Time and Tide Bell

A Continuing Arts Programme facing Lincolnshire's Coast


Warming Bells

At the North Sea Observatory, Chapel Point, Lincolnshire PE24 5XA

Open daily 10am to 5pm Wednesday 21st August to Sunday 1st September 2019

Admission Free

We are a group of artists and arts promoters who recognize the potential existential threat of global warming and are determined to use the arts to communicate our concerns to our audiences.

Our art exhibitions emerge from the conceptual basis of Marcus Vergette's Time and Tide Bells, stimulating conversations about human relationships with the sea, past, present and future, mindful of the global warming and the social stresses that climate change and sea level rise may bring.

The Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell Community Interest Company is an arts organization dedicated to using the arts in environmental campaigning. During 2018 our major exhibitions have been 'Across the Seas' at the Sam Scorer Gallery, Lincoln, in May, dealing with human migrations in the past, the present and the future and '#200Fish' in August at the North Sea Observatory. This presented artworks based on the over 200 species of fish found in the North Sea, bringing to audiences attention the rich biodiversity of marine life. In November 2018 we presented 'By the Sea', an exhibition, again at the North Sea Observatory, that brought a contemporary view of Lincolnshire's natural coastal landscape, and dealt with issues such as sea level changes in the past and in the future and pollution of the marine environment.

Each of these exhibitions referenced global warming though the matter was not the central issue. In our new project, Warming Bell, we confront global warming directly. We are inviting artists to create works that address what we see as an existential crisis, a problem of our own making, which has within itself the possibility, at worst, of ending human life, at best making life a catastrophic disaster for some.

This exhibition connects bells with global warming, looking at the place of bells in our cultural landscape through history and their power to sound a warning of the damage we are doing to our environment.

Bells have a long-standing place in our culture.

Bells generally evoke positive emotions as they are associated with joyful events, Christmas, weddings etc but also have a darker side, occasionally rung muffled at funerals and often used as a warning in alarm bells and signals of emergency. The Lutine Bell was traditionally rung at Lloyds of London to announce safe arrival or loss of a ship. Bells on marine buoys warn of shoals and channel edges. Bells are used as announcers of time, clock chimes and alarms to wake the sleeping. At sea, the watches of the day are defined by the ship's bell. In factories bells announce shift changes and school lessons begin and end with bells.

Hand-bells were rung by town-criers to draw attention to their announcements. Telephone bells announce a call and some replicate a bell sound as their mobile phone ring-tone. Even a 'ring-tone' contains a 'ring'. The Facebook icon for 'notifications' is a bell.

Notwithstanding the negative associations that bells sometimes present, the overwhelming response to bells, particularly large bronze bells rung for communal purposes, is positive. Historically, the manufacture and installation of bells have been significant undertakings with effort and costs shared widely and willingly. The skill and craftmanship involved in their making and the durability of bells ensure appreciation of their value.

A large proportion of Britain's population live within earshot of church-bells. Bells have been the constant sonic background to our lives, chiming the hours and ringing the changes. Yet curiously, images of bells are all but absent from British art. In Russia, where bells are rung by pulling a rope attached to the clapper and are often visible from the ground, there are many paintings of bells, but the British tradition of 'full circle' ringing means bells are high up in the belfry, heard and not seen, out of sight but not out of mind.

This project, Warming Bells, seeks to appropriate the cultural inheritance of bells to promote discussion of global warming, creating an association between ideas about bells and environmental dangers.

Saxon Bell in Vintage Shrine ~ Biff Vernon

Early Medieval Bell c. 600 to 900 AD. Portable Antiquities Scheme Unique ID: LIN-B17DA7
Standing just 4 cm high, this piece of much corroded metal is the remains of what may be the oldest bell known from the Lincolnshire Marsh. It, and fragments of several other similar bells, were found at Little Carlton in 2017. The site was an island surrounded by salt-marsh and inhabited by a substantial Anglo-Saxon community, possibly monastic. Now about six miles inland, west of the Time and Tide Bell, there is no implication that sea level has fallen in the past 1200 years, rather sea defences have been constructed and the land drained. Typically the land of the Lincolnshire Marsh lies around 2m OD, so without this protection the area would be under water at high tides and only the slightly raised areas would have been safe from tidal surges.

