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This report is taken from PN Review 186, Volume 35 Number 4, March - April 2009.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

5 August 1991

I guess. Days slur into each other on these trips. Here in Tournus, in Saint Philibert again, this immensely tall, ancient place, towering pillars, pink Prety marble. Noticing more and more. Those swags of blurred fog way up in the clerestory windows are huge webs. The morning sun comes in so that the aisle windows light up the feet of the pillars and the clerestory prints patches of gold half way up. The blaze on them is such bright gold, almost white, that it simultaneously picks out every pock and groove in the stone and yet also gives a glamour, which distances the surfaces as if they were immaterial. The pillars are built of big, irregular, brick-shaped chunks of glassy, hard rose-coloured stone. From below the light strikes up onto them, reflected from the silky pink slabs of the floor. Each has a shadow on its upper bevel, probably accentuated by accumulated dirt. Swinging from the patched, yolk-coloured ceilings of the transverse tunnel vaults are thick threads of blackened web, and swatches of this are smeared onto the pillars themselves near their tops. There seems to be a heat haze in here, under the transverse diaphragm arches, but, when I catch a sunbeam coming round behind a pillar, I see the air is full of falling motes, white dust, glittering, so it is like looking up through water that has been recently stirred and is full of settling bits. Tall, rose and gold, and ...


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