Monday, March 7, 2011

Here Comes the English Sunrise

It's been hard to find time to write something new lately, so I thought I'd re-post something old. This was first published in December 2009.

"He who binds to himself a joy  
Does the winged life destroy; 
But he who kisses the joy as it flies 
Lives in eternity's sunrise."
~ William Blake

There was a time, from the late 1700s through the Victorian era, when it was often said that Britain was the "empire on which the sun never set." Similar things have been said of other empires, including Persia and Spain, but Britain's dominion is the most recent.

Is that the reason why the English are so fond of sunrises? It's hard to say, but their penchant for the orb and its arching rays has led to images of considerable beauty, both humble and grand.

This is the cover of one of my favorite books, The English Sunrise, by Brian Rice and Tony Evans, published in 1972 and now out of print. Although yellowed with age, my copy remains a jewel of a thing — an 8" x 8" paperback filled with seventy-six lovingly positioned images, plus those on the front and back covers, each one an English sunrise. To me this is sufficient argument for why printed books can never be completely replaced by e-books. The English Sunrise can still be found second-hand; I encourage you to do yourself a favor and seek out a copy. You'll see sunrise-bedecked houses and pottery, furniture, radios, tea cozies, signage and even a slot machine. Here are just a handful of examples — not necessarily my favorites, simply chosen at random.

A gate in Shaftesbury.

A handbag.

A leaded glass window.

The entrance to a pub.

The leather door panel of a 1933-36 Jaguar SS1 saloon car.

A bird cage.

A shopfront in Birmingham.

"The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls."
 ~ John Muir


  1. love this sunrise style. thanks for sharing those pictures! love them! great post!

  2. Thank you — glad you liked it!

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