Anne Lee

As an artist/photographer I work in a variety of media, primarily photographic images, but also painting, printmaking and handmade artists books. Often these media are combined in order to achieve the desired result.

When creating images, I reflect upon the many layers of meaning a particular scene or subject suggests. Searching for a real sense of place, I am inspired by the history, archaeology or geology concealed by what I see today. I am also strongly influenced by literature and poetry, particularly in the way previous writers, poets and artists have responded to a particular place. I am intrigued by this and the notion that I too am 'there' and how my response compares or contrast to theirs. My work is therefore a blend of visual and textual layers of meaning, combining traditional and digital, photographic and fine art techniques.

For as long as I can remember I have been inspired to make images in response to words in literature and poetry. Most recently this has been manifested totally in the study of John Clare's poetry and prose. I particularly enjoy using text as a visual element and Clare's handwritten manuscripts have been a significant inspiration.

The images I am showing here are all a response to learning about and responding to Clare's work. In the space of just 10 months since joining the John Clare Facebook Group I have been privileged to learn from and work with Roger Rowe and to get to know and learn from other members of the group. The breadth of interest and expertise of other members and the joy of learning from and sharing with them a love of Clare's poetry has, for me, been life changing.

The most significant aspect of the last 10 months work has been working with Roger Rowe, learning how to transcribe Clare's poetry from original manuscripts, discovering previously unpublished work and gradually, with Roger, developing ideas for a series of books. My role in this has been in illustrating, designing and making handmade books. Much to our surprise and delight this has rapidly moved into actual publication of our work by a Fine Press Book Bindery.


A beautiful flower that bedeckt a mean pasture
In virgin perfection I found
Its fair bloom stood naked to e'ery disaster
& deep the storm gatherd around
The rose in the midst of its brambles is blooming
Whose weapons intruders alarm
But sweetest of blossoms fond fair & weak woman
Owns nothing to guard her from harm

Each stranger seemd struck wi a blossom so lovly
In such a lone valey that grew
The clowns admiration did look on it roughly
While its blushing leaves shrunk from his view
O sweet was the eve when I found the fair blossom
Sure never seemd blossom so fair
I instant transplanted its charms to my bosom
& deep has the root gatherd there”

O say not love I too despise thee
& wi malice evil tongu[e]d
Slander & reproach against thee
& delight to see the[e] wrongd
Every arm that vice is urging
At my bared breast they throw
Every weapon raisd against thee
Raises mine to stay the blow

Every tear thy cheek that moistens
Moists the eye that sees it start
Every sigh that rends thy bosom
Thrills its echo in my heart
Every shaft that flies to wound thee
On my aching heart they fall
Every wound that pains thy bosom
Mines the love that shares it all


Thy spirit visits me like dew
That glistens on the flowers
Falling in the morning blue
And in the evening hours
The wild flowers have a feeling
O'er my calm senses stealing
And love's soft dreams revealing
Seem wispering from the bowers

The foxgloves freckled bells
That blossom by the wood
And in the forrest dells
In the midst of solitude
There I hear my lover call
Where the whitethorn forms a wall
And the foxglove blossoms tall
In the tears of eve bedewed

Spirit thou of every place
Where loves memories are left
Places green as years of grace
Where hope lives of love bereft
My love lives in these green places
Where woodbine the white thorn embraces
Far from the crowd of worldly faces
Here loves spirit still is left

Now once again, thou lovely Spring,
Thy sight the day beguiles;
For fresher greens the fairy ring,
The daisy brighter smiles:
The winds, that late with chiding voice
Would fain thy stay prolong,
Relent, while little birds rejoice,
And mingle into song.

Undaunted maiden, thou shalt find
Thy home in gleaming woods,
Thy mantle in the southern wind,
Thy wreath in swelling buds:
And may thy mantle wrap thee round,
And hopes still warm and thrive,
And dews with every morn be found
To keep thy wreath alive.

May coming suns, that tempt thy flowers,
Smile on as they begin;
And gentle be succeeding hours
As those that bring thee in:
Full lovely are thy dappled skies,
Pearl'd round with promised showers,
And sweet thy blossoms round thee rise
To meet the sunny hours.

The primrose bud, thy early pledge,
Sprouts 'neath each woodland tree,
And violets under every hedge
Prepare a seat for thee:
As maids just meeting woman's bloom
Feel love's delicious strife,
So Nature warms to find thee come,
And kindles into life.


From "Summer Evening"

The sinking sun is taking leave

& sweetly gilds the edge of eve
While purple clouds of deepening dye
Huddling hang the western sky

Crows crowd quaking over head

Hastening to the woods to bed
Cooing sits the lonely dove
Calling home her absent love

From 'January'

Blackening through the evening sky

In clouds the starlings daily fly
To Whittleseas reed-wooded mere
And osier holts by rivers near 
Whilst many a mingled swarthy crowd —
Rook crow and jackdaw — noising loud
Fly to and fro to dreary fen
Dull Winters weary flight again
They flop on heavy wings away
As soon as morning wakens grey
And when the sun sets round and red
Return to naked woods to bed


Handmade Books