable places, shared here on a weekly basis. 📸🚐🏛
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The C10th Anglo-Saxon apse at All Saints, Wing, Buckinghamshire.
"Because the literacy of light and shade is comprehensible by all, regardless of language. Seeing is, literally, believing…"
The Close Beckons.
The cathedral close is a curious thing. It is a place in-between, neither here nor there, a transitional space. At all times it is shaped and populated by the gravitational pull of the cathedral.
I'd love to see a time lapse of the growth of a close over hundreds of years. There would appear a kind of linear veneration of the Gothic wonder at its heart - each building around the circumference, their doors and windows set (like leaves towards the sun) with their gaze upon the cathedral; each with a purpose linked to the fulcrum.
I caught a similar kind of flow state around a Romanesque arch over at St. Leonard in Middleton, Greater Manchester. To capture the enigmatic nature of the arch, I time lapsed the light moving over it, and accidentally netted a parallel world. It revealed the invisible desire paths of people: fast-paced, ant-like, drawn along the nave to the chevroned beauty. The time lapse recorded an enchanted motion. Because of the time lapse the walls ability to orchestrate the bustle became visible. The time-lapse reinforced my notions of a hidden kinetic energy within certain places.
Cathedral Close at Lincoln is like that.
Buildings of the cathedral close, Lincoln.
I use the term cathedral close to describe the curtilage and bounds around the cathedral at Lincoln.
The C14th Exchequer Gate is the western gateway into the Close. It was traditionally where people came to pay their dues to the church.
I was surprised at how close I could park to the cathedral. Limited to 1hr.
A Drive Around The Close And Lincoln Cathedral
Here's a short video of Woody the camper driving around the cathedral at Lincoln. As well as the cathedral, you also get to hear my camper van soundscape - the rattles and tinkles of the van. 🚐
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Most photos shot on iPhone
The historic core of Lincoln sits at the top of Steep Hill and is focused around the cathedral. Most times, whilst meandering through the streets, the cathedral is in view.
Below: Priory Gate was built in 1816 with the materials from the original C14th gatehouse that stood 50m to the north. It helps create a sense of enclosure.
Gravely Place on Minster Yard has a door set within a door. The C18th panelled door has been set within the infilled carriage entrance to this lovely building that originates in the early C14th. Curiously, there are two C14th corbels set within the wall.
But the detail that speaks to me most is the gnarled and rusty door knocker.
This facade on Pottergate tells a story spanning several hundred years. An arch that has been infilled with a C15th Gothic window; an off centre door with curious patterning; two sash windows loosely placed, and a canted bay window of the C19th.
C14th gate house - one of the defensive entrances to the Close.
Below: C14th Cantilupe Chantry South.
The Newport Arch
Woody loves driving through historic arches. Beverley (North Bar) is his favourite, but the Newport Arch is a close second. It is the oldest arch in the UK still used by traffic. It is 3rd century, Roman. Nice coffee shop just without the arch.
Lincoln in the raking light.
I'm in Lincoln at first light. I'm waiting for the light to rake over the north transept so I've got about a half hour. I set an alarm on my watch and head out to soak in the light play on the ochre of the oolitic and the burnt umber of the brick in the old town. To complicate matters the light is cajoled by the pantiles and dappled by the trees.
The streets come alive in the early morning sun, articulated by the light and shade.
I come across a group of buildings focused around the stone masons yard. The walls effervesce in the acutely angled sun. I spot a mason, opening up the workshop. It takes every ounce of my energy to stop me from hailing him and shouting: " Hey, stop! Look at the walls! "
The watch on my hand begins to vibrate. It's time to head back to the south transept and its rose window called the Deans Eye. I'm not disappointed, the transept is bathed in a golden light.
The Deans Eye
The north and south transepts at Lincoln have rose windows that are apotropaic in nature. The north window represents the dean's eye looking north to shun the devil, whilst the south window represents the bishop's eye welcoming the Holy Spirit.
Buttress architects were responsible for the conservation of the Dean's Eye. The complex project involved suspending the roundels of glass in a new frame.
More on Buttress and their work at Lincoln Cathedral (with some of my photographs)
More from Lincoln Cathedral
Image below: Andy Marshall with permission from Buttress.
I've been photographing Lincoln Cathedral for a number of years but I've always been frustrated by the proximity of the Close to the west front - never being able to capture the full expanse of the facade.
With a little help from Buttress (thanks Liz and Nick!) I was able to access the roof of the Exchequer and finally get that shot.
In parts, the cathedral is like a citadel.
The Romanesque front entrance.
Tournai Marble Font
It's one of only eight surviving C12th Flemish Tournai marble fonts in England.
For Comparison: The Winchester Cathedral Tournai Marble Font.
The Chapter House - part of my photographic journey
As a budding photographer I sought out the photographers that graced the Batsford books of my childhood. Edwin Smith became my guru in all things light and shade. I sought out many locations that he photographed including the chapter house at Lincoln. Many years ago, during a commission to photograph part of the nave, I gained access to the chapter house and worked my way through Edwin Smith's vantage point, trying to replicate his photograph.
Lincoln Cathedral: the decagonal chapter house with a star vault of twenty radiating ribs | Edwin Smith.
NOTES: Designed as a decagon with two windows in each bay, this is the earliest of a series of polygonal chapter houses in England. Dating from the early part of the 13th century, the large dome is supported by a massive central pillar, an architectural feature which could be dispensed with in later Gothic chapter houses such as York.
To copy is to absorb the perspective of another. It creates a foundation of understanding that enables a move towards one's own perspective.
Moving beyond Edwin Smith - a recent photograph (taken with iPhone).
Parked up in the Close, put the kettle on and watched the sun rise up from the east.
During a shoot at Worcester Cathedral, I was lucky enough to stay all night in the Close and watch the cathedral morph from a hardened silhouette into a filigree massing of great beauty.
My Road Trip (incorporating Lincoln) in full
Planning a road trip for next year? This trip takes you through the medieval heartlands of England, travelling from the Humber estuary -taking in Lincoln - and then ending up at the Thames.
Access and purchase digital media by Andy Marshall
The Shrine Church of Saint Melangell is one of the loveliest small churches in Britain and one of the most remote. The Church is a Grade 1 listed building and there has been a Christian Church here for over 1200 years.
Publishers praised UK city’s arts scene and gastronomic diversity as it makes the list of 30 best places to go
Film and Sound
"The richest village flower in the garden of the Middle Ages". In this edition of Shell-Mex's Discovering Britain with John Betjeman series, it's Yorkshire's East Riding / north Humberside villages that get the JB treatment. The camera passes through Holderness and Oteringham before luxuriating in the fine scenery and pre-reformation church architecture of Patrington while Betjeman waxes lyrical.
From the Twittersphere
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The Comperandum: a nod to Banister Fletcher here
Ways of Seeing: Learn how to be curious
Treasure Hoard Gazetteer
Andy Marshall’s Treasure Hoard Gazetteer Map
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