Back in 2014 I was beginning to discover the (to me) thrilling world of the fossils embedded in the Oxford Clay which underlies this area. We were once a Jurassic shallow sea and its fishy remains are still held in the sticky mud. I have collected quite a few, see my blog post; More about fossils, here, tiny crinoids, elegant belemnites and the odd fragment of ammonite collected from the reservoir shore.On Tuesday we made a brief visit to the Sedgewick Museum in Cambridge. If you love cases of fossils and bits of bones and maps and things, a quiet contemplative atmosphere and no crowds, this is for you. I could have settled in happily for a few days of quiet sketching.
There is so much there to study and consider; the beautiful hand written labels on the specimens, Darwin’s note books, astonishing relics of creatures that knew a different earth and the strangely comforting feeling of being amongst benign ancestors. I thought more about the layering of my Path prints and those things deeper down from 200 million years ago.The museum was started by Dr John Woodward (1665-1728) and included fossils which had been collected and drawn by the Italian artist Agostino Scilla who published a book of exquisite observed drawings in 1670 See more about Woodwardian and Scilla here.
A Woodwardian case including some of Scillas fossils.
One the drawings from the Scilla book magnificently titled La vana speculazione disingannata dal senso (Vain Speculation Undeceived by Sense, 1670). I want to draw some more fossils and bones now.Then there is the structures of rocks to consider, the layering of rocks and sediment.
Print work has been hampered by an awful cold which has laid me low for the last 10 days but colds are often an opportunity to think about things and I have been considering how I might incorporate some of these wonderful things in the prints. It’s all there under my feet, embedded and hidden, but there.However in the sketchbook I have been working on a few more rough ideas exploring the path, what I see on it, possible colours, how the map can help and other random thoughts about the fence posts. The charcoal burners keep returning too.~
A4 Sketchbook notes
Ideas and thoughts.. sometimes having a cold can be quite productive.:).