Uffington White Horse: watercolour on wood
Does the Uffington white horse overlook the place where St George slew the dragon? I won’t be drawn either way, but this neolithic monument is a place of wild beauty. You can hear the footsteps of history as you gaze at the horse carved deep into the chalk hill.
This painting captures the majesty and mystery of the place, which for 3000 years has overlooked the downs. It is a place of magic, where the skylarks sing and the wind blows your cares away.
I have used a wonderful technique called ink resist which results in an image akin to a wood cut. I think it is appropriate for such an ancient place. The paper has been mounted on a birch wood board and then gently waxed to give it a sheen and depth, and is framed in a black float frame. The joy of this process is that the picture does not need protecting under glass. The Uffington white horse is one of a small collection of White Horse landscapes, you might like to see the others in this Nature Gallery.
Visible for miles around, the White Horse measures 111 metres from the tip of its tail to its ear, has been dated to the later Bronze Age or Iron Age, between 1740 and 210 BC. It may have been a territorial marker or a fertility symbol – its function is not certain.
Once every seven years from at least 1677 until the late 18th century a midsummer ‘scouring festival’ was held, during which local people cleaned the chalk outline of the horse and enjoyed a celebratory feast within the hillfort.
The shape of the horse has changed over the centuries. The present outline may be only a part of the original: aerial photography shows that a larger, more conventional shape of a horse lies beneath. The loss of shape has been caused by slippage of the top soil and by repeated recutting. The head currently has a prominent ‘eye’, and tusk-like ‘beak’ at its mouth.
As with all watercolours, it should not be hung in bright sunlight, an area of high humidity or near a heat source, but I am sure you knew that!
I am also happy to arrange shipping, and as I love each painting will do my best to ensure it reaches you in perfect condition. If you are not in the UK, I can get you a quote.
In addition to the gallery paintings I also accept commissions too, so feel free to get in touch, if you have something in mind.