Saturday, October 01, 2011

The tambourinist

click photo to enlarge
According to my edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) the word violinist (like the word violist for a viola player) is first recorded c.1670. Cellist however, first appears quite a bit later, in 1888, though the currently much less used violoncellist is recorded earlier, in 1835. I delved into the etymology of these words when I came to caption today's photograph. How does one describe someone who plays a tambourine? A trumpet player is a trumpeter not a trumpetist, though someone who plays a trombone is a trombonist. By association I made a stab at tambourinist, then checked to see if that was the word. The OED does list it with an earliest recorded use in Webster's Dictionary of 1961 and subsequent examples of tambourinist cited from 1970, 1971 and 1983. This struck me as a very late coining of the word given that the earliest recorded use of tambourine dates from 1579.

The tambourinist in the photograph can be seen in the gardens of Brodsworth Hall, South Yorkshire, one of the most complete Victorian stately homes. This figure is one of a number of statues bought in 1866 by Charles Sabine Augustus Thellusson for his newly built hall, many supplied by the Italian sculptor, Chevalier Casentini, who may have been responsible for this example.

It's not difficult to photograph a statue or piece of sculpture in context, and just as easy to select an interesting detail. What is harder is to make a satisfactory photograph comprising more than a representation of the work. My attempt at that here involved using a dark background of conifers together with a tree in autumnal colours, and positioning the sculpture relative to those so that colour and contrast worked together to make a bold image.

For more photographs of this location see these general views, this garden statue and topiary, and this garden building.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 105mm
F No: f11
Shutter Speed: 1/200
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On