The current issue of Derbyshire Life is displaying two of my favourite photos of the last year, though you’ll see them better here. To explain: I earned a lovely commission from Derbys Life to photograph Lady Edward Manners of Haddon Hall, which is one of the most important remaining medieval houses in the country. It’s been the property of the Manners family since 1567 and, amazingly, the current Lord and Lady are the first members of the family to live on the Haddon Estate since 1700. What’s also amazing – and greatly to my shame – is that this photo commission represented the first time in my 35 years of living in Derbyshire that I had visited Haddon Hall. According to Simon Jenkins from his book 1000 Best Houses, Haddon Hall is ‘the most perfect house to survive from the Middle Ages.’ Lady Edward was utterly charming and a very compliant sitter who was very happy to pose for me in the famous Long Gallery, 110ft in length and 17ft wide with its diamond panes in the numerous windows set at different angles to maximise the amount of daylight entering. I’m told that when there’s plenty of daylight in the summer, there can be few better-looking terraced gardens where beds of roses, clematis and delphiniums subdue the riot of towers, turrets and battlemented walls of the house itself.
As it was, I was more than happy with the photo I got of the exterior in early March. There wasn’t any colour in the garden but there were dramatic storm clouds in the sky above. The reason you see this image better here is that the one printed in Derbyshire Life is in colour. For me, the drama is enhanced in black and white.
As for the image of Lady Edward, the reproduction in Derbyshire Life shows the colours rather de-saturated. Hopefully, the rich, warm colours that I see on my monitor are the same for you. I was so delighted with this image – using a combination of flash and side lighting through those diamond panes – that I included it in my new business card… the subject of my next web log!