Our final stop was at the ancient Canterbury Abbey, home to St Augustine in the mission which established Christianity in Britain, dating to the 6th century CE. It fell victim to Henry the VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s, alluded to by Shakespeare in the highlighted line of the sonnet below, and fell into ruin. It was subsequently rebuilt as a royal palace, a poorhouse, a gaol and a school, before lapsing again into ruin.
This concludes our trip to Canterbury and Margate of a month ago (!) Click any of the images to see all of them full-sized.
Sonnet 73 By William Shakespeare
That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou see’st the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west, Which by and by black night doth take away, Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed whereon it must expire, Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by. This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Back in the High Street, we visited the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge. While in America we tend to revere the Magna Carta (statues of them above) for expanding the rights of the people, in fact, the Barons were wresting power from the King with no regard for the ‘people,’ beyond their own right to exploit them.
Once again, I confronted a museum mirror, this one with a sign encouraging photography adjacent. What else could I do? Click any of the pictures to see them all big.
Next we walked down Church Ln to Stour St. Christopher (Kit) Marlowe was born in Canterbury (for an excellent historical novel, read Anthony Burgess’s A Dead Man in Deptford), passing through Beer Cart Ln by the Marlowe Kit to Greyfriars Gardens. Passing through the gardens we came out into St Peter’s Grove, a street that looks like all those English ’60s movies. Click any of the pictures to enlarge them all.
Continue anti-clockwise past the Dane John Mound we descended from the Roman Wall and came to the ruins of the Norman Castle which, unfortunately was in too tumble-down a state to approach so I had to be contented with this somewhat distant shot of the remains.
Continuing, we came to the Dane John Mound, top which sits the Dane John monument and from where you can look out at the gardens and across Canterbury to the cathedral. Click any image to see them all full-size.
The sea wall is made of chalk. We saw chalk drawings and writing all over and realized you could just pick up a chunk of chalk from where it had fallen from the wall and start drawing. (Click any image to see them all enlarged.)
Billed as the largest art space outside London, The Turner Contemporary (named for JMW Turner, the English landscape painter) was somewhat disappointing from the point of view of how much art there was to see. Here I’ve shown images that are mostly more about the space and the light than the exhibits. Click any image to see them all enlarged.
We arrived in Margate the first week of April, well out of the season so it was really empty, especially in the morning.
In my course we studied the difference between images and pictures, things and objects, spaces and places; where the first item in each pair merely is, whereas the latter has some human significance or meaning.
A heterotopia, again according to Wikipedia, is a concept elaborated by philosopher Michel Foucault to describe certain cultural, institutional and discursive spaces that are somehow ‘other’: disturbing, intense, incompatible, contradictory or transforming. Heterotopias are worlds within worlds, mirroring and yet upsetting what is outside. In my limited experience of reading about heterotopia, the term is extremely elastic, not to say nebulous, in the way it’s thrown about in art criticism.