It had long been an ambition of Dale’s to return to the Orthoceras marble quarries of Tazarine that first ignited his passion for natural art some 25 years ago. A five day road journey that can rival the most picturesque drives in the world enabled us to take in Mother Nature’s finest offerings.
The breathtaking Erg Chebbi Sand Dunes of Merzouga, the surreal Oasis of Zagora and the bizarre mountain formations of Agdz were just a few examples we passed along the way…Thankfully today’s travel budget could stretch to the fully Air-Con’d 4×4 Toyota rather than the Fiat Uno option of the 1980’s!!
Before our stop in Tazarine we spent two days in Rissani in search of Trilobites. We were fortunate enough to not only select a new collection but also witness these 360 Million year old creatures being prepared. With equipment that would flatter most dentists and the patience that could match a Shaolin Monk these extraordinary craftsmen are amongst the finest fossil preparers in the world. Hours, days and sometimes weeks of preparation time can be spent on just one fist sized Trilobite if the piece spectacular enough.
After our collection of marine arthropods was complete we set off to the quarries of Tazarine. An adventure that took months of planning, searching and execution in the 1980’s was today easily reached thanks to smooth roads replacing dirt tracks and 4 x 4 steering succeeding Fiat Uno suspension. Although the journey is shorter and easier today, these vast deserted quarries still possess the same impact when first visited 25 years ago. An eery wilderness where two-ton Orthoceras boulders lay side by side like casually thrown marbles and the extraordinary juxtaposition of Dry, rocky desert meets tropical palm trees cannot fail to make you stop and take notice. It is when you are standing under the 45 degree heat you start to appreciate the full complexity of the operation involved in extracting, transporting and preparing these gigantic marble boulders into beautifully shaped pieces of art ready for our Pimlico gallery.