“This book is a colorful and evocative record of my times on Flat Holm – the island where my father was born in 1889. It contains photographs, drawings, watercolours, prints and writings that were made on the island and in the studio, creating a ‘sense of place’. The island is only half a mile in diameter; it is flat, desolate and windswept. Working there presented challenges from the weather and the breeding lesser black-backed gulls. The work is a culmination of a year’s research and forms a part of my submission for the MA in Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking that I have been studying for the last three years. It accompanies two exhibitions in Bristol and Cardiff.
Getting there is difficult – the tidal sweep of the Bristol Channel and poor weather means that boat crossings frequently get cancelled. The community on the island is small – a warden with two assistants and four or five volunteers who are training in conservation and countryside management. There is no shop and no cafe, and going there is an expedition where I had to take everything I needed from Indian ink to the necessary gin and tonic for the end of the day.
I have made the book as a tribute to my father, Lt. Col. Ralph Alfred Erskine Somerville MC, MM and bar, OBE.”
A trip to the island by Penny and others was photographed by Owain Jones and published here
Works from this project formed and exhibition of paintings drawings and prints at the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, Cardiff Bay CF10 4PA 28th June – 3rd July 2010.
Jump to the place marker on the SEAA map here