The Carlton Bells were made of sheet iron, folded and riveted to create the bell's shape, and, importantly, they were brazed with a copper alloy. This would have improved the resonance of the bell and made them look attractive. Brazing an iron bell is a sophisticated and complex technology, indicating that these bells must have been valuable items with considerable cultural significance. Their exact use is unknown but one of the earliest representations of such handbells comes a couple of centuries later in the Bayeux Tapestry where two figures carrying hand-bells are depicted accompanying the coffin of King Edward at his funeral.

There was a strong Celtic tradition of making similar bells and an example from Ireland, but housed in a 12th century ornate brass 'bell-shrine' is displayed in the British Museum. It seemed appropriate to elevate the status of the Little Carlton Bell in a similar manner by displaying it in a brass and glass shrine.

No Title ~ David Wise

Mixed media, plastic and wood. Height 20 cm

The figure represents the bell, in the shape of the hat as the handle to the body as the chamber of the bell. A dwarf represents wisdom in Germanic mythology and choice, as a figure that guards the choices that people can take. Warming bells or warning bells ring to highlight a choice, fight or flight, stop or go. The sculpture represents the idea of a choice that people have to make. The symbols of the plane and the fork represents the choice that we as human beings or even a community have to make; do we continue to engage in potentially harmful activities (military plane), or do we actively support those activities that bring a more positive outcome to the community or the wider world (food/fork).
No title, as I want the viewer to make up their own narrative.

Bell ~ Charles Blake

Wet felting

I have enjoyed the task of doing the Time and Tide project. I have thought a lot about the design so I had a couple of practice sessions to make sure it was just right. I wanted mostly to have sea and land in the picture. I wanted to show depth to make the picture have more feeling than just to make it feel flat. I also liked the bell to stand out so that the person looking at the picture will think about the importance of bells in our lives. I also wanted the picture to have warmth so I added orange to the sun. So I am proud of the result. Hope that everyone else enjoys it too.

I have autism and unable to speak, but the most difficult thing is that I cannot control my body as others seem to be in control of theirs. It was discovered a few years ago that by having a specially trained RPM facilitator that I am able to point to letters on a letter-board to spell out words. This has allowed me to at last share my opinions and dreams and importantly have at given me the chance of an education and to be treated with respect. I have enjoyed doing art and communicating my wishes and thoughts in this and all sorts of other things.

Time Line - A work in progress, the glass bells emerge from the kiln ~ Lynn Baker

'Time line' is designed to make us all think. A line of half bells is reflected in the mirror giving us an image of a row of full bells. But they are fragile, delicate and the line is carefully balanced, at times hazy and wavering. How long do we have before this fragile line stops? Do these bells represent years, decades or centuries? Will our planet get hotter and hotter until it burns up? We cannot answer these questions accurately but we can all think very carefully about our day to day lives and how we can each do our bit to reduce global warming. Now is the time to reflect and react.

Toll Bell ~ Alison Spittles
Collage 71 x 76 cm

I used magazines and old greetings cards from my (too) large and treasured collection to create this collage - some of cards are more than 30 years old. It's mounted on reclaimed plywood labelled Russian birch. I wanted to convey some of the richness, beauty and complexity of the natural world, and hint at fragile and precious elements of human existence, set against the growing threat to all of this from global warming.

Harebell ~ Jane Heighton

"Non-native and common. The brown hare has a Species Action Plan under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, which aims to expand existing populations. However, hares have minimal legal protection because they are considered a game species and can be shot throughout the year, including through their breeding season. They are the only game species in the UK without a closed season, when hunting is prohibited."
Due to hunting and farming practices the hare population has greatly decreased, and now it's numbers are also threatened by some having been affected by myxomatosis (man-made rabbit population disease spread through blood sucking insects) passed from the rabbit population. I learned this through researching the hare whilst sculpting this piece. I wanted to portray the hare in clay, purely because of its beauty initially, and the noble features and characteristics of an animal, which although non-native, has been a part of our countryside since Roman times, and as is the trend, is now threatened by human practices.
This hare with bell (harebell) is sculpted using stoneware clay, and I've made my own glazes.
I'm an amateur potter/ceramicist based in Lincolnshire, and am very much a novice, learning initially through a short course with the Alford craft market group and then weekly classes at Oxcombe Pottery.

Heavy Horse ~ Janet Swift
Watercolour and gouche 23 x 38 cm

Heavy horses' harnesses were often decorated with horse brasses. These included bells that acted as a warning to those around, especially when reversing was difficult. Sustainable forestry is carried out using horses. Logging the old-fashioned way ensured that trees could, and can still, be gathered at a pace and in quantities that does not outstrip nature. I, for one, would definitely welcome the return of our equine friends!

