Fawley (across Southampton Water)

A wood engraving on lemonwood printed with Hawthorns Stay Open Dense Black Ink on 145 gsm Zerkall printing paper.

Fawley Power Station has been a significant feature of the Solent landscape for over 50 years. This wood engraving was created a couple of weeks before one of the last remaining parts of the its magnificent structure, the 198 m high chimney, is blown up. This happened as planned at 7 am on 31 October 2021, and despite gale force winds and horizontal rain I joined many others on the beach at Hamble Common to watch!

To celebrate its fine brutalist architecture I have created a series of prints of different views and using different printing techniques. This view, from Hamble Common Foreshore, is a sequel to my second wood engraving ‘Erosion‘ but instead of looking towards the beach it looks out towards Southampton Water and the power station in the distance. The dramatic silhouette of the power station is further strengthened by reflecting it in Southampton Water. A yacht slowly drifts by, and in the foreground clumps of grasses, eroded each winter from the banks of Hamble Common, clutter the waters edge, and are gently washed away.

I developed the design under the expert tutelage of master wood engraver Harry Brockway at West Dean College in West Sussex and also learnt a new engraving technique to engrave the sky. This involves working backwards, a long the line to be engraved, slowly engraving the wood using a large spitsticker (a special engraving tool with curved sides) which is a signature mark of Harry’s. This technique makes it much easier to lighten the tone (in this case to create a few clouds) than using arbitrary marks – which had caused me lots of consistency issues printing my recent poppy wood engraving. I took some initial prints on West Dean’s wonderful Albion press ( I aspire to owning one one day!) but managed to get some equally good prints at home on my small Tofko relief press. Thank you Harry!

Despite despising the plume of dirty yellow smoke that drifted across Southampton Water during the power station’s working life I will miss the chimney, its lighthouse-like presence on the edge of the Solent. If you can see the chimney – you know where you are!

Edition size: 50

Image size: 77 x 102 mm

Paper size: 190 x 270 mm

Price: £60