Thursday, December 08, 2011

Peterscourt, Peterborough

click photo to enlarge
As I've said elsewhere in this blog much of my photography is incidental. By that I mean the subjects that I photograph are the ones that present themselves to me as I go about my immediate locality and the wider world. So, when I set off on a pleasurable walk somewhere I take my camera and usually return home with some shots. If I go to explore a village, town or city my camera is pointed at anything that looks to be a suitable subject. It is unusual for me not to carry a camera when I'm out and about, and consequently the majority of the images in this blog were taken almost as a by-product of another activity.

However, every now and then I set my mind to photographing a specific subject. Or I shoot a subject and make a mental note to do so again in better or different light, weather or season. Today's photograph is an example of the latter. I've photographed Peterscourt before but only ever produced one shot (in September of this year) that I thought worthy of posting. It's a large brick building in Peterborough dating from 1856-64, the work of the eminent Victorian architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott. Peterscourt isn't a spectacular building, nor is it sufficiently feted to appear in many books about architectural history. Rather, it's one of those quietly competent,visually interesting, well-made buildings that can be found in most cities and which in their own undemonstrative way, grace our streets and make our passage through them a pleasanter experience.

I've struggled in the past to get a shot that shows the whole of the building. Parked vehicles, roadworks, the position of the sun and much else has conspired to get in the way. But, on a recent visit to Peterborough to do some Christmas shopping I took this shot in more favourable circumstances. It shows the asymmetrical nature of Peterscourt, the prominence given to the chimneys and dormers, the unassuming and functionally positioned main entrance and the dark brick detailing. Anyone interested in English architectural history will have noted the awkwardness of the white painted Georgian doorway within the Gothic, pointed arch of the entrance. Scott did not design the building this way. The doorcase was brought to the city from the London Guildhall when it was damaged during the second world war. Its prominent placement here detracts from Scott's overall conception but at least conserves an interesting piece of history.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 45mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/160
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On