This Earth ~ Carol Emsley
Mixed media £120

Melting glacier
Rising Water
Seabirds cry
on a plastic tide
Front line
Shore line
Seasons weather
This land
This Earth

Rising Levels ~ Carol Emsley
Drypoint £100

These images show the gradual decline of habitat and subsequent bird life, due to floods and extreme weather.

Gulls ~ Carol Emsley
Etching £80

White and wild
Spirit of the sea and shore
A sailor's soul
Cries and flies
Over the foam
And the storm
Carried on a changing
Seaweed tide

Lapwings ~ Carol Emsley
Etching £80

Where have all the lapwings gone? Loss of habitat, flooded fields, food sources and climate change. Thirty years ago, I used to see lots on the fields close to the River Humber.

A Stitch in Time and Tide ~ Katherine Martin
Cross-stitch £40

Cross stitch, as with global warming, takes time. At first it may seem as if we are not having an impact on the environment, that there isn't a pattern. That there are just lots of random crosses. Then over the years, sea levels and temperatures change and the crosses come together to form a picture. Do we listen to the warnings of warming or just carry on?

Fragmentations ~ Amber Richards
Mixed media

A sculptural fragmented Grandfather clock, with circles representing the mute clocks of galleries. With no voice, as the silent pendulum swings. The sound of the clocks in the distance resounding of hope and possibilities. Like the global world about us, they need serious attention, energy and care to chant their chorus, I am Alive and well!

The sculpture contains an audio recording of a grandfather clock being wound up, ticking and the bells chiming. It is about time, memory, and the short space of time to slow down global warming.
Previously shown and at the Courtyard Gallery, The Collection, Lincoln.


Ghosts ~ Jackie Mills
Mixed media 17 x 27 cm £40

'Ghosts' represents the changes in phytoplankton, tiny microscopic plants, that is being caused by both pollution and warming of our oceans. There are over thirteen different varieties of phytoplankton drifting in our oceans. This vital ocean microalgae feeds a vast array of sea dwellers from whales to snails and even other plankton, known as zooplankton. Each phytoplankton eater provides a step in the food chain which supports the wide variety of living creatures that dwell within the largest areas on earth ... water! These tiny plants not only sustain and support ocean life, they live near the surface and cleanse more than 100 million tons of carbon dioxide daily from our atmosphere through photosynthesis. They help land livers breathe. How amazing that something so small can be so vital for living things on both land and water!

Ocean pollution causes an increase in nitrates and other nutrients that the phytoplankton need to survive. Basically, where the ocean is polluted the phytoplanktons gorge themselves, causing each type to mutate into toxic superblooms. These superblooms cause severe damage when eaten and are also very harmful to skin, fins, gills and all the external bits if encountered. Pollution causes the plants to change from lifegivers to deathbringers. Ocean warming causes the reverse. It prevents cooler, nutrient rich water from mixing with warmer streams near the surface and it causes a form of starvation in the plant, which affects it's reproduction. That reduces the number of phytoplanktons which causes starvation in plankton eaters and also drives the plankton towards the Poles where water is cooler. Plankton eaters will follow, severely disrupting the food chain. Another major effect is a reduction of the amount of daily carbon dioxide synthesized. This leads to more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and contributes to the perpetuation of the vicious cycle of global warming.

We are in real danger of phytoplankton extinction through mutation and starvation which will leave only ghosts of plankton in our oceans. The demise of something so microscopic can create a mega catastrophe. Ring the bell while we still can.

Find out more

Beach Belles ~ Jenny Sanderson
Cotton appliqué and mixed media 62 x 84 cm

The Beach Belles are doing their regular beach clean.

Dance in the Face of Danger ~ Pete Swift
oil on canvas 37 x 95 cm

Whether it's rain, imminent or ongoing conflict, it's what humans do. Bells have played their part.

