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Northumberland IV

Northumberland IV

One of a series of abstract works derived from the colours,shapes and textures of Cumbria and the north of England. Most people will know Northumberland as primarily an east coast county but my childhood memory of the ancient county relates to it being one of the three old counties that formed the English Lake District.
For me this design is almost a tartan.. which seems right as you are almost in Tartan country. The flag of Northumberland has a Red and Gold piano keys type design. Northumbria is probably Englands most Celtic region with its long ties with Scotland and Celtic art is characterised by flowing interwoven lines.
In the north of England we often have quite dark wet weather with the many Atlantic weather systems that sweep across the region with some ferocity and of course there are the long winter nights.. we know well the meaning “of every cloud has a silver lining”. As a storm breaks up you often get these brilliant flashes of colour along the horizon contrasting to the dark landscape and mass of grey cloud, this light also reflects off distant water and highlights the edges of large clouds. In the highest places you can see mile after mile of wild empty isolated hills as far as the eye can see… with maybe a flash of coast in the distance. Geologically the region has more in common with Scotland than the tame green pastures of southern England.
Northumberland is border country and the site of many bloody encounters between the Scots and the English. Hadrians Wall divided Roman Britain from the rest and this is still much the same line as the Scottish/English border. The early Anglo Saxon kingdom of Northumbria stretched as far north as Edinburgh. In southern Scotland you will find many names that are more English sounding than Scottish.. Gordon Brown ? And south of the border you will find many names that sound more Scottish than English.. Alex Ferguson. Across the north of England out of this tough environment and history have emerged a people who are determined, independent minded, pragmatic,assertive and energetic… with a strong sense of humour.. and to be honest you sometimes need it.
Northumbria was also a major centre of religious influence in northern Britain, and was the place were the northern Celtic Christian church and the southern Roman church met and were fused uncomfortably together. Later came the Scandinavians “raping and pillaging” with their influences and wonderful names like Eric Blood Axe.
Out of the conflicts of history and the tectonic plates of British and European culture, the north has forged its own culture that is both interesting and distinctive.
So if you live overseas but have ancestral ties with these shores.. and feel some sort of resonance with this work, it could well be that these shapes, colours, tones and textures are etched deep into your genetic code. As they say in this part of the world..”you can take the man out of the north.. but you can’t easily take the north out of the man”
Available as a signed limited edition print direct from the artist.. and as a reproduction print here