Monday, January 12, 2009

Anglesey Abbey

click photo to enlarge
Anglesey Abbey, a country house near the village of Lode, Cambridgeshire, is now in the care of the National Trust. Much of the building, the 98 acres of garden, and the nearby eighteenth century Lode Water Mill, are open to the public. The house, as its name suggests, began life as a religious foundation. During the reign of Henry 1, i.e. between 1100 and 1135, Augustinian monks built a priory here. It continued as a religious building until the expulsion of the monks during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1535. Around 1600 it was taken into private ownership and converted into a house. The ruinous remains were extended and improved in subsequent centuries, taking on the appearance of a building of the C17 and C18 with earlier remains. In 1973, on the death of the owner, the building and gardens were left to the National Trust.

The great temptation with a subject such as this is to fill the frame with a main facade or perhaps a corner, giving emphasis to one side of the building, letting the light model the walls, window bays, doorways, roofs and chimneys. On my visit I took some shots that did this. However, an image that gives a house context is also desirable, particularly one such as this where the setting, surrounded by trees, lawns and gardens, is central to the way its owners conceived the building. On the day I was there the sky was flawless blue, so this composition that minimised the overarching blandness, and offered a glimpse of the main facade across lawns from behind trees and shrubs, seemed a good approach. The dappled shadows of trees behind me gave foreground interest on a clear, cold, winter day.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 21mm (42mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On