The Ladle of Shallot by Mike Oxley


Small (16.4" x 21.7")

Available to buy on…

The inspiration for Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s epic poem. A true story.

He was working as a prep laddie in Wee Shuggie’s Diner, Cambridge, to help pay for his tuition and was prone to daydreaming of far-off times and places. During one busy dinner time, whilst mentally composing a poem about Arthur, Lancelot and co., he was so distracted thinking up a title that he’d forgotten to chop the onions. When Wee Shuggie cried, “Gie’s a cup o’ yon choppit onions, Alfie!” He replied, “Ach, Ah huvnae goat ony, Wee Shug, but Ah dae have they wee broon thingies here. Nae cup, either, jist this muckle spoon.” “Aye, well, Ah dinnae huv aw knight tae muck aboot. They’ll huv tae dae. Pass us the ladle of shallot, then, ye useless article! Yer aboot the same calibre as mah ex. Worst gal Ah had.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

The technical bits:

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 17 to 70 at 17 mm
iso 100, spot metered, aperture priority F11.0, -1.0 ev, 4 second exposure

Location – the kitchen countertop

Backdrop – the old faithful piece of ratty black velvet. Can’t remember where I found it.

Stand – small wineglass under same.

Lighting – 2 “energy saver” light bulbs in the ceiling fixture.

Props – Old Lagostina stainless steel ladle (yard sale – 50 cents), small bag of shallots from “Your Independent Grocer” – $1.99

As you can see, no expense spared.

August 26, 2010.

960 views as of 8/19/11

In love with Ma Nature! Always have been, always will be. Let’s keep her safe, eh?

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  • Kay Kempton Raade
    Kay Kempton Raadeover 4 years ago

    You are such a clever one!! Very intertaining and a lovely image.

  • Many thanks, Kay. Was driving into work very early this a.m. and had an epiphany, so to speak. :o)

    – Mike Oxley

  • Dorothy Thomson
    Dorothy Thomsonover 4 years ago

    Nice yin Mike ma lad, But ah kindae think ye need oot a bit mair!!!!!
    Seriously, lovely shot. P.S. I love your high class props, their a bit like mine!!

  • Ah ken, Dorothy, but there wis a storm a’brewin ootside an’ Ah didnae want tae get aw sodden. Bored I wis. And many thanks for your very kind words. ;o)

    – Mike Oxley

  • Alex Gardiner
    Alex Gardinerover 4 years ago

    Iviry thing aboot this wee charade is brammer , noo a ken yer jist like me . An gittin auld nutter frae Embra’
    The Auld Nutter yin anaw.

  • Whit! It’s a’ true, Ah telt ye! But many thanks for the compliment, Fellow Auld Nutter! Cheers, eh?

    – Mike Oxley

  • Brock Hunter
    Brock Hunterover 4 years ago

    very well done Mike. Thanks for sharing the set up information, it puts those with complex and expensive studios to shame.

  • Greatly appreciated, Brock. Postage Dew started me off…..Thanks! Still have all me old kitchen tools puns, but figured it might be an opportunity for something new. So out came all the high tech, “no expense spared” lighting equipment and props. Had to do a fair bit of editing – forgot to brush off the ratty and it was covered in white specks.

    – Mike Oxley

  • katymckay
    katymckayover 4 years ago

    Jings oor Mikey …..whitever next?…they shallots look mair like ingins (thats onions in case ye huv forgote) if ye dinny mind me sayin so …ye must be awy posh wi aw they things in your hoose,,silver ladles an everything…its really good though the way you have the light shining oan it…Jist dinny ask me tay paint it !!!!!!!

  • LOL! Ta, Wee Katy! Ye jist reminded me o’ they “ingin Johnnies” on their bikes! Ma wee spoon isnae silver – jist a cheap wee bit o’ stainless. If it wis silver, Ah’d be aff tae the Pawn Shop wi’ it! An Ah widnae want ye tae paint this. Yer work is way too classy fer a awfy bad pun like this yin!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Lynn  Gibbons
    Lynn Gibbonsover 4 years ago

    This is awesome Mike!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Many thanks, Lynn, and I greatly appreciate the “fave”, too! :o)

    – Mike Oxley

  • Malcolm Chant
    Malcolm Chantover 4 years ago
    What a fantastic idea & image Mike, I’d never have thought of this one, love the writing accomping it as well excellent.
  • LOL! Many thanks, Malcolm. Just taking a little liberty with Alfred Lord’s fine history and work!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Lee-Anne Carver
    Lee-Anne Carverover 4 years ago

    Love it! A ladle full of onions, so bold and exciting. Superior presentation!

  • Thanks so very much, Lee-Anne. Just having a little fun!

    – Mike Oxley

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47over 4 years ago

    And just as I thought it was not possible for the play-on-words pundemic to get any worse, the Fair Elaine shows up. Did you keep these confined in a tower to get them to grow so large? Methinks they’d have faded away under the circumstances. She left the web, she left the loom, & smacked the ladle with a broom, That Lady of Shalott .

  • This little work was triggered by Brock’s latest addition. We were members of another photo sharing site (now defunct) and were quite bad. Looks like we may have started up again. Brace yourself.
    As far as me onions go, I just picked up a nickel bag of shallots at the local supermarket. Label says “French Shallots, grown from French seed. Product of Canada.” So no cruel and unusual confinement for these wee bulbs, although they are now in the deep, dark recesses of the icebox, nestled with a baggie of tamarind pulp. Sour surrounds, indeed.
    And Fair Elaine? Was originally planning it around one specimen and a nest. The “Lay Day of …..”. Poor Alfie will be doing backflips.
    Thanks, eh?

    – Mike Oxley

  • deb cole
    deb coleover 4 years ago

    Very nicely done, Mike!

  • Much appreciated, Deb. Bored on a rainy afternoon!

    – Mike Oxley

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