Monday, August 20

August 2018 - Choral Holiday at Milton Abbey School (Dorset)


A new venture this weekend, a weekend singing course, aka 'choir camp', organised by Choral Holidays.


It was held at Milton Abbey School in Dorset.


We had our rehearsals in a Benedictine abbey church...


...set in Capability Brown landscape.


As well as all sorts of super facilities, the school as a tea room!


It was fabulous to rehearse in such a fabulous location, under the direction of Jeff Steward.


I rather enjoyed these little chaps ...



... the Tree of Jesse window designed by Pugin, and made by his son John Hardman....


...the reredos screen, sadly denuded of colour and statues.


The organ is covered because there are swifts nesting in and around the church. The chirped away while we sang.


This is a 15thC portrait of King Athelstan handing a model church to a monk.


This pyx originally hung over the high altar and housed the reserved sacrament. It dates from the late 15thC, and is a unique survival in England.


My favourite was this Madonna child pew end. If you look closely, the Christ child's face has been weathered by the fingers of the faithful.


Thursday, February 15

Texas February 2018 - Houston Museum of Natural History


The Houston Museum of Natural History was only a hop skip and a jump from our hotel.  The museum has an amazing number of dinosaurs, and they have had great fun with them.


They were coy...


...jaunty...

...menacing...


...just plain nasty...


...and beautiful.


This was beautiful too...fossilised lilies.

Sunday, February 11

Texas February 2018 - Museum of Fine Arts Houston


Just back from a trip to Houston and San Antonio. In Houston we stayed in the Museum District (many thanks to everyone at Hotel Zaza), and I had the chance to visit the Museum of Fine Arts.


It's a beautiful building, with some interesting bits and pieces.


I found this cross swan in the background of Pintoricchio's Madonna and Child...


Girolamo de Santacroce painted these rabbits in the background to his Resurrection of Christ.


I loved this exquisite mountain scene in Cranach the Elder's Suicide of Lucretia.


One gallery was devoted to Spanish Colonial Art, which was new to me. This Peruvian work allowed me to chalk up a score in my art gallery game of 'spot the Dominican'.


I adored this Peruvian creation....


especially the camels, elephants...


...and very flappy fish (being watched by some wading birds).


I can't get away from golf...this is Avercamp from the 17thC.


This bull in de La Hyre's Rape of Europa looks so benign, that one can quite believe why Europa was deceived.


Here are some things I'd steal. A 6thC - 7th Byzantine marble panel.


...a book cover from 12thC Limoges...


...a brass pear from 19thC Iran...



...an Iranian cut-paper composition from the 16thC - 17thC...


...and this glorious blue bowl (again from Iran, late 13thC - mid-14thC.

Designing English - Weston Library Oxford


Earlier this month I was lucky enough to visit the latest exhibition at the Weston Library - Designing English, with the lovely Revd. Rattue.


Do go if you can, as there are some beautiful manuscripts on display, here are just a few which caught my eye...this lovely herbal...


...this very long and thin one...


...a hymn book...
 

...some patrons...


...a romance...


...and an illustration showing which part of the body are controlled by which sign of the Zodiac.


This is a calculator.


Note that the snake is female...


...and this king is very bored.


I wish all books looked like this.

Sunday, December 10

Arles November 2017 - the accidental...


I find that one's best moments are often a surprise. At the end of a visit to the Fondation Vincent van Gogh (do go it's lovely), I found a door out on to a roof garden, and thought I'd been transported to Fez.


I spotted this lovely little roof terrace...


...then closer at hand,  my spot. Tea, a book, a cat, maybe a cheeky G&T or a glass of vino...bliss.


Thank you Arles, I'll be back.