Saturday, February 28, 2015
In England in the dark month of February, we long for the sun and regularly comment on its appearance or non-appearance, and constantly consult the weather forecast to track the possible parting of the clouds. (What did we do before the internet? Consult the weather vane, for one thing.) And when the actual sun is not out, we find images of him everywhere, on buildings especially.
Not all these images are literal. Back in the 1970s, the photographer Tony Evans produced a whole book, The English Sunrise, of stylized sunrise images – the sun’s rays suffusing Art deco stained glass windows, Albion truck badges, Young Farmers’ Club emblems, cinema facades, tins for gramophone needles or tobacco, and suburban garden gates.
Marvellous stuff as this is, one could make another compilation of portrayals of the sun fully risen and radiating heat and light through 360 degrees. The sun in splendour. You see him a lot, once you get your eye in. On pub signs and door knockers, for example. I’ve even seen him peeping from a capital atop a pilaster in Central Europe. But back home in England he’s as likely as not to be found on old fire insurance plaques – the ones people put on their houses to show that they’d paid their premium, without which, in the good old days, the firemen would not call in times of need. Here’s a lovely example from Bath: nicely modelled face; lively, wriggly rays; pleasant lettering. Splendid!