Friday, February 20, 2015


click photo to enlarge
The obelisk is a monumental form of long standing. This tall, tapering, four-sided monument, capped by a four-sided pyramid takes its name from the Greek "obeliskos" yet it pre-dates the Greeks and is common in Egyptian architecture. My introduction to the obelisk was in primary school when we learned about Cleopatra's Needle. This is an Egyptian obelisk of c.1450BC (far older than Cleopatra) that was brought from Egypt to London in 1877 and in 1878 was erected on the Thames embankment where it remains today. Paris and New York have similar (and similarly named) obelisks. In England obelisks were popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when they were used as memorials and eyecatchers alongside other Greek, Roman, and occasionally Egyptian architectural forms.

The example in today's photograph is an eyecatcher in the parkland that surrounds Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire. My photograph shows a view of it from the Iron Age "British Camp" on the Malvern Hills near Herefordshire Beacon. Its purpose is to enhance the landscape and endow it with classical qualities. Follies, ruins, monumental arches, pillars, temples, rotundas and obelisks were all pressed into service by landscape architects such as Repton and Brown, as they tried to re-create the Romantic views seen in paintings by the likes of Claude Lorraine. This particular obelisk is about a mile and half from the castle on a low summit, a place where it would be regularly seen by the occupants as they walked around their extensive estate.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 112mm (168mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On