University of Lincoln   2008/2009

Richard Elton

Hidden in some woods at the end of an estate near Sleaford are the remains of what might, at first, be thought a folly. An elaborate summer house perhaps? Or maybe the stage of a private theatre, because that is what it looks like; it certainly evokes drama. It is in fact the façade of a seventeenth century chapel, unusual for its time, with classical columns supporting a pediment in the style of a Greco-Roman temple but it is not on its original site. It was moved and re-errected here, probably as the focal point of a fashionable vista from the terraces of the eighteenth century house in whose grounds it stands in grand decay. Now, even though it is hidden by the undergrowth and sycamores, elder and beeches crowd it in, the crumbling columns are holding their own, not yet defeated. The architectural details are reminders that their origins lie in ancient arcadian wooden structures and here they stand pressed in by trees; the formalised ‘trees’ in stone being consumed by the living trees around them.

So the drama is played out and unless the Lottery or National Heritage appear at the end of the village like the US Cavalry, nature will eventually win. These contrasts and juxtapositions are what I find fascinating and in humbler structures, they’re to be found all over the countryside, offering up a wonderful range of accidents, collisions and coincidences, which give the impetus to lines, forms and textures, all there for the taking.



Photographer: the artist

'Folly 7'
oil on canvas - 120 x 80cm

Contact :
email :  eltonwoods@aol.com