Sunday, July 18, 2010

Captain Matthew Flinders RN

click photo to enlarge
It's not unusual to find a town or a city honouring its sons and daughters with a memorial stone or a statue in a prominent place. It is said that London has more statues than any other city, and when I visit the capital I always come across a new one that I've never seen before.Given the size of London it's not surprising that there are so many. You would think it more unusual to come across such a thing in a rural village or town in an agricultural county such as Lincolnshire. And yet quite a few small settlements have statues to prominent people, often explorers. One such is Donington in the district of Holland.

The market place of this village has a slightly smaller than life size metal statue of Captain Matthew Flinders RN (1774-1814), the explorer who discovered and mapped parts of Australia. Alongside him is his cat, Trim. The house where he was born and raised (his father was the local doctor) was demolished in 1908. However, in the later twentieth century the village decided to commemorate its most famous son, and village signs were erected noting that Donington was his birthplace. The chancel of the church had long held memorial tablets to Flinders and his family, but in 1979 a memorial window was installed in a north east window of the north aisle. The design is by John Hayward, and it depicts Flinders in naval uniform. It also shows his friend (and fellow explorer) George Bass from Aswarby, his patron, Sir Joseph Banks, coats of arms, a map of part of the Australian coast, his sloop, "Investigator", various navigational instruments, and a picture of the house in which he was born. There is also a panel noting that the window was paid for by funds from Australia and the UK. Flinders' writings suggest that he had no doubt about the significance of himself and his discoveries, and he would no doubt have been pleased to see public acknowledgement of this in his home town as well as in several places in Australia.

I used the LX3, hand-held, for this shot. Fairly heavy negative EV was required to keep the colour of the lightest sections, and post processing was necessary to correct verticals as well as bring back the colour of the areas that became too dark in the original image. The duller colours of the lower third are the result of the background of bushes and trees outside in the churchyard - a common problem when photographing stained glass.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 7.4mm (35mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/30
ISO: 200
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On