Brograve Drainage Mill

brograve-mill2015-2

A derelict from a derelict…

Here’s Brograve Mill. There are windpumps seemingly at every turn in the Norfolk Broads, though of course in the past, there were many, many more, each one playing a hugely important role in transferring water into the man-made ‘cuts’ to gift farmers with plentiful and fertile land. Though a lucky few have been resplendently restored, even showboating by turning their sails, the majority have either been torn down, or stand in states of somewhat haunting disrepair… evocative emblems of a fading past. No longer needed. Erected in 1771 and abandoned in 1930, now occupied only by cormorants, this mill has been left to slowly sink into the boggy Brograve Level. Its cap and most of the sails have long rotted away, and the structure has developed a very visible lean in recent years; you wonder how much longer it can stand, even if it is listed, banded and landtied.

I’ve spoken before of how much I enjoy drawing mills for both the nostalgia and sheer inspiration they invoke. Brograve Mill is quite a celebrity of the broads, appearing to be a very popular subject for both photographs, paintings and drawings. Here’s one more! It’s looking quite pretty and intriguing in the warm afternoon… drown out the colour and antagonise the sky, and it would be quite a different story.

I also said in there that, one day, I’d own and live in one – I’m still working on that.

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30 comments
  1. Geke Hop-Wassink said:

    Beautiful drawing of a mill, we in Holland are lucky to have some working mills. In my hometown we have a watermill and in the surrounding area we also have a few working mills. A really nostalig painting, not all of the old times were better, but mills most certainly are the best 🙂

    Like

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Geke! Yes, the landscapes are similar so the demand was likely the same, though I don’t know of many watermills around here. As a child I used to marvel at the mills in Holland – well, I still do! – they always looked so much grander than ours, and invariably in better condition.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Geke Hop-Wassink said:

        Nice to know yoy come to my country and love the mills also, it’s just like the wooden shoes, they belong with us and we still have many funds to restore mills or parts of them. We also have a lot of people who care about the mills and help to make them stay. Thank you for sdrawing this mill to last ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        I haven’t actually been – I wish I could! I had to make do with photographs from books, or postcards from lucky people who had been. It’s nice to hear they’re looked after. It shows! We have similar trusts here, but they’re a little strapped for cash.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Geke Hop-Wassink said:

        One day you will see the mills in Holland,just keep dreaming about them and keep drawing!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        I certainly hope so! And well, the drawing is a given, I’d not be me without it 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s nice Jacob, I was many times in Netherlands and saw many of them, these oldest wind mills are the most beautiful. I love things and objects that have their own history. Antiques – this is something what will not let me sleep. ❤ Camilla

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks very much, Camilla! Yes, you’re right – these historical landmarks are effortlessly curious and fascinating. I used to marvel at the Dutch mills as a child too, but in a different, slightly less connected way.

      Like

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Teresa! These mills are the very earliest thing I can remember trying to draw, so any beauty is owed to twenty-odd years practice!

      Liked by 1 person

      • How cool! I have never drawn one yet. :}

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      • Jacob said:

        Oh, you must see to that – they’re such commanding subjects!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Yes yes yes! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lee Hesketh said:

    Fabulous painting Jay, it looks so bold and so romantic, like we’re hobbing along quietly on a small rowboat. It is a perfect picture ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Aw, that’s a nice insight, Lee – I hadn’t thought of a derelict mill as being romantic in that way, but I guess in the context, it could be. That’s lovely. Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lee Hesketh said:

        Long as we stay out of the wreck it’d be romantic 😛

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      • Jacob said:

        Ha! Indeed. Thankfully, access isn’t permitted – it’s too unsafe. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lee Hesketh said:

        LOL! Christ I think I misconstrued that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Of course you did – you’re terrible.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Mission accomplished – thanks very much!

      Like

  4. wjacobr said:

    This is so fresh. The contrast with the ancient mill in that spring like here and now is really nice. The sky–those clouds and the grass, I can feel time moving with the wind. It calls to mind some of my uncle’s paintings,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Something missing in photos and web images… a feel for the dimension. It helps me better to imagine them if I know.
    Oh… I like how you’ve used texture to render the bricks… it plays wonderfully with the eye, as though you’d actually drawn them, brick by brick. The solidity of the mill against the clouds, the shifting grass… Such a nice piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Hi Jacob – thanks so much for your observations. I’m really glad that the temporal element is there, as that’s my favourite thing about being out in the broads: the effortless, ponderous passing of time, with peace and clear thought. I’m always retreating there when I need that kind of environment.

      I like the bricks too, though I concede they are largely a product of Photoshop trickery: I gave my brush heavy spacing, and so ‘dotted’ the bricks across relatively smoothly… I then used a Graphic Pen filter to make them sketchier and meld into each other slightly, but not completely.

      Thanks again – much appreciated!

      Like

  6. GED said:

    I especially like this one. Also, thank you very much for your likes for “What is eating what”, “Leadership” and visiting my art activities on dispenza.worspress.com. Have a nice week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Your artistic activities are exciting! Thanks, Edoardo – you’re very kind. Glad you like this! Be sure to have a nice week yourself!

      Like

    • Jacob said:

      Blush! Thanks, that’s very kind of you to say. 🙂

      Like

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