Nature; Does it ring a bell? ~ Eleni Christoforou
Acrylic paint and pen 30 x 25 cm £110

University of California at Santa Cruz was a marvellous campus with picturesque nature trails and thriving biodiversity. On one of my first walks around the campus I came across a tree; an extraordinary tree where one third was rich in green leaves, the centre was struggling to survive, and rest was covered in darkness and charcoal. It didn't take long to realize that it had been struck by a wild fire, one of the horrific effects of global warming. Continuing along the path, there was a bell, a proudly standing bell inscribed with: "1769 - 1906 EL CAMINO REAL". The history of the area states that, in 1769, the Franciscans founded the California Missions where each Mission was located in areas inhabited by Native Americans and were rich in fertile soil paving the way for new civilizations, between San Diego to Sonoma. In 1906 the first 85-pound bell (designed by Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes) rose followed by 449 in front of every Mission. These Missions, accentuated by the bells, were the beginning of new civilizations, boosting the creation of modern highways and encouraging industrialization. Two and a half centuries later, worldwide industrial economies contribute daily to the greenhouse effect resulting in the escalating impacts of global warming. These anthropogenic effects don't only influence trees, but they destroy habitats, vanish populations and obliterate our planet.

The Camino Britannia

Along the Camino Santiago de Compostela in Spain, bells have been heard by pilgrims since medieval times. The Camino Britannia is a new British way, a pilgrim route for personal reflection and discovery about humanity's future as the planet heats and sea levels rise. Within sight and sound of the sea, the path combines the English Coast Path, the Wales Coast Path and the Scottish Coastal Way, a total of over 6,000 miles of path with a further 3,000 miles in Scotland, undefined but open access along the coast. The Time and Tide Bells provide significant way-stations along the route. The Camino de Santiago is marked by scallop shell symbols. The Camino Britannia adopts the shell of the Icelandic Cyprine, a clam that grows slowly over hundreds of years making it the oldest living animal. Its significance lies in the record of environmental change it lays down in its shell, from which the history of past ocean temperature and chemistry can be constructed.

Is the Camino Britannia a work of art? As a conceptual piece it adds a layer of meaning and purpose to an existing object. At thousands of miles long it is quite a large object, too big to fit in an art gallery, but it is available and open to all, to experience and engage with, bit by bit, in whatever way one chooses. The artist asks that the engagement involves an act of pilgrimage into the future of the Anthropocene.

The photograph is of an Icelandic Cyprine, Arctica islandica, found on the Theddlethorpe beach on the day the Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell was installed.

This bivalve is widespread in coastal waters and on the ocean shelves of the North Atlantic. In North America it is usually called the Ocean Quahog (pronounced ko-hog). Arctica islandica dates back to at least the early Cretaceous, about 135 million years ago. Individual Icelandic Cyprines live for hundreds of years, the oldest living non-colonial animal known. One specimen was 507 years old when it died. Their shells have growth lines rather like trees, which record the years and the environmental conditions. They are being studied to help reconstruct a sequence of climate changes in the past.

Our greenhouse gas emissions not only cause global heating and sea level rise, the increased carbon dioxide absorbed by the oceans' waters leads to acidification, a lowering of the sea water's pH. This will have devastating effects on ocean biodiversity, making a major contribution to the Sixth Mass Extinction, the beginnings of which we are now witnessing. The Icelandic Cyprine, however, can survive high levels of CO2 in the water, having survived the end-Cretaceous mass extinction and the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) 55 million years ago. Even if we manage to drive our own species to extinction, this little clam is likely to survive us.

Look out for Arctica islandica on the beach. You might walk over a thousand cockles, mussels, oysters, razor clams, piddocks, tellins and gapers before spotting an Icelandic Cyprine, but when you do, it may be the shell of the oldest creature you've ever seen. And its descendants may have a longer future than humanity, outliving the Anthropocene.

Wild Fire ~ Lynn Bates
Oil on canvas 62 x 42 cm £150.00

Wild Fire

the wind
fans the sparks that catch
the grass that catch
the twigs that catch
the branches that catch
the leaves that catch
the trees
and smoke billows puffy clouds and flames rage high
and sparks fly into
the wind
fans the sparks that catch
the grass...

For Whom the Bell Tolls - the Polar Bear ~ Carey Jones
Acrylic paint on salvaged wood 34 x 15 x 2cm £50

Marco the Polar Bear
White as snow
Sat down on the ice
Near the cold waters flow
"Lunch, we need lunch" he said
"My family need a meal"
He stuck in his paw
And came up with a...
or nothing...
Its up to us.

Polar bears have been on this earth for 125,000 years (ish) and live within the Arctic Circle. They are the largest land carnivore, mainly eating seals and hunting from platforms of floating ice - but - human caused global warming is melting these and, simply put - no ice means no seals and no seals means no Polar Bears. The ice platforms are being lost at a rate of 13% per decade - they will all be gone by mid century - within our children's lifetime.

