Thursday, 28 May 2015

Runnymede Ghosts at the Great Charter Festival

Only two weeks to go so it's time for an update about my big exhibition as part of the Magna Carta 800th anniversary celebrations. Things have changed a lot since my teaser post 6 weeks ago but all the paintings are now finished and overall I'm very pleased.

The exhibition is part of Royal Holloway, University of London's Great Charter Festival. The paintings are not directly about Magna Carta; instead they are intended to celebrate Runnymede, the place Magna Carta was sealed, and thereby give a little visual context to everything else that is happening. Each painting shows a different view of Runnymede and hones in on the clues that reveal how it looked at different times in the past. In other words, the paintings can be used as a guide to where the meadows still look like they did 800 years ago and where they still feel the same underfoot. For example, this painting shows one of the floods at the beginning of 2014 when the River Thames was effectively a kilometre wide. We know for certain that recently the river has flooded to this degree every 60 years or so but the extent of the flood plain, clues given to us by the road and the way the priory was built all suggest that the river has flooded to this sort of level on a regular basis since at least the Middle Ages and probably far longer.

The paintings cover the whole of Runnymede using its modern boundaries - that is to say all of the land managed by the National Trust. As a result, they don't just show the meadows but they also embrace Ankerwycke (on the Wraysbury side of the river) and the woods on Cooper's Hill.

They are on show from 12 June to 16 June (although access on Monday 15 may be hit and miss due to other events) and will be in the Windsor Building on Royal Holloway's main campus. The main Great Charter Festival is on Sunday 14 June and features a surprising range of events and attractions - for full details see

Entry to both the festival and my exhibition is free and getting here is easy. If you're already in Egham just go uphill and the University is impossible to miss. If coming from further afield, Egham is at Junction 13 of the M25, trains run from London Waterloo, Reading and Weybridge and buses run from Heathrow, Windsor and Staines.

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