Saturday, 13 July 2013

Mournful faces in a lost city of stone - Isle of Portland

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After the steep climb up from Chesil Beach, on the Isle of Portland, we discovered an overgrown ancient city riddled with a labyrinth of crumbling streets. This is the abandoned Tout Quarry, an 18th century quarry that provided stone for many of the most famous buildings in London including Buckingham Palace and St Paul's Cathedral.

The air was still and silent, the occasional butterfly fluttered past. As we explored the giant blocks and quarry walls I started to notice faces staring out at me, mournful faces - I couldn't help but think of Pompeii. These are just a few of the sculptures and carvings that have adorned the barren rock faces here since the quarry became a sculpture park in 1983. Apparently there's now more than 70 sculptures and carvings ranging from flowers to dinosaurs, but the fun is trying to find them. Be careful though - it's easy to get lost and we didn't see anyone else all day. Here's a few of the ones that we found and you can see more of my pics in my Flickr set.

  A quarry street where the portland stone has been removed
A 'Pompeiian' face stares out from a fallen block
Skull amongst the rocks
'Window' by Justin Nichol
Mournful Man
Dry Stone Archway connecting two sections of the quarry
Representation of a Baroque garden (by Shelagh Wakely)
'Fallen Fossil' by Stephen Marsden
'Still Falling' by Antony Gormley 
"Working with stone is a fine job. Working on stone in a quarry is a challenge. You have to consider the material as part of the place, as part of the earth"

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