This series is part of an ongoing investigation into the symbolism of the English landscape through the process of photography and alternative techniques.
I have an ongoing fascination with the mysterious monuments and follies that are dotted around the UK. These places, which do not necessarily hold any direct relation to their surroundings, are central to these photographs.
These images are set in Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire. I have focused on only three of the many unique structures and viewpoints which are all over the estate. I am drawn specifically to these as they hold a mystery and many stories - it is not known exactly to why they were actually created.
The first one is the ‘Cat Monument’ - Designed in 1749, the Grade II Listed Cat Monument is believed to be either a commemoration to Admiral Anson's cat who accompanied him on his voyage of circumnavigation aboard Centurion, or, a monument to Thomas Anson's favourite cat Kouli-Kan, the last in a line of Persian cats that he kept as pets for many years.
The Second, the 18th-century 'Shepherd’s Monument'. This has baffled scientists and linguists for many years. Just below an engraving of Nicolas Poussin’s “Arcadian Shepherds” painting lies a seemingly random sequence of letters, “O-U-O-S-V-A-V-V,” etched on the monument between the letters “D” and “M.” Without an explanation for its meaning, the inscription is considered one of the world’s most perplexing ciphers and remains uncracked to this day.
The third and final is ’The Ruin’ designed by Thomas Wright in 1750. This is one of the many follies that helped shape the landscape of the gardens on the estate. The Ruin was once more extensive, and more elaborate.