52 postcards - week 39, A postcard from Nymans

Every Monday is a clean slate for this project. I don’t know or plan what images I’m going to make or which one I’ll select. One thing I do though is always have a camera with me, as I never know what image making opportunities may turn up.

During week 39, I made an unplanned visit to the National Trust’s property, Nymans, in Handcross, West Sussex. Typical of many National Trust properties, it comprises a house, garden and farmed estate. The views of rolling Sussex countryside are beautiful and the gardens immaculate. What makes Nymans different though, is that much of the house is a ruin. (The house was badly damaged by fire in the late 1940s.) For me, the ruin is far more interesting, than a perfectly preserved house and home. Without the trappings of being furnished, it’s possible to focus on the small details of the fabric of the building that remain. These are often overlooked, but functional and beautifully crafted. A handle on a wooden gate, a tiny drinking fountain, a waterspout with decorative lion’s head, decoration pressed into lead piping and planters.

At the start of my visit, I had a preconception of what images I might make. I had envisaged something to do with the gardens; flowers, foliage, autumn colours perhaps. I’d even brought a tripod with me. What I hadn’t expected was to have become captivated by the care and attention to detail that had gone into making functional objects beautiful. These resonated with me far more than any lavishly furnished stately home. With the house stripped back to its walls, details come to the fore, revealing the history of the property’s design and the craftspeople that created it.

Week 39’s recipient is Sonia Hunt. Sonia is a talented photographer, specialising in garden landscapes. You can see more of her work on her website.