"Seascapes from Western Coasts and Islands"
Churchill Hospital, Headington, Oxford
22nd September - 14th December 2018


These photographs show the variety of moods and colours of the sea in the Western most parts of the British Isles. Most are of the Isles of Scilly taken in June 2018, but the Outer Hebrides, the west coast of Scotland, Connemara in Ireland and Cornwall also feature.

They are all places jutting out into the Atlantic on the western most edge of Europe. All are places where the light brings out the best of colours in the sea, and the images concentrate on the tranquil, calming and colourful.
They all share a special quality of light, such as that St Ives is known for, or a 'silvery' Scottish light

The exhibition is in the South Street Gallery in the Churchill Hospital, Oxford. It runs from Saturday 22nd September to Saturday 15th December (taken down early, so 14th is last full day). The hospital is basically open all the time. The gallery is a corridor to the South of the main route between the old and new entrances. Reception staff should be able to direct you. See "Finding the Exhibition" below for a hopefully helpful map.

More about the geography of the locations

#21 White sea, Hell Bay, Bryher, Isles of Scilly

#6 Gentle ripples, Popplestones, Bryher, Isles of Scilly


I've loved the Isles of Scilly since I first went there in the 1980s, especially the smaller islands. This exhibition comes soon after spending some time there in June 2018, when I was able to explore the 'off islands' of Bryher, Tresco, St Martins and Samson.

In fine weather the islands are incredibly photogenic - as also in other weathers. But as Richard Pearce, an artist who lives and works on Bryher wrote:
"We are surrounded by vast reaches of indigo, cobalt, cerulean, turquoise, deepest marine, palest sapphire ... endless blue.
I do paint the grey days. People don't like them so much."

Sunny days do make for better feelings, and I've concentrated on them here

#25 Indigo to turquoise in the sea, Isles of Scilly

#7 Eastern Isles from Pentle Bay, Tresco, Scilly, late morning


We stayed on Bryher in June 2018, largely down to an act of great generosity, and never really felt the need to travel even to the other nearby islands.
As Gracie Jenkins, the narrator in Michael Morpurgo's "Why the whales came" said of Bryher
"... After all, the island was over a mile long and half a mile across at its widest. We could roam free over more than half of it and that had always been enough."
That may sound odd (or even wrongly written) to many people. Admittedly Gracie was ten years old at the time, but there is a lot packed into a very small area.

We did visit other islands - St Martin's, Tresco, and Samson, so these photos are of a variety of places. They concentrate on the water and the sky, but they wouldn't be the same without the white beaches, and the soft grassy, and rugged saw tooth islands and rocks.

#27 Stirred waters, Hell Bay, Bryher, Scilly

#4 Rocks between Tresco and St Martin's, Scilly, afternoon haze

The Isles of Scilly aren't the only areas in the British Isles with a quality of light that makes them special. All along the West coast, where the land juts out into the Atlantic, the dampness of the air, combined with the extra light of the sea, and white shell beaches make for soft diffuse light that brings tranquility to me, even in rough weather.

The exhibition also has photos from the far west of Cornwall, Connemara in Ireland, the West coast of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides.

#22 Calm morning sea, Marazion, Cornwall

#10 Evening sunshine through waves, Godrevy, Cornwall


#23 Rùm from Arisaig to Morar coast, Scotland

#29 Green waves breaking, Sennen, Cornwall

Isles of Scilly pages

© Gordon Stokes, 1980-2018