The Blue Stones

21 Oct

pentre ifan

I’ve been thinking about how to develop the drawings I did last weekend in North Pembrokeshire. I have seven drawings from four different Neolithic sites and I thought that one or two of them might look good as cyanotypes.

Cyanotype is an archaic form of photography invented in early Victorian times by Sir John Herschel which results in a blue image. The original charcoal and carbon drawing onto marbled paper was done in the field at the enigmatic ancient burial tomb of Pentre Ifan in the Presceli Mountains in Pembrokeshire, Wales. This striking Neolithic dolmen is almost 6 thousand years old. It is a lasting reminder of Celtic ancestors and the site is inspirational. I worked quickly in the late afternoon Autumn sunshine to catch it before the sun went down.

I turned the original drawing into a negative and coated a sheet of Bockingford paper with the cyanotype chemicals. I put the negative onto the paper and put a sheet of glass over it. I exposed it for three hours in the weak Autumn daylight, as the Victorians would have done. It was then washed in cold water to develop it.

Here’s a lovely video from Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, showing how Pentre Ifan might have looked when it was originally built.


This artwork is for sale through Artfinder



6 Responses to “The Blue Stones”

  1. allesistgut October 22, 2015 at 07:35 #

    Wow, this is really huge and a very interesting monument. Have a lovely day! 😀

    • Rosie Scribblah October 22, 2015 at 07:38 #

      Thank you. It’s fascinating to see what it might have looked like originally. What we see now are the bones. Bones of stone hhhhmmmmmm 😊

  2. Sharon Mann October 22, 2015 at 00:33 #

    I like the results very much. Fascinating video, thanks for sharing the history behind your art.

    • Rosie Scribblah October 22, 2015 at 05:34 #

      Thank you, Sharon. The ancient history of these monuments fascinates me. I see it as environmental art.

  3. Leonie Andrews October 21, 2015 at 22:21 #

    Interesting concept of how the monument might have looked – amazing if that is what the evidence suggests. My partner annoyingly refers to all such suggestions as “another b*****it archaeological reconstruction”. Another thing, would you consider drawing back into your cyanotypes? It could be the photo, but the print seems to not have the strong tonal dynamic of the original. Perhaps you could draw over a prepared cyanotypes background?

    • Rosie Scribblah October 23, 2015 at 04:30 #

      I occasionally draw over a cyanotype if I don’t like it, then it becomes a different piece entirely, but I accept the vagaries of the medium, which tends to give flattened tones. I ramped up the contrast on the negatives but so many variables come into play that they rarely have as much contrast as the negative. It’s the nature of the beast. I agree with your Husb about a lot of archaeological reconstructions but this one is based on all the available evidence, so far.

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