It’s Spring in Derbyshire but I’m in Autumn in the Cotswolds

Posted on April 26, 2014 by Admin under Derbyshire, The Life of a Derbyshire Photographer

Amy - Cotswolds - Yellow Dress 010 With the blossom and magnolia in full bloom, we have the confirmation of spring and the promise of summer.  However, even though I am anxious to start photographing the Derwent Valley in earnest for my book, the countryside around here is still not quite as verdant as I would like it.  It does get incredibly green in these parts: where I live, in Milford, Derbyshire, this area was part of the Duffield Frith, Royal hunting grounds where wild boars and even wolves roamed.

While I bide my time, I have stepped back into autumn, in the virtual sense, as I have been processing my image library pictures from a shoot last autumn in the Cotswolds and have just submitted my first set of pictures.

This points to the most frustrating aspect of my profession.  I love doing my artful image library shoots – I’m contracted to two image libraries, Trevillion and Arcangel, who sell images to the global publishing industry – but this is the only work I do that doesn’t have a firm deadline so, inevitably and frustratingly, my work on processing these images is forever getting pushed to the bottom of the In Tray.

As I went on another image library shoot two weeks ago, I started to feel guilty about leaving the Cotswolds images for so long.  Those autumn pictures hibernated through the winter but I decided to awaken them before autumn came round again! I also felt responsible towards my model Amy and our make up/hair girl Cindy who agreed to come with me all the way to Gloucestershire early last November as I was so keen to do a shoot in the Acer Glade at Westonbirt Arboretum.

We couldn’t have wished for better conditions: it rained the day before but on the day itself, the sun burst out and lit up the variously coloured acers which, themselves, were at their peak of their vibrancy.

Amy - Cotswolds - Yellow Dress 024It was a fateful day in another respect: the day before we left, Michael Trevillion – the creator of the Trevillion library – emailed a wish list which included people in period costume.  That was exactly what I had planned: my car was loaded with Elizabethan, Regency and Victorian clothes.

The images you see here are of Amy in Elizabethan dress.  After Cindy made up Amy’s hair, I did wonder whether Elizabethan women would wear their hair up but I’ve obviously seen too many period movies depicting the aristocracy of the time.  Cindy got it right: young women of the Elizabethan period wore their hair loose and long, allowing it to flow down their backs (this was an indication that they were virgins). Amy - Cotswolds - Yellow Dress 015

However, I should have done my own research in another area.  Had I done so, I wouldn’t have wasted a good half hour of our time.  That photo you see of Amy under a red acer isn’t likely to make it as a book cover as it’s an anachronism: only later did I find out that Japanese acers weren’t introduced to Britain until the 1820s.

Amy - Cotswolds - Yellow Dress 021After Westonbirt, we stayed at a lovely Cotswolds hotel – Tortworth Court Four Pillars – which was chosen for its historic look and gardens so we could continue our shoot the following morning.  This enabled me to take some shots using the hotel’s backdrop and even a few inside on the staircase.  Trouble is: in Elizabethan times, would a stairs be carpeted?  I suspect not.  As I later discovered following an internet search,  carpets were so expensive that they were hung on walls like tapestries, or put on tables as coverings rather than walked on.

All the pictures you see are of Amy in the yellow dress.  As I have got another 350 images to process, I decided the best thing was to submit my images in batches.  Return to my blog in future months and you will see lots of Victorian clothes, enhanced by the wonderful autumnal surroundings of Westonbirt.  So, spend your summer looking at autumn!



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