Tag Archive: art


This year’s UK City of Culture is Kingston upon Hull. We had a trip there recently to explore this old city, which, a bit like our home city of Norwich, is ‘off the beaten track’. I’d been here before but only briefly, and wasn’t overly impressed with its noise and scruffiness… but that was a while ago.

Our two-day trip was a real eye opener. My abiding impressions are of a place that is unpretentious (and still a bit scruffy in places), warm and friendly, but with a certain ‘edge’ (maybe just ‘bluff yorkshire’?).

We had a fascinating guided walk around the city in the company of a local lad who showed us many wonderful places with fascinating stories, including the street named- no one knows why– ‘Land of Green Ginger’, which also has the world’s smallest window…see the picture below, to the right of the information board… yes that vertical slot; it was used by the inn’s stable lad to keep an eye out for arriving coaches so that he could be up and at ’em!

We saw how the city ‘public realm’ is being transformed with much new paving, fountains and seating. We saw some amazing art in the Maritime Museum ( a work of art itself) and the Ferrens Gallery.

We were impressed with some grand old buildings (and stayed in the Royal Hotel, itself a remnant of the grand Victorian age of rail travel).

We found (eventually) some superb pubs tucked away from the main streets and did our own mini ‘Ale Trail’ as well as exploring a wealth of museums (all free entry), walking along the River Hull and looking out over the Humber. We joined a discussion about freedom, justice and modern slavery (well this is the city of William Wilberforce, the driving force behind the abolition of the slave trade back in the middle of the 19th century).

If you get the chance, go t’ ‘ull. It’s a place on the up; in a way which grabs your attention, and then gives you a warm hug. Oh, and there were also some rather fine ornamental gardens on display…

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WP_20160515_15_01_07_ProOur second full day in Glasgow. Having taken the short train trip in from East Kilbride, we set off once more on the tourist bus and stopped off to see the Transport exhibits at the Riverside Museum..

From here we bussed and walked to the Botanical Gardens, where there were some very interesting, exotic displays in various glasshouses and plenty of very pleasant outside areas where people were soaking up the spring sunshine in their lunch breaks…

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A short walk to the Kelvingrove Museum and Park where we explored some of the superb art and artefacts on display and then went onto see Mackintosh’s School of Art- which you probably know is undergoing significant rebuilding after the fire which severely damaged some of the best known areas, such as the library….

Sauchiehall Street called …. and we took advantage of the Willow Tea Rooms  (another Mackintosh gem) for a classic afternoon tea…

The day ended with a walk through the town centre, catching the bus once more (having had a quick look around City Hall) exploring the ‘People’s Park’ alongside the river followed by a look around a Mackintosh museum and a quick beer in the famous ‘Horse Shoe’ Bar…

Back to East Kilbride for an evening meal and then home the next day.We scraped the surface of Glasgow in two days, and shall certainly return for another look at this very lively, friendly and engaging place.

 

Further information: www.peoplemakeglasgow.com

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Here’s the second  and concluding part of my picture gallery featuring the wonderful textures and artful effects of nature. The pictures were taken mainly at Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull, Scotland.

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On the Beach: Sand

On our recent trip to the Hebrides I was taken by the beautiful textures and ‘art works’ that nature can produce; in this case on the beach and featuring some very subtle effects. Here’s the first of a two part gallery of pictures I took, mainly at Calgary Bay on the Isle of Mull.

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An extract from a rather lovely painting in the Gulbenkian museum, Lisbon

An extract from a rather lovely painting in the Gulbenkian museum, Lisbon

A further day out in Lisbon on our recent trip to Portugal saw us making the most of ‘free entry’ day (Sunday), to museums and other places of interest.

To the north of the capital there is a cluster of places that are well worth a visit. We emerged from the metro at ‘Parque’ station to tumble into the splendid ‘Edward VII Park’ (named in honour of the former British monarch), with its long sloping parterre giving fabulous views of downtown Lisbon and the River Tagus beyond. This is the place- specifically the balcony by the tumbledown fountain’s where tourists come for a memorable shot of the city. And on our latest trip there were plenty of ‘selfie’ snappers in evidence, along with the long-standing row of market stalls selling all manner of cheap souvenirs. This is also the place that newly-weds come for their wedding shots, and it reminded me of when our daughter and her new husband did just that 5 years ago.

I’d discovered that nearby there were supposed to be some ‘estufas’ (hot houses), so we moved on. Sure enough, we came upon the massive shaded roof (of the cooler house) and then the expanse of glass that presumably housed the heat-loving collection.

