Eyam, and Ann Cowan

Updated: Mar 26

Good morning! How are you doing today?

You may remember that I submitted a piece of work to Grayson's Art Club at the beginning of the pandemic. It was a challenge, because I had 24 hours to produce it, and because it wasn't about making something necessarily nice to look at. I based it on the experiences of Eyam in the plague of the 17th century compared to our pandemic today, and it was fascinating research. (You can read about Eyam here.)

Well, we recently travelled to Derbyshire and stayed in the charming village of Hathersage. and I had the chance to visit Eyam village at last. I learned that plague is still with us, and also a huge amount about life in England hundreds of years ago and how people approached disease back then when we went to their excellent little museum.

The collection is largely based on the passionate research of one man, and his legacy is a mind-boggling journey through superstition and statistics that had me cringing and laughing out loud in equal measure. Well worth a visit.

I probably ought to take my hat off to the Derbyshire weather for giving us one afternoon's break from rain, sleet and snow. The rest of the time, it was a little on the apocalyptic side.

Does this look cold to you? You betcha. It was absolutely freezing. What a beautiful landscape.

The snowdrops didn't seem to mind the cold, though. Aren't they something?

There are various signs here and there pointing out houses where plague first struck, and how many residents were affected. One woman buried 24 members of her family. It's quite unthinkable.

Other signs give information about notable features, like water troughs.

Thank goodness some things are untouched by modernity.

Actual stocks? Looks like it to me!

I have no idea if this still works, or if there is a vegan option nowadays.

I really love the respect being shown to very, very old monuments, that have seen who-knows-what come and go over the centuries - and I do love a Celtic cross.

And so back to Hathersage, where I took some snaps for an upcoming art project.

My class is currently looking at the work of Ann Cowan so a few old buildings are needed as a reference.

The light was quite low by the time we returned from Eyam, however the forecast assured us that there would be no other dry weather for photographs on the way, so twilight pics it is. Wiggly walkways, wonky walled stone buildings, and the emerging warm glow of lights.

I love how the road drops away to the quiet, snow-dusted hills.

Something about the murky clouds drifting overhead may work very well for a townscape. There will be collage, and some scruffy layering, which may all fit very well indeed. So that will be the next project! I'll keep you posted.

I hope you have a cracking day, we have a little sun here and I hope it makes its way to you :)

Nic 🌻

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