Aston - A Millennium is generously illustrated
with over 240 photographs, line drawings, sketches,
maps and reproductions of historic paintings. Some,
including Sir Joshua Reynold's famous painting of young
Jane Bowles with Venus, her dog, and the extract from
the Domesday Book of 1086, showing the entry for "Estone",
are printed in full colour. The majority, however, as
befits a book covering so many centuries of history,
are in black and white.
of these images are from private collections, and a
majority have certainly never appeared in print before.
Some had been hidden away in drawers and envelopes,
protected for generations, but others had been well
loved, handled, creased and faded almost to the point
of invisibility. As part of the process of researching
and preparing this book, all the photographs were digitally
scanned at high resolution, and then carefully "restored"
so that the true magic of some of these very early images
could be appreciated once more. In some cases this process
took many hours of painstaking work, but the results
have been unquestionably worthwhile.
amongst the collection are some that date from the very
dawn of photography, and others hold strong and poignant
memories. The image of Captain Charles Bowles (here
shown on the left quite small, but larger on the home
page) is such an example. This photograph was almost
certainly taken in 1854 or 1855, just months before
the Captain left for the Crimea, where he died on June
25th 1855 at Varnoutka. He was 39. “I have with
much sorrow to report the very sudden death from Cholera
of Captain Charles Bowles 10th Hussars; an Officer of
great merit who had served in India with distinction
and is much regretted in the Regiment,” said Lord
Raglan in his despatch from Sebastopol.
images are not of the rich or famous, but of the people
of the village. These reflect the true character of
a rural community during the late nineteenth and early
twentieth century, and remind us of a past now lost,
but still remembered by a few.
the book delves into earlier centuries, before the days
of photography, images are harder to find. The
book includes a number of reproductions of early sketches,
watercolours and paintings, but these are generously
supported by a wealth of charming cartoons and line
drawings by local artist (and co-editor of the book)