1920s picnic picture recreated at ancient monument
A photograph of picnickers enjoying lunch at an ancient monument in Cornwall has been re-enacted almost a century after the original party packed up their hampers.
Photographer Andy Hughes, who has a studio in St Ives, was invited to recreate the scene by members of Sustrust, a history group responsible for rebuilding Carwynnen Quoit, near Camborne, earlier this year.
Using an old glass plate camera, the Truro College photography lecturer set up the shot as the original group had been arranged in 1925. He is currently processing the image and will be revealing the results in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, a number of professional photographers, including Colin Higgs, of the Western Morning News, were on hand to capture the reconstruction process.
“Andy was meticulous in his preparations,” said Colin. “It was fascinating to watch.”
The Neolithic structure, known locally as the Giant’s Quoit, had been a forlorn pile of stones for some 50 years before members of Sustrust began a five-year project to rebuild it. Watched by several hundred enthusiasts and supporters, its 10-ton capstone was finally hoisted back into place on Midsummer’s Day. Measuring 11ft by 8ft by 1ft, the great granite slab was dropped into position by crane.
Pip Richards, who has been the driving force behind the venture to re-erect the 5,000-year-old burial chamber near Troon, said the photographic re-enactment was part of a number of associated activities, including the production of a book and app.
“It is quite a famous photograph and comes from the collection of David Thomas,” she said. “It was a great day and I’m confident the results will be exceptional because the weather was not too bright so people weren’t squinting.”
Among those posing as 1920s picnickers were archaeologists James Gossip, Jacky Nowakowski and Richard Mikulski, Tony Boshier, who was part of the reconstruction team, Sustrust chairman Andy Norfolk, along with volunteer diggers and supporters.
“People just love to dress up and have some fun,” said Pip. “The director, James Kitto, did a great job organising everyone into their positions. If anything was different it was the attitude of those being photographed. In 1925, it was only seven years after the Great War, and there is a sombre air about the picture.”
Carwynnen Quoit – which has also been known as The Giant’s Frying Pan and Pendarves Quoit – might originally have been covered by a large mound of earth. More than a dozen similar structures can be seen elsewhere in Cornwall, including Trethevy Quoit, Lanyon Quoit and Chun Quoit.
Numerous groups were involved in the reconstruction project, including several schools which took part in outdoor lessons at the site. Children from Troon, Crowan, Kehelland, Penponds and Archbishop Benson schools chose items for a time capsule, which has now been buried deep beneath the ancient monument.
“We decided to let the children decide what should go in it,” said Pip. “So among the objects is a teddy bear, a jar of local honey to help people in the future identify the plants of today, hair from members of the team to help with DNA identification, 2014 coins, a serpentine heart pendant, a golf ball, badges from Troon Cricket Club and Camborne Rugby Club, a St Piran’s flag, a pasty key-ring, and a cartoon telling the story of the quoit.”
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Sita Cornwall, the excavation revealed around 2,300 objects – many of them Neolithic – in the surrounding area. For more information visit giantsquoit.org
Posted by thesweetcheat
30th July 2014ce