Snettisham is tucked away on Norfolk’s western shoreline, a giant’s stone’s throw from Kings Lynn – a fold in the country from which mineral rich alluvium pours out into The Wash. It is rightly famed for it’s bird-life, particularly in winter where impossibly large flocks of knots join thousands of other waders to feed on the vast mud-plains that appear with the fall of each tide. Thousands of pink-footed geese roost on the tundra-like wastelands that border the sea, departing each morning in ribbons of skeins that rise to catch the first rays of the morning sun.
I’ve been there in all weathers, from a surreal, still morning with a mill-pond sea that melted seamlessly into a flat sky, to the tumult of December 2013’s storm surge that saw significant damage to east coast properties and RSPB bird hides tossed about like leaves on the banks of the shingle lagoons of their reserve.
On a visit earlier this autumn we watched clouds of waders swirling above the mud-flats, chased by first a peregrine then a sparrow-hawk in a deadly pursuit that drove them in an eddying dance of twists and swoops across a towering sky. This quite beautiful spectacle provided inspiration for ‘On Snettisham Beach’, a piece of work derived from initial sketches that then became a zinc plate etching before a final stage of digital colouring. I hope it conveys the vastness of the place and the movement of the birds that bring animation to a stunning landscape.
On Snettisham Beach – Mark Wilkinson
un-mounted print size – 500 x 870mm approx.
Signed digital print, un-numbered edition.
Giclée printed on 310gsm museum archive standard white stock.