Saturday, May 26, 2012

An earthly paradise

That's how Dorothy Wordsworth described the grounds of Allan Bank, the rather grand house on the hill overlooking Grasmere Lake where in 1808 she, her brother William, his wife Mary, Mary's sister Sara and the three little Wordsworth children moved when they left the increasingly cramped conditions of Dove Cottage.

In addition there were two friends, fellow poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas de Quincey, who also came to stay for protracted visits. Extraordinary characters, one of whom was in love with Sara.
It must have been quite an interesting and emotional household!

Ironically Allan Bank had been lambasted as a horrible blot on the landscape by Wordsworth as he had watched it being built, slap bang in the middle of his idyllic, beloved view from Dove Cottage a couple of years previously, a no-concessions white rectangle in the midst of lush green upland.

But as it turned out the Wordworth Allan Bank interlude was a brief one. The chimneys smoked horribly and William fell out with the landlord. After two years they left for pastures new though near.

The house is now a National Trust property, recently restored after fire destroyed much of the interior a few years ago.

The above is what I did yesterday. I haven't got very far as you see. Though I must admit it has moved on from the minimalist evening before:

As you see, it's all about moving the pieces around at the moment.

I've been looking at a lot of Samuel Palmer, Edward Calvert and British neo-Romantics lately and I think some of it has rubbed off. I enjoyed going through my boxes of cuttings to assemble a nice big swatch of nightime colours and reading some Wordsworth at bedtime to try and think my way into this imaginary landscape loosely based on some photos hunted down on the net (good old Google).


  1. How nice to be able to create, read, and daydream about your subjects. Let me know when you create a Wordsworth salad... then possibly a Wordsworth cocktail!

  2. I wonder if Wordsworth ever ate a salad? Think he was a roast and 3 veg sort myself. Shelley, now, apparently existed on meagre plates of string beans (there are some amusing accounts of him at dinner) so I'm sure he would have welcomed a salad.