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Neptune versus Neptune
Diana Wynne Jones once told me that this diagonal path through a graveyard in Clifton was a place she considered magical, and it's not hard to see why.

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Part of its charm is the occasional Narnia-esque lantern dangling from the foliage, the copper-green arch supporting it almost invisible amidst the leaves.

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I was walking that way to get to Goldney Hall, a place that has something of a Hunsdon House vibe, being open only one day per year. I think I posted pictures from here a decade or so ago, but much has changed since then... Then as now, though, it's a place of early eighteenth-century follies, including a gothic tower (built to house a beam engine) and a shell-lined grotto dedicate to Neptune.

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Also, a statue of Heracles trying out for the Mets.

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My favourite such monument in Bristol, though, is the statue of Neptune in Warmley in the east of the city. This clinker-cloaked god once stood in the middle of an ornamental lake in the grounds of the house of zinc pioneer William Champion, around the same time Goldney was being grottified in rich Clifton. Neither house nor lake survives, but clinker Neptune stands tall to this day, in the middle of a caravan park:

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I think we can safely say that the Warmley Neptune is the real deal. Clifton is pretty, but in terms of sea-gods it's just playing around.

Those are quite lovely. Especially that place at the top.

It is indeed. At the entrance today there was a sign protesting against a plan to raise a statue to Robinson Crusoe in the graveyard (Alexander Selkirk is said to have met Daniel Defoe at the Llandoger Trow in town). "No Pirates Here!" cries the sign.

Heh!

Oh I do like the Neptune statue.

Great, isn't it?

Neither house nor lake survives, but clinker Neptune stands tall to this day, in the middle of a caravan park

That is great. It looks to me like Diana Wynne Jones' Old Ammet.

Yes! Old gods are patient gods...

I'm reminded also of one of my favourite Mary Butts lines:

"The activities of the late king were no more than the wind ruffling the unstirred halls of Ocean, where sit those dumb and flexible powers who reigned before him, and have been shown to survive him."

"The activities of the late king were no more than the wind ruffling the unstirred halls of Ocean, where sit those dumb and flexible powers who reigned before him, and have been shown to survive him."

That's great.

Oh, those are indeed magical. Thank you for sharing the pictures.

Edited at 2016-08-08 04:05 am (UTC)

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My pleasure! Yes, they're magical, and all the more so for only being visible one day in the year.

Such magical pictures - thank you!

Just the right time of year for a nice sinister shady grotto, too...

Yes, some nice contrasts between shade and the crisp outside light, which I was not photographer enough to capture, but you can imagine.

Goldney is open every day of the year - if you are a student. I bounced there one night.

True - but £9,000 a year is too high a price to pay!

Education is a right, not a privilege, once Jez gets in we can swing plod from lamp posts.

Lovely! And so very Diana...

Nine

Oh, that is so pretty!

Lovely, and so very much of its time.

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