For Whom the Bell Tolls - King Penguin ~ Carey Jones
Acrylic paint on salvaged wood 30 x 15 x 2cm £50

The penguin is a funny bird
Whose suit is black and white
He lives where days are very cold
And the days are seldom bright
He eats fish and likes to swim
So we must do something NOW
To keep his share of the world safe for him!

King Penguins live in Antarctica. They run rather than hop and can dive up to 300 metres to catch fish. They don't build nests but shelter their single egg under their bellies, resting it on their feet to keep it warm. Mum and Dad take turns in looking after their chick in the same way. As a result of climate change 70% of King Penguins will be gone inside of 80 years.

Warming (Blue) Bells ~ Carey Jones
Acrylic on salvaged wood 42 x 10 x 1 cm £40

A 2017 study from Edinburgh University for The Woodland Trust found that spring flowers, including the English Bluebell, appear to be slipping out of sync with spring, as changes in seasonal temperatures alter the germination and growth process. The study found that they will come into leaf or flower an average of three to eight days sooner for each 1°C increase in temperature. As a result four key species, including our lovely bluebell, will struggle to survive and a beloved sight will disappear from our countryside.

I walked into the lonely wood,
And stared about the place I stood:
The beauty of the tree-lined glade,
With shafts of light that pierced the shade,
All filled me with a sense of awe -
The bluebell carpet best of all!

Bluebell Woods by Jack Horne

Dr Kate Lewthwaite from the Woodland Trust said: Edinburgh University's "findings are really valuable. They also show just how important the records people submit to Nature's Calendar* are in helping to predict the effects of our changing climate over time. The English bluebell is an iconic woodland species so this prediction is a wake-up call for the possible effects of climate change on much loved parts of our natural world".

Obviously, the knock on effects here are critical too, particularly for Bees - Spring is an important time in the Bee calendar, as queens emerge hungry from hibernation and need to replenish their fat stores ahead of establishing new colonies. So, our already declining Bee populations rely heavily on Bee friendly spring flowers, the bluebell being one, for their survival. As these disappear the Warming Bell will toll even more loudly for the struggling Bee.

*To take part in this project and collect data to help with future Spring studies go to Nature's Calendar and keep a record of what you see.

The Voice of Heaven ~ Valery Esaulenko
Mixed media, watercolour, tempera and acrylic 52 x 41 cm

What I'm trying to portray is not at all fantasy and not uncommon in our world, but a terrifying reality. Even if it happens outside our field of vision, it concerns all of us. Our planet like a small ball. Children are carelessly playing with dolls, toy cars and bells and do not suspect the Big Mental Bell is ringing and buzzing invisibly over their heads.

The Bells no longer Ring - Anastasia Lewis
42 x 61 cm (framed) watercolour on original digital print
Original painting £400. Signed prints size A4 £25

"Full fathom five thy cities lie"

Full fathom five our cities lie;
Of its phones are coral made;
Those towers that were its highs,
Nothing of them that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something lost and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring our knell:
Hark know I hear them, -ding-dong, bell.

(with heartfelt apologies to one W. Shakespeare)

Brides of Enderby - Harriott Brand
Mixed media

The tidal surges and associated drownings have been well recorded over the last 800 years but we had been unable to interpret these events until people looked at the graveyards and dates and descriptions of events in history for which the people had no name and no scientific understanding other than the wrath of God. This work references the poem, 'The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire 1571' by Jean Ingelow (1820 - 97).

'The Brides of Enderby' is the name given to the special peal of bells, rung from Boston Stump, to warn the townsfolk and those in the surrounding countryside of approaching danger, whether of pirates, river flood or high tides breaching the dykes. Supposedly, the name commemorates the womenfolk of Mavis Enderby.

The village of Mavis Enderby itself lies within the Lincolnshire Wolds, on higher ground out of danger of flood and just who the brides were and what their connection to a warning peal might have been is uncertain.

The old mayor climb'd the belfry tower,
The ringers ran by two, by three;
"Pull, if ye never pull'd before;
Good ringers, pull your best," quoth he.
"Play uppe, play uppe, O Boston bells!
Ply all your changes, all your swells,
Play uppe, 'The Brides of Enderby.'"

See the rest of the poem.

