Storm over Fawley

An etching with aquatint on zinc plate printed on 300 gsm Somerset Satin White paper with Caligo Safe Wash Etching Inks.

I’m thrilled to announce that this print has been awarded Highly Commended in the St Barbe Open Exhibition from 7th July and 30th August 2020.

In 2019, I started my Diploma in Printmaking at Red Hot Press in Southampton, choosing the magnificent monument to brutalist architecture Fawley Power Station as my subject to explore through the medium of printmaking. This print uses the medium of etching to project an image of the power station as a shining light, symbolic of a lighthouse, appearing out of the darkness of a storm.

Having lived in Hamble and sailed on Southampton Water and the Solent for over 30 years Fawley Power Station has, for me, been the dominant reference point on the skyline, a lighthouse without a light, that is visible from many places across Hampshire, even from Old Winchester Hill Fort in the South Downs National Park. I used to think it quite ugly, particularly with its plume of yellow smoke stretched out from its 198 m high chimney across the sky. But since it has laid dormant I have begun to admire its robust minimalist and ordered form, the crystalline zig-zag pattern of glazing to the turbine hall and the futuristic flying saucer form of the control room (and it’s space station styled interior!).

As plans for its construction were emerging in the early 1960’s John Betjeman addressed the Solent Protection Society defining its design as “the new architecture of power”. A fine example of brutalist architecture it was considered (but dismissed) for listing by English Heritage who recognised the quality and inventiveness of its architecture. Sadly demolition commenced in October 2019 with the blowing up of the strikingly futuristic glass roof of the turbine hall, as part of a long term plan to demolish and redevelop the site for housing.

Located on the western shore of Southampton Water on the eastern edge of the New Forest National Park, the 2,000 mega watt oil fired power station, was one 13 huge power stations commissioned by the CEGB in the 1960’s. It was designed in 1963 by Farmer and Dark, with construction starting in 1965 and completed in 1971, and started generating electricity the following year. However due to the oil crisis it was expensive to run, though efficient at the time, it was finally decommissioned in 2013 as it did not comply with new emissions regulations.

Edition: 4 (1 artists proof)

Image size: 150 x 145 mm

Paper size: 210 x 280 mm


N.B. Information about the design and construction has been referenced from the following websites: