Saturday, November 30, 2013

Excalibur's Pasture

Another view of the stone at Mitchell's Fold that legend ties to young Arthur Pendragon pulling Excalibur from a stone to prove his divine right to the throne…along with the royal calf.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Stone

The other half of the Sword in the Stone legend. We often hear of Excalibur but not of the stone from which it was pulled. I found a number of traditionally held locations for the Stone of the legend. This one was found in a stone circle known as Mitchell's Fold. The break in the rock makes it a logical source for the legend. From a potential site of proving the ordained and rightful king to a contemporary use as a scratching post for the local herd of cattle.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Solitude in Trent

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lady of Shalott

Here is the John William Waterhouse painting of The Lady of Shalott as it hangs in the Tate Gallery in London. The Lady of Shalott is a victorian ballad written by none other than Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson. It is the story of a Lady who lives alone in a castle looking out upon the world through the aid of a mirror. Simply watching and then weaving what she sees into a tapestry. Upon seeing the reflection of Sir Lancelot, though forbidden, she leaves her castle. Then finds a boat upon which she writes her name and then sets adrift towards Camelot. Singing her death song.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Loch Lomond

As mentioned in the previous post, one potential location for the 2nd through 5th battles of King Arthur was by Loch Lomond at the outlet of the River Douglas. This is a view of Loch Lomond right by that outlet.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Welcome to Inverbeg, Scotland. A very, very small pitstop on the edge of Loch Lomond. This is a beautiful place for a vacation. This area is also a possible candidate for the site of the second through fifth battles (out of 12) of King Arthur based on the writings of Nennius. It was a battle based on a promise of Arthurs to rid England of the Saxon menace. Arthur marched north and met the Saxon forces at the river Douglas. Some suppose that the spot of the bottle would have taken place where the river drained into the lake. If legend and speculation hold true, then one of the locations for the battles would be just out of sight, right around the bend ahead.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Another photograph from Lacock Abbey. This is the room used in the first Harry Potter movie where Harry would go and stare into the Mirror of Erised. That is all…enjoy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Latticed Window

This is another photograph I made at Lacock Abbey as part of my photo history nerd pilgrimage. This is known as the Latticed Window. Many believe that the very first photographic negative ever made was of this window in August of 1835 using what his wife Constance referred to as a Mousetrap Camera. (A copy of the negative with Talbot's notes are posted below) Here is a quote from Talbot describing the images he made in 1835. (He didn't reveal his process until 1839 after he heard about the announcement of the daguerreotype process in Paris)

"In the summer of 1835 I made in this way a great number of representations of my house in the country, which is well suited to the purpose. And this building I believe to be the first that was ever yet known to have drawn its own picture." William Henry Fox Talbot

I love the poetic notion of the house drawing its own picture. (The notion is admittedly better than this particular photograph. This is my geek moment, don't judge)

Monday, November 18, 2013

St Mary Abbots

Interior picture of the St Mary Abbots Anglican church on High Street Kensington in London. Neo-Gothic Early English style construction if you were wondering. (Don't worry, I had to look that fact up) This church also has the tallest spire in London. Tallest spire in England is the Salisbury Cathedral. Pictures from there to come shortly.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ode to Talbot

Many of the first photographs ever taken were taken at Lacock Abbey in England. It was the home of William Henry Fox Talbot who is considered one of the inventors of photography. Before the Daguerreotype had been released in France, Talbot had independently and without knowledge of the other process, been developing his own photographic process. The process was fundamentally different in many ways. Talbot continued to refine his process and it eventually became known as the Calotype process. (His mother insisted on calling them Talbotypes) The Calotype was a paper negative process (the first positive/negative process) that could be reprinted and had a beautiful textural quality due to printing through the paper fibers. I took a group of students to Lacock Abbey last summer and being the photo history nerd that I am it felt akin to a religious pilgrimage. I took this image simply as a tribute to one of Talbots early photographs that I have included below. (With a touch of Atgét thrown in as well) Those early experiments of Talbot have led to such a beautiful legacy. I truly adore the art and craft of photography.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Halls of Higher Learning

Another image from the cloisters at Lacock Abbey. Birthplace of the positive/negative process in photography and a location that was used prominently in the first two Harry Potter movies.

