'Hedgerow Trees at Clerkenleap', photograph by Benjamin Brecknell Turner

'Hedgerow Trees at Clerkenleap', photograph by Benjamin Brecknell Turner

Benjamin Brecknell Turner
'Hedgerow Trees at Clerkenleap, Worcestershire'
England
About 1850
Albumen print from calotype negative
Museum no. PH.15-1982
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The idiosyncratic shape of the two trees which form the main subject of this image, would have been created by deliberate pruning or 'pollarding'. This process promotes the growth of smaller branches, out of the reach of livestock, used as firewood or for crafts. Pollarding was common place during the medieval period. Pollard trees were often situated on the boundaries of fields and were common property; but the enclosure acts of the 18th and early 19th century resulted in their private ownership. This photograph therefore shows a nostalgia for the past while revealing the effects of political change in the rural landscape.