An­cient rock turns into work of art

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - ART -

Ge­orge Bernard Shaw’s Hat Stand, which speaks vol­umes about the man.

Bur­ton and Har­land took the pic­tures for a book, Writ­ers and Their Houses, pub­lished twenty years ago which fea­tured es­says by mod­ern­day writ­ers about the homes of their pre­de­ces­sors. These in­cluded pieces by Melvyn Bragg on Wordsworth, Jeanette Win­ter­son on Vi­rig­inia Woolf, PD James on Jane Austen and Sea­mus Heaney’s thoughts about fel­low poet WB Yeats.

“The book was ac­tu­ally the idea of the Arts Coun­cil and they per­suaded a pub­lisher to do it,” says Wal­shaw who was born in York, brought up in Scar­bor­ough and is now based in Devon. “Peter and I were com­mis­sioned to take the pho­to­graphs. We trav­elled all around the coun­try and over to Ire­land. It was a fan­tas­tic thing to do.”

Along­side the pub­li­ca­tion of the book, the Arts Coun­cil funded a tour­ing ex­hi­bi­tion which pre­miered at the Ed­in­burgh Book Fair and then went into var­i­ous venues around Eng­land.

The ex­hi­bi­tion has been re­vived as a trib­ute to Bur­ton, one of the coun­try’s finest ar­chi­tec­tural pho­tog­ra­phers, who died, aged 87, in Fe­bru­ary this year. “The orig­i­nal ex­hi­bi­tion fin­ished its tour at Dove Cot­tage, Wordsworth’s home in the Lake District, and they asked if they could keep it for a while,” says Wal­shaw. “It stayed there for some years and then it seemed to get lost, they didn’t know quite what had hap­pened to it.”

Then last Oc­to­ber Wal­shaw re­ceived a slightly em­bar­rassed email ex­plain­ing that the ex­hi­bi­tion had been found in a cup­board un­der some stairs. “Luck­ily the pho­to­graphs were in fan­tas­tic con­di­tion so we de­cided it was a good idea to show the ex­hi­bi­tion again and the Stephen Joseph Theatre were keen to host it.”

Wal­shaw and Bur­ton worked on many projects to­gether and their pho­to­graphs ap­pear in around thirty books. “It’s very hard to sep­a­rate who did what, al­though Peter did all the print­ing of the pho­to­graphs,” says Wal­shaw.

“It was al­ways a real team ef­fort and we got to know how to work with each other. I learned so much about pho­tog­ra­phy from Peter. He was my English teacher at school, Scar­bor­ough Col­lege – he was a huge in­flu­ence on a lot of peo­ple and he in­spired me by his love of architecture and pho­tog­ra­phy.”

Bur­ton, who was born in Whitby and taught in Ripon and Scar­bor­ough, was first dis­cov­ered as a pho­tog­ra­pher by the poet John Bet­je­man and the artist John Piper when they were do­ing their Shell Guides to the coun­ties of Bri­tain. Bur­ton be­came one of their prin­ci­pal pho­tog­ra­phers.

“I was up with Peter at Christ­mas when he got the pho­to­graphs back,” says Wal­shaw. “So he was able to see them and he was thrilled that the ex­hi­bi­tion was go­ing to the Stephen Joseph Theatre.” A NEW video-based art in­stal­la­tion has opened on the East Coast.

Artist Si­mon Pope took his in­spi­ra­tion from the large boul­der which sits at the bot­tom of the re­sort’s Royal Av­enue. The stone is what’s known as a glacial er­ratic and it was car­ried from Scot­land to the Scar­bor­ough dur­ing the last Ice Age. The re­sult of Pope’s re­search is The Out­lier which can be seen at the town’s Ro­tunda Mu­seum un­til Septem­ber 28. For more de­tails go to www. scar­bor­ough­mu­se­um­strust.org. uk

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