In Search Of The Sublime
24th April 2011
Roger Lougher sets off into the dark woods of 'Hafod' near Aberystwyth to continue his project exploring the romantic notion of the sublime.
Hafod's most celebrated owner, Thomas Johnes (1748-1816), built a new house in this remote location and laid out its grounds in a manner suited to displaying its natural beauties in sympathy with the 'Picturesque principles' fashionable at the time, with circuit walks allowing the visitor to enjoy a succession of views and experiences. Johnes also used the land for farming, forestry, and gardening, in each case trying out new ideas and experimental methods. Hafod became an essential destination for the early tourist in Wales.
Today the Hafod estate occupies some 200 hectares of the Ystwyth valley and surrounding hills. Most is owned by the Forestry Commission who, in partnership with the Hafod Trust, is managing a conservation and restoration project with public and private funding.
Roger Lougher's project 'The Sublime' could be seen as a reaction to the notion of 'the picturesque'. Following him through the undergrowth and trying not to fall off the side of a cliff is certainly a reaction to a gentle stroll in beautiful countryside, especially when Roger is carrying a road sign, the kind more usually seen when the higway is dug up.
On Rogers sign today however is the bilingual notice - 'Heathen - Pagan'. And the aim of the excursion through the forest is to locate the perfect spot to photograph it.
Roger photographing 'Heathen - Pagan' at the spot he'd found on a previous recce of 'Hafod' (only he'd forgotten exactly where the spot was, hence the jaunt through the dark forest). The location had originally inspired Roger as it could represent a painting from the romantic period of a Prussian soldier being set upon by Germanic hordes. This photograph will now be presented with the other signs in the series of 'The Sublime'.
You can follow Roger's investigations into the sublime by reading his blog at http://signsofthesublime.blogspot.com