Sunday, 23 August 2015

High Wycombe from the Marlow Road

On Thursday I went to Tate Britain, and decided (after seeing a few of my favourites in the old part of the building) to focus on the Clore Wing, which is mostly full of Turner pieces which I have not properly explored before. i was amazed to read that they have over 42,000 Turner items (including sketches), and this got me thinking.

I searched the online catalogue to see if he had painted or drawn anything of places I know, so I searched for Devon, and then Buckinghamshire... One picture instantly jumped out... Wycombe Church from an angle that looks as though it could not be far from our flat, I was fairly sure I knew the spot that Turner must have been standing, and that our modern day flat would have been in his picture had it been built in 1802.

So this morning, armed with printout of Turners painting i strode up the hill, looking to match the angle of the church and line it up with the curve of the hills behind. I confidently strode to the spot in the field that i thought it must be, and instantly knew that I had got it all wrong. The hills behind didn't match, and the angle on the church was not right. I was on the wrong side of Marlow Hill, and realised this might take a bit longer than I thought.

I crossed the busy 4 lane road (luckily on a Sunday Morning it is not too busy) and strode up the hill to the only turning off the main road that could possibly provide the right angle on the church. Sadly trees obscured the view all along, and the area I would have needed to get to was private property of Wycombe Abbey School. I kept walking until I just glimpsed the Church through the smallest gap in the foliage, it was still not quite the right angle, but very very close. I walked to the end of the railings and the row of trees only to have my view blocked by houses.

I walked back to the gap to estimate where the right place would be. I think that I would need to be about 20 or 30 metres forward from where I took this photo to be in the exact spot that Turner stood when he painted 'High Wycombe from the Marlow Road", but that falls well into the private grounds of the school.

I will visit again in the winter to see if I can get a slightly clearer view without those pesky leaves!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome idea, Neil - looks like it'd be a pretty peaceful spot when the weather is nice as well, perfect for sitting down and doing some writing!