"The third floor corridor on the right hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death." Albus Dumbeldore

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tangled Dungeon

This photograph is of the interior and ceiling of a room in Lacock Abbey. This room was used as Severus Snape's dungeon classroom in the first two Harry Potter Movies…also seems to be an inspiration for Disney's Tangled. Little flower star designs painted all over the ceiling.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Roman Round Table

These are the ruins of a Roman ampitheater found in Caerleon. For centuries it has been referred to as the round table of King Arthur. I find it curious how the round table is always portrayed as a literal table in contemporary retellings but in the U.K. I found several large earthen work structures filling the legendary role. A location with ties to legendary warriors, a large meeting place, an easy way for a leader to speak to his followers. It makes sense to have a large place such as this for kings of old to gather their ranks. Its funny how things sometimes become "truth" without our knowing what inspired them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tennyson's Window

Caerleon in Wales is often tied to the legend of King Arthur with literary connection clear back to Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniæ written around 1136. Granted most locations tied to the legend have very little probability of being correct but one locations claims are factual…at least in the literary world. In 1856, Alfred Lord Tennyson stayed at the Hanbury Arms where he began writing his famous Morte d'Arthur which was later incorporated into his Idylls of the King. This window inside the pub of Hanbury Arms is known as Tennyson's Window. This is were Tennyson would sit while looking over the River Usk and working on his masterpiece. They were gracious enough to let me photograph before they opened and then I had a meat pie for lunch at this very table.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pendragon Castle

Legend ties this ruined castle to Uther Pendragon. Also believed to be the location of his death by poisoning of the well by saxon dogs and is also known for a failed attempt to divert the River Eden to create a moat for his castle. History of course lists off a number of other owners. All powerful and important in their day but none of their names recognizable to me. More evidence that fame and power are usually reduced to nothing more than rubble and pasture. Legend transcends history.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Its Not The Destination

Sometimes embarking on a quest will lead you down a beautiful path.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cliff Walls

This is another image from Tintagel Castle taken from the Upper Mainland Courtyard section. You can see the southern cliffs of the Island portion of Tintagel Castle in the background. I loved how beautifully the two elements mirrored each other in texture and even subtly in shape. I love architecture that blends and becomes a part with its surroundings. I always have a wish when I visit places like this that I could somehow see these ruins as they were at the height of their existence. Much like art, ruins allude to what else they are or were and demand the viewers imagination and participation for them to be able to get anything from them.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Merlin's Cave

To be fair, I don't think this is actually Merlin's Cave but no one was there to ask since I arrived after closing time. Thats what you get when you try to fit to many things into too small of a time frame. To give context, Tintagel Castle is straight above on the top of the cliff. A very beautiful and quite spot that I wish I could have spent much more time at. Kind of reminded me of the cave from Harry Potter on a quiet day.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Tintagel Castle is located in Cornwall and is the location most steeped in King Arthur lore in probably all of England. In fact, It was one of the few English Heritage sites that actively promoted its King Arthur connections. It is the purported birthplace of King Arthur, the location of Merlin's cave and also has associations with Tristan and Isolde. The castle is mostly in ruins but can be found (not in this particular picture) both on the island in the background and on the mainland. (Yes I know England is island too but work with me here) This is a landscape that I regret spending too little time at. If I ever make it back to England, Tintagel will definitely get an extended stay.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bamburgh Castle

As with most of the locations I visited while in England I wanted to know the alternate, highly improbable histories more than the official ones. So here you go, Thomas Malory declared Bamburgh Castle on the eastern coast of the United Kingdom as the summer home, if you will, to be the location known as Joyous Guard of Sir Lancelot. Makes it a little more magical to imagine it to be a place inspiring myth and legend rather than just another of many spectacular castles dotting the U.K. Landscape.  

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