'Act of God' is a concertina book with the poem of Jean Ingelow about the Flood in 1571. Boston is only too familiar with severe floods, the most notable of which happened in 1286, 1571, 1953 and 2013. The concertina represents the waters rolling in and the circle of events ending with the death of a wife and her bairns. In medieval times people did not swim and there was no weather forecasting, if yuou were caught out in a tidal surge there was very little hope, the land being so flat and few buildings strong enough or high enough to offer protection. Using hand-made paper and photos, each flood is depicted as a religious scapular, the ribbons and crosses the deaths in the pastures of people tending their cows and sheep.

Farewell to the bells in Gródek, 1943 - Barbara Eger
Oil on board 40 x 60 cm

During world wars I and II it was common to remove the bells from church spires, in order to melt them down for the purpose of manufacture of weaponry and/or munitions. This practice was applied to both territories occupied by German forces as well as Germany itself. In an era where people tended to stay in one place from birth to death and where church bells were an essential part of the daily rhythm of life, people unsurprisingly had formed strong attachments to their local bells. The religious importance of the bells, having called generations of the faithful to church service, increased their significance to residents of towns, cities and villages alike. The bond between people and their bells was so strong, that some communities in occupied territories took it upon themselves to remove and hide the bells (eg by burying them); at great risk of reprisals by the German authorities.

This picture, Farewell to the Bells, is based on a photograph believed to have been taken in 1943 in a place called Groedeck. As there were a number of locations of that name in Eastern Europe, it has not been possible to determine, where the image of the distressed woman saying farewell to the bells was captured.

The bells are likely to have been transported to a central collection point in the port city of Hamburg, where a large number of bells were found at the end of the war. Whilst it is established that some churches had their bells returned to them after the war, it is not known how many that applied to. It would appear safe to assume, that most of the bells have been melted down during the war or simply proved impossible to repatriate after the cessation of hostilities in Europe. So we do not know whether the bells in this picture ever rang again, anywhere.

Further reading: The Church Bells of Eastern Europe

Disappearing Seashore 1 - Jeanette Kilner

Book: 'Hamlyn Guide to the Seashore and Shallow Seas', re-purposed storage box h. 9.5" x w. 13.5" x d. 7"

I wanted to make something to highlight rising sea levels caused by climate change, and the threat to low-lying coastal areas. My idea involved finding an appropriate book to use, and by pure serendipity I found it in only the third charity shop I looked in:

The Hamlyn Guide to the Seashore and Shallow Seas of Britain and Europe
Written by Andrew C Campbell
Illustrated by James Nicholls
Edition published 2004

The only problem was that it was in perfect condition, probably never used, and I didn't want to 'destroy' a book that wasn't already in a poor condition. However, it isn't rare; there are plenty available on 'Amazon', so it could easily be replaced, unlike all the flora and fauna it so beautifully illustrates. In fact, I have not actually destroyed the book. The pages can all be carefully unfolded restoring it to a useable, if not pristine, condition. If only it was as easy to carefully reverse the causes and effects of global warning, and remove the threat to our coastline.

Disappearing Seashore 2 - Jeanette Kilner

Book: 'Collins gem Seashore - Quick Guide to Plants and Animals', re-purposed cheese dish h. 6.5" x d. diam. 8.75"

While working on 'Disappearing Seashore 1' I came across this book in the Oxfam bookshop - another example of serendipity.

'Collins gem Seashore - Quick Guide to Plants and Animals'
Rod and Ken Preston-Mafham,
Edition published 2004.

It is a brilliant, small reference book, widely available from bookshops and online sources, and illustrates all of the species that could be under threat if sea levels rise significantly as a result of climate change. I have not completely destroyed the book. The cut-out pages are held in place by small pieces of masking tape, which can be carefully removed, and the unused section of the book has been carefully kept completely intact. Therefore all the pages could be taped back together. This would not be an elegant solution, but would mean that the information could still be used. Hopefully, a much better solution to conserve the actual species in the book can be found.

Warming Stripes, after Ed Hawkins
Machine knitted acrylic yarn 17 x 180 cm

The Warming Stripes appear in many forms, here as a knitted scarf, donated by Megan Rowley, a Reuters correspondant who has reported from many of the the biggest climate conferences. The pattern is created by assigning a colour to the average temperature each year over the last 160 years, coolest being the blues and warmest the reds. The idea is the creation of Ed Hawkins. He is a climate scientist in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) at the University of Reading and is an IPCC AR5 Contributing Author. He has created such images for global temperatures and regional temperatures at various locations and others have taken up and expanded upon his ideas. The oil painting at the top of this page, by Biff Vernon, is one of many such re-creations. There is much more information about the Warming Stripes on Ed Hawkins' webpage Climate Lab Book.

