This weekend we celebrated St George's Day in England. It's a day which for many, including myself, passes unnoticed, squished between Easter and the next public holiday in the first week of May, which naturally gathers more attention. The complex, rich cultural heritage of England continues to evolve and with that, so does my art. Over the last year I have added a number of artworks of English cities and regions to my growing archives of map themed illustrations, most of them in response to my customer's demands. Here are some favourites ...
Home to The Potteries, famous for England's long history of fine china and earthenware is the county of Staffordshire, which I drew after many requests from customers. Brewing has also been a key industry for centuries in the region, centre in Burton upon Trent. Horse racing at Uttoxer, deers roaming in Cannock Chase and the Staffie dog also feature in my vision of Staffordshire.
Moving east, The Fens is a beautiful, low lying area, covering parts of the three counties of Norfolk and Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. It is a haven for waterfowl and wildlife, some of which make an appearance in my art. Lincoln Cathedral looks out over the Fens and the Boston Stump rises up over the flat, arable land and over The Wash upon which oyster catchers wade and a seal basks. The the south, Ely Cathedral and the Wicken Fen windmill border on the River Great Ouse which marks the edge of this much loved area of England.
Southampton is my most recent English artwork and is one of the few cities in England which I have yet to visit. As one of England’s old, walled, towns, Southampton is rich in medieval architectural history as well as magnificent Tudor buildings. Home to the Royal Navy and the launch pad of cruise liners, Southampton’s maritime heritage runs richly through its streets and architecture, old and new, with some magnificent memorials paying homage to its prominent place in Britain’s nautical history.
Up North, hails Huddersfield! Again, requested by customers for the last few years, I finally got round to create an image that pays homage to this industrial hero. Playing a key role in the industrial revolution, Huddersfield's skyline is created from the towers and factories of the textile mills and in my illustration of this city I draw a man weaving as well as a Luddite smashing up a loom. Canals and rivers feed the city's thirsty mills and the moors above provide much needed fresh air for Huddersfield's hard working inhabitants.
To go back to where we started in the Midlands, we find ourselves in the Black Country, another region at the heart of Britain's industrial revolution and which remains a thriving, proud industrial region today. Coal mining, leather making, glass and steel making may have been replaced with new technology industries but their impact is still visible on the landscape Canals weave their way around the Black Country, linking Wolverhampton with Walsall in the north, Dudley with Stourbridge in the south. Once major transport routes, today they serve as places from which to escape the buzzing metropolis, whether it's on a narrow boat, on foot or on many of the cycle routes that skirt the edge of the multiple waterways.
This is my vision of England ... enjoy :-)