By David Nash, charred oak, located 1986


Near Black Dome, in a secret hollow through which a stream flows down a man-made canal, you can discover a flotilla of small charred boats, setting out across the green marsh.

They seem almost like the mysterious remains of some early civilization.

“The site for Dome looked like a Napoleonic gun emplacement. In fact, the oaks around us were planted by request of the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars (Nelson Oaks), in preparation to build the fleet of the mid-twentieth century. The shipbuilders of 1800 had run out of oak and had to use teak from India.

This led to thoughts of boats and vessels. A dead oak had been felled for us to use for the charring which also yielded other sculptures to take home, Stepped Oak Branch and Descending Vessel being among them. From the oak I cut three vessel forms and passed them through the fire (charring also acts as a wood preserver). The resulting pieces were placed in a boggy area in a dell full of wild watercress.”