It’s almost a year since my work took me to the West Country on what was a rare English summer’s day when I photographed Sam for my blog. Yesterday was a bit of deja vu, as I was working just outside Bristol Airport at a hotel called Winford Manor. With its beautiful tree-lined grounds it’s an obvious wedding venue (especially when the sun is shining) and the marquee alongside the hotel bore testimony to that.
The Manor’s history goes back to the 12th Century, although there is precious little evidence of any medieval history here, and at some point the property was owned by the family of Capt Mark Phillips, the first husband of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal. More interesting is that the estate included “redding pits”, red ochre mines producing the raw material for chemical and cosmetic dyes. I would have needed caving equipment to shoot these, and plenty of protective clothing. The workers who mined the ore found their skin permanently pigmented by the red dye.
The gardens include a couple of unusual features; a box labyrinth which doubtless makes a great feature for wedding photography… if you can get enough height to take in the whole of the feature, and have some means of lift your bride and groom into the centre. The labyrinth was rather overgrown, making walking through it a challenge, but not withstanding that, I couldn’t detect an opening leading to the central space.
I was bemused to also find a small stone circle in the grounds; an attempt by some former aristocrat to introduce a little mystery to the landscape? Perhaps.
I didn’t have a bride to photograph yesterday so contented myself with some of the details and features of the property, including a stained glass window that whilst beautiful when suitably backlit by sunshine, looks rather different from the outside. TLC required.
In the absence of a bride I persuaded Jo, who works for one of our client companies to be a portrait. The light coming in from the conservatory was too good to miss in her eyes.