Figure with Basalt Columns, possibly Craigahulliar Quarry, County Antrim
Share

Reference URL

Figure with Basalt Columns, possibly Craigahulliar Quarry, County Antrim about 1850
  • Scottish Art
The site of this photograph is uncertain and was previously thought to be the island of Staffa off the West coast of Scotland. However, wherever its location, Muir Wood was clearly fascinated by the visual possibilities of the geometric rock columns topped with protrusions of prismatic and chaotic basalt. His inclusion of a seated figure forms a deliberate and dramatic contrast to the geology behind. It hints at the significance of nature to Victorian society at a time when discoveries were undermining biblical conceptions of the creation of the world. The photograph is a souvenir of a memorable place and perhaps also something more profound – an emblem of the insignificance of a human life in relation to the depth of geological time.

Glossary Open

Basalt

A hard black volcanic rock.

Basalt

Details

  • Acc. No. PGP W 70
  • Medium Salt paper print from a calotype negative
  • Size 17.10 x 19.30 cm
  • Credit Presented by the Muir Wood family 1985