Marcelle Seabourne

Ring Out, Wild Bells ~ Marcelle Seabourne
Monotype triptych, mounted together and framed 22 x 44cm

These three prints are part of a series based on ideas of how sound swirls and resonates in the air. They refer directly to a much-loved section of the moving poem 'In Memoriam' by Lincolnshire born poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson. The poem was written following the death of his dear friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, at a tragically young age and explores feelings of loss and mourning. My monotypes, mounted together as a triptych, are framed by lines from the optimistic New Year section of the poem, which starts 'Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky'.

Ring in the New ~ Marcelle Seabourne
Monotype print

This monotype print also takes the Tennyson poem 'In Memoriam' as a starting point. This section is inspired by hearing church bells ringing in the New Year. It expresses ideas of making a break with the unhappy past and looking to a positive future, so there are distinct parallels with the aims of this exhibition. My image represents the effect of a whole peal of bells resounding and echoing up into the air.

Wild Sky ~ Marcelle Seabourne
Monoprint 56 x 45 cm framed

The title of this monotype print is drawn once again from the stirring New Year section of the poem 'In Memoriam', by Tennyson. My intention here was to give the impression of swirling fragments of sound from ringing church bells reverberating into a stormy sky.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from In Memorium A.A.H. 1849

Time and Tide Bell after Dulac - Biff Vernon
Oil on wood panel 60 x 40 cm

The Bells - Edmund Dulac.
Ink and watercolour drawing 374 by 270mm.

The third, of three, colour plates to illustrate Edgar Allan Poe's poem, 'The Bells' and reproduced within 'The Bells and Other Poems' (Hodder and Stoughton, 1912). The illustration, which is dated 1912, accompanies this text:
They are neither man nor woman -
They are neither brute not human -
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls.

The full text of Edgar Allan Poe's poem is available here

The poem starts merrily enough, "Hear the sledges with the bells - Silver bells! - What a world of merriment their melody foretells! ... How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, - In the icy air of night!"
And in the second verse: "Hear the mellow wedding bells, - Golden bells! - What a world of happiness their harmony foretells! - Through the balmy air of night - How they ring out their delight!"
But in verse III we have: "Hear the loud alarum bells - Brazen bells! - What tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells! - In the startled ear of night"
And by the fourth verse the story turns seriously grim.
Now, about 170 years after it was written, we can reinterpret Poe's poem in terms of our realisation of the impact of the planetary heating we are causing. But read it for yourself.

The Tennis Game - Biff Vernon 1978
Oil on wood panel 60 x 80 cm

Inspired by David Inshaw's Badminton Game, 'The Tennis Game' is evocative of the apparent stability of England, with its substantial country house and two girls playing an idle game in the garden, oblivious of the coming climate catastrophe. It was painted in 1978 long before global warming was much discussed outside some very limited academic circles. By then, however, the essentials of the science were established and understood by those willing to engage. Had society heeded and acted upon the warnings that were available 40 years ago, the present crisis might have been averted. Even today, for most of us life goes on as usual, we plan our holiday flights and drive our fossil fuel cars while in less temperate and poorer parts of the world people die in extreme weather events and conflict is triggered as deserts spread.

Reminiscing the Game - Biff Vernon 1978
Oil on wood panel 60 x 80 cm

'Reminiscing the Game' sees one of the players, older, racket by her side, looking back into her memories of that perceived stability now that the world has changed. The garden is consumed by desert following runaway global warming. William Holman Hunt's Scapegoat stands nearby, ready to absorb the sins of humanity in their neglect for the environment. Both painted in 1978, the pair of pictures foresee the coming climate catastrophe years before global warming became a universal concern.

