An Appetite for Looking
‘Is Pevsner in the back?’ A familiar question from the driver when setting off for almost any destination in England – familiar not from my childhood (I don’t think there were Pevsners at home) but from years of adult friendship with people interested in buildings and places. Yes, here is Leicestershire in the footwell, and the seat pocket yields Nottinghamshire, which may mean that instead of driving straight past Hickling (say) we’ll take time to look at the ‘unusually rewarding number of engraved C18 and early C19 slate headstones in the churchyard’. If the church door is open we’ll find art of every century inside, from the ‘wild interlacing’ of a carved Saxon coffin to the ‘poor box, small, 1685, but still not at all classical’. We’ll even notice the door hinges on the way out, enjoying the extravagance of the medieval ironwork. Pevsner calls them ‘accomplished’.