Saturday, 14 May 2011

This Green and Pleasant Land: Pylon Field


I'm looking forward to BBC4's programme on Tuesday about landscape painting in our 'green and pleasant land'. One of the intriguing aspects of the subject is the way artists over the centuries have focused on particular places and types of landscape. Post-war there was a lot of opposition to electricity pylons (as there is today to wind turbines), but there's something compelling about the characters gathered together in this pylon field.

 
Pylons as far as the eye can see...

Presumably each of these structures has a specific function relating to the mysterious doings of the National Grid, but they also resemble a strange family group...





Functional beauty...


The rooks have adopted this one, and in wet weather cattle shelter underneath. A sign warns anyone thinking of climbing this rustic Eiffel Tower to 'treat the whole thing as live'.



I wonder whether the engineers who built and arranged these pylons had any sense of their potential as figures in the landscape... It would be nice to think that they did. There are certainly plenty of people who appreciate the strange beauty of pylons these days: go here to find out more...

4 comments:

Neil said...

James, I'm sure you know, and were discreetly referring to, Stephen Spender's poem of the 1930s, in which he described pylons as "bare like giant nude girls that have no secret." I'm not sure what this tells us about Spender's sexuality...

James Russell said...

Thanks Neil - that poem is new to me. In fact I suspect there are quite a few references to pylons here and there. I'll check it out and maybe add some.

Anonymous said...

So what did you think of the programme?

James Russell said...

I posted something on it yesterday...

Post a Comment