Just what are the issues in the frame? Here are some climate science basics. First let's be clear about words. Global heating is just what is says: the heating of the planet that is now going on as a result of our emission of, mostly, carbon dioxide, along with methane and a few other things. Since the start of the industrial revolution we have sent about 1 degree Celsius of warming averaged across the globe, more near the poles, less equatorially. Global warming causes climate change. Climate change is just what it says, a change in the climate. Depending on where one is, it might get wetter or drier, hotter or colder, stormier or calmer. Humans tend to be creatures of habit; we get used to prevailing conditions and adapt accordingly. Change tends to be disruptive. For some, for a while, climate change might bring more days of nice weather but mostly the changes are on the bad side with more extreme weather, be it floods or droughts, storms or heat waves. During the foreseeable future, the lifetimes of today's young children, deserts will expand and some places will experience that combination of heat and humidity that makes life without air conditioning physically impossible. Sea level will rise, forcing millions to migrate, abandoning some of the world's richest agricultural land.

For future generations life becomes ever more precarious. The current trajectory we are on, increasing the atmosphere's CO2 content by over 2ppm each year, leads us to global warming of 4 or 5 degrees. We have very little idea about how much of the planet will then become uninhabitable or how quickly the melting of the great ice sheets will flood all low-lying lands. It is here that science becomes dominated by uncertainty, though we can be sure that the range of probability is skewed to the bad side. And it is here that the artist has to take over, augmenting the scientists' work with interpretation accessible to their wider audiences.

Extinction Symbol for the Extinction Rebellion - Biff Vernon 2017
Oil on wood board 30 x 25 cm

The symbol above represents extinction. The circle signifies the planet, while the hourglass inside serves as a warning that time is rapidly running out for many species. The world is currently undergoing a mass extinction event, and this symbol is intended to help raise awareness of the urgent need for change in order to address this crisis. Estimates are that somewhere between 30,000 and 140,000 species are becoming extinct every year in what scientists have named the Anthropocene, or Sixth Mass Extinction. This ongoing process of destruction is being caused by the impact of human activity. Within the next few decades approximately 50% of all species that now exist will have become extinct. Such a catastrophic loss of biodiversity is highly likely to cause widespread ecosystem collapse and consequently render the planet uninhabitable for humans.

Extinction Symbols - Biff Vernon

Oil on canvas 65 x 40 cm

The Extinction Symbol has been adopted by Extinction Rebellion

"In order to spread the message as widely as possible, please create this symbol in any location you feel able to. Thank you." The Extinction Symbol

Message posted on bell-shaped card on gates of an oil exploration drilling site near Biscathorpe in the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Sequestered Carbon ~ Biff Vernon

Coal, stained glass and lead 16 x 16 x 8 cm.

If human civilisation is to survive, most fossil carbon must be left in the ground. Four pieces of coal are safely encased in cubes of hand-made, mouth-blown stained-glass from Poland. By keeping the carbon in the ground we can mitigate climate change, slowing down the rate of warming and the rate of sea level rise, giving more time for adaptation and lessening the impact of forced migration. The Hawkmoth Effect ensures uncertainty about the rates of change but we are sure of the direction of travel.

Carbon Capture and Storage Plant ~ Biff Vernon

Oil on wood panel 44 x 56 cm

Warming Stripes, after Ed Hawkins ~ Biff Vernon

Oil on canvas 43 x 67 cm.

Warming Stripes, after Ed Hawkins ~ Anon

Machine-knitted acyllic textile 17 x 78 cm.

The Bell Curve

A plot of a normal distribution (or bell-shaped curve) where each band has a width of 1 standard deviation Source: Wikipedia

If we plot the frequency of, say, daily temperature maxima, with temperature along the horizontal axis and how often it happens on the vertical axis, we might expect a normal distribution, which produces a bell-shaped graph. Extreme temperatures are rare, most are clustered about the average or norm. But if climate changes, global heating will be seen in a greater frequency of very hot days while very cold days become less common. A small rise in average temperatures, shifts the Bell shape to the right, making a big difference to the weather we experience.

The arts have developed over the past several thousand years of the Holocene, an epoch of climate stability. Now, as a result of man's pollution of the atmosphere, that stability is upset; the climate regime in which the arts have flourished is broken.

The Ringers of Launcells Tower - Frederick Smallfield (1829 - 1915)
Oil on canvas 91 x 71 cm 1887 Royal Cornwall Museum

First step to get involved: send us an email.

And now take a little time out to enjoy John Betjemin's Summoned by Bells


We are a Community Arts Group bringing Marcus Vergette's sculpture to the Lincolnshire Coast, one part of a permanent installation of Time and Tide Bells around Britain's coast, rung by the sea at high tide.
We aim to spark conversations about the coastline's past, present and future with a programme of art exhibitions and events

Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell Community Interest Company is a not-for profit organisation, registered at Companies House. Company Number 10934941