This painting of Fort Saumarez in Guernsey is really about the lure of the sea. In this year of virus and heatwaves, I have not been able to venture further afield than the south coast of England. I miss Guernsey and the quality of the sea and light there enormously. It is an empty place inside me.
Casting around for subjects to paint, and very conscious of missing Guernsey, I came across a number of photos I had taken around the reservoir. In this view, we are looking directly at L’Erée headland from somewhere near the reservoir. I can’t recall what the wind-blasted trees were, possibly Ilex. But the point of them is the interesting way that they frame the distant view of that beautiful blue sea and the imposing and sinister tower of Fort Saumarez. The fort was originally a British Napoleonic-era Martello Tower, one of many built to protect the island from the French. Later, during the Occupation, the Germans surveyed the tower, liked it, and built there own much taller tower on top. It was an observation tower that the Germans called Stützpunkt Langenberg. It is pictured below:
Behind the tower is Lihou Island, one of my favourite places. You can just make out the house that is the accommodation on Lihou on the far left of the tower. I can imagine making my way to the headland in the hot sun, and perhaps taking the causeway to Lihou.