This video is an interview with Calister Chishanu for Juncshen Magazine and gives an insight into the captivating work of Fred Ingrams. We are delighted to be showing his work at Houghton Hall this summer. Don't miss the chance to see and maybe even pick up one of these evocative pictures that capture this most unusual of landscapes.
(Photograph of Fred at work by Christopher Drake)
Below is a statement by Fred Ingrams that says much about the inspiration behind his work.
The Fens are perhaps the least loved landscape in Britain. For some reason the flatness of this huge area of Eastern England does not capture the heart. It is a landscape that does not fit into the ideal of a rolling “green and pleasant land”. They are, on the other hand as flat as a billiard table and to most people, featureless and grim. It is an industrial landscape reclaimed from the sea by Vermuyden and Bedford filled with rows of regimented crops growing in the black soil. The wind blows from from the east and is cold and nagging. The people who live there appear, like the wind, cold and unfriendly. It is for all these reasons I feel so at home painting in the Fens.
Most of Britain’s rural landscape has been forged over time by farmers and is a totally unnatural manufactured facade. This is even more true in the Fens. Almost every inch has been fought for and is still being drained today via hundreds of miles of ditches, drains and rivers that crisscross the land. The constant draining and erosion caused by the wind and the soil oxidizing means the land is sinking and will one day be surely reclaimed once again by the sea. It is a landscape that feels fragile and brittle that hovers between over draining and flooding, in between the sky and the sea.
As I sit and paint here, I am always struck by how few people inhabit this place. I am nearly always alone. The only sounds are distant tractors, the calls of lapwings, warblers and the cry of Marsh Harriers. It seems that peoples fear of flatness keeps the Fens empty. Flatness also changes everything when you look into the distance. Distances becomes hard to judge and perspective seems altered from the normal making it like no other place in Britain. It is this flatness that protects the Fens and makes it one of the best kept secrets of our landscape. It is place full of strange stories, myths, strange place names and strange people. It is a landscape that is on the outside of a world that exists beyond the horizon.