What a find! Some parts of the hottest house were closed, but we managed to see some amazing cacti and other succulents. But the cool house, with its range of mature planting, all set within the walls of an old quarry, was truly superb. There was some floral colour, as well as some fun sculptures placed among the plants, but the real joy were the range and combinations of lush foliage beautifully laid out around pools and other water features.

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From here were rose further up the slope from the main park to another news place for us- an interesting, more contemporary park laid out in honour of the great Portuguese fado singer, Amalia Rodriguez. Curving grass terraces give way to a round, fountained pool surrounded by bog planting over which a boardwalk allows you to get up close and personal.

From here we fell once more, this time towards an old favourite, the Gulbenkian Foundation with its lovely surrounding gardens.

Stopping off at the Modern Art Centre for a quick lunch (very good value) and look at the exhibits, we then strode through the gardens. These are notable for the unified design which hinges on the movement through a series of small-scale spaces, with contrasting light and shade afforded by the many mature trees and shrubs. The other notable feature is the use of simple rectangles of (mainly) concrete to create a route which both moves you through the gardens (including subtle changes in level) and invites you to pause and sit or just people-watch. A clever design whichI found very pleasing to be within once more. And this time we also discovered the building which contains a cafe and some interpretation of the garden, including a fun interactive ‘design’ game where you can colour in different views of the gardens and then email these to yourself or anyone else, for that matter!

Of course, no visit here would be complete without a tour through the main museum, which houses the Armenian oil-tycoon’s collection of historic and artistic objects from around the world. I was especially pleased to see examples of art works by J.M.W.Turner and the French craftsman Lalique as well as some amazing illuminated books and oriental ceramics. Here are some pictures of some of my favourite things…

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All in all, a fantastic no low cost day out!

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Fun tools on display at Corpusty Mill Garden, Norfolk- or are they cunning, personally crafted designs?!

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Saw these rather interesting examples of ‘public art’ in a part of Coimbra, Portugal, recently..

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On a recent wet day in Cambridge, visiting our daughter, we went along to the Fitzwilliam Museum, really a mini ‘British Museum’ with its extensive collections of antiquities and art. There was a very interesting exhibition on titled ‘Watercolour- Elements of Nature’. This features rarely exhibited works highlighting the extraordinary versatility of watercolour, showing how it was used from the Middle Ages onwards to illuminate manuscripts, paint delicate likenesses, accurately record botanical detail and to capture fleeting moments of nature. Here are a few images I took before being told that photography wasn’t allowed…

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Money in art

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I’m in Portugal at present, so you can expect some unusual posts in the next week or so. Yesterday we stumbled across an Alladin’s cave in nearby Cacilhas.

A wonderful gent called Eduardo Dinis Henriques invited us into his home to view his collection of art created using coins: mostly redundant from around the Euro zone, but featuring some currently circulating British coins.

He’s been creating these for many years and his house has been overtaken by these pictures, which are a mix of natural subjects and historical scenes or references from Portugal’s past.

He proudly told us about the collection, one of which holds the Guinness Record for the largest picture created from coins: he used over 37,000!

Further information: www.artcoins.wordPress.com
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WP_20141125_16_37_04_ProLa Piscine otherwise known as the  Musée d’Art et d’Industrie André Diligent or Le musée d’Art et d’Industrie de la ville de Roubaix (let’s stick with La Piscine), is a wonderful reinvention of an Art Deco Swimming Pool in Roubaix, northern France as an art gallery and museum. I had the great pleasure of visiting it recently whilst on a long weekend in the area.

The Museum itself with its clever conversion retaining hints of the building’s previous use was a  delight- I loved the central pool with fountain head surrounded by a new, beautifully finished dark wooden floor, together with the regular playing of a soundtrack from a swimming pool! It also holds a wonderfully rich mixture of items on display- sculpture, paintings, textiles, photographs, glass and ceramics etc.- many displayed in what were once the changing cubicles of the swimming pool!

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The swimming pool was constructed between 1927 and 1932 but closed in 1985, and was then remodelled as a museum, opening in 2000. A modern entrance building, special exhibition space and garden were constructed within the roof-less shell of an adjoining textile factory.

The museum’s permanent collection has its origins in 1835, when a collection of fabric samples from the many local textile factories was started. The collection was seen as a way of cultivating the tastes of the town’s workers, foremen and manufacturers. To this end it combined elements of literature, fine-arts, science and industrial products. The museum previously housing the collection closed with the onset of War in 1939, and never reopened. From 1990 the collections were displayed in Roubaix’s town hall, in preparation for the opening of La Piscine in 2000.

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Further Information:  Museum Website

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