All posts by Abby Waterman

Rhythm and Reaction. The Age of Jazz in Britain at 2 Temple Place London, WC2R 3BD

At 2 Temple Place

I’m not really into jazz, Classical music is more my style, but I love going to 2 Temple Place, a fine house in a crescent off the Victoria Embankment. And the café is good too!!

The exhibition has been curated by Catherine Tackley, Professor and Head of Music at the University of Liverpool. It sets out to tell the story of the jazz age in new ways, focussing on British depictions of jazz. It helps us to understand what the music meant to artists, to assess the image of jazz in the public sphere and to see how jazz was encountered in everyday, domestic environments.

Rather to our surprise, we both loved the exhibition which was more about the bands and soloists and about the 1920s. And there wasn’t excessively loud jazz playing in the several exhibition rooms. There were displays and information about the 1920s ubiquitous banjos and a display of drums with contemporary film clips running behind them. Amazing to see musicians playing jazz while performing aerial stunts

What about Health and Safety??
Several different combos were on show

 

 

 

 

 

As it’s half-term week this week, there was an event for children event upstairs. A  large throw spread on the floor and delightful toddlers dancing on it to jazz music. Made me feel quite broody!!

Thank you all for coming to my talk at Victoria library on my memoir Woman in a White Coat.

 

1918 – Votes for Women and All That

Hurrah for Women!!

On February 6th 1918 – one hundred years ago tomorrow – women in the UK were given the vote if they were over 30 and moderately wealthy. They had to be householders, or the wives of householders, or occupiers of property with an annual rent of at least £5 (just under £200 in today’s money but at a time when rents were much, much lower) or graduates of British universities. It wasn’t for another 10 years that the franchise was extended in 1928 to women over 21 – giving them the same rights as men.

My parents’ wedding October 6th 1918

More important for my own future was the fact that my parents got married in 1918 on October 6th  just over a month before the Great War of 1914-18 ended.

As you can see from this sepia photograph, like me, my mother was five foot nothing next to my father’s six foot. If you look carefully, you can see the bump in the carpet where the photographer placed a small stool to make the disparity in their height a little less obvious.

Extract from my memoir Woman in a White Coat

My father  was the sixth, and last but one, son of a wealthy Hebrew book printer. Samuel Waterman, my paternal grandfather, was a Freemason and an important member of his synagogue. He frequently travelled abroad, ostensibly on business, though in fact, it was said it was to visit his mistress in Paris.

Continue reading 1918 – Votes for Women and All That

Dan Colen’s ‘Sweet Liberty’ at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, London

Dan Colen at the Newport Street Gallery

Another fun exhibition – Dan Colen’s ‘Sweet Liberty’ –  at Damien Hirst’s spacious Newport Street Gallery has now  been extended until January 28th.

Note: There seem to be road works everywhere in Westminster so if you’re driving be persistent – there is a way through!!

Colen examines notions of identity and individuality, set against a portrait of contemporary America.

Haiku (2015-17)

His works are said to be read as self-portraits. Colen (born 1979 in New Jersey) must have been feeling quite down when he made this big sad Scooby Doo (Haiku 2015-17).

There are a variety of fascinating shapes punched through the walls (Livin and Dyin) of Wile E. Coyote, Kool-Aid Man, Roger Rabbit and of Colen naked. The walls are around 1 foot thick. I wonder how they were originally knocked through and whether they will be made good completely or become a permanent display.

Untitled (Me and You) 2006-7

This mysterious painting Untitled (Me and You 2006-7)  is one of my favourite works from this exhibition. It is one of a series of Colen’s paintings based stills from Disney’s Pinocchio showing a candle on the workbench of Pinocchio’s creator – Geppetto.

 

Charles II: Art and Power, Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Charles II with his symbols of power

Charles II: Art and Power – another fascinating exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, more interesting for it’s historical significance than the paintings. After his execution in 1649 most of Charles I’s art collection and other valuables were given away or sold by Oliver Cromwell and his party and few of value were returned.

The Collar Charles II (1630-1685) wears in this painting by John Michael Wright (1617-1694) shows that he is a member of the order of the garter; the Orb represents Christ’s Authority over the world and symbolises that he has been chosen by God to rule; the Parliamentary Robes which are made of crimson velvet with an ermine fur cape and gold lace decorations, represent Charles II’s role as head of state.

Charles II was determined to make his reign as different from that of the Puritans as possible commissioning a variety of valuable artefacts and numerous prints and paintings of himself.

Ornate gold Plate

This rather vulgar set of gold plate is typical of his commissions.

He also commissioned paintings and prints of his numerous mistresses including this delightful print of Nell Gwynn as Venus.

A print of Nell Gwyn as Venus

The print was adapted from a painting by Correggio which had been in the collection of Charles I. There are numerous paintings of his many other mistresses – I lost count of how many illegitimate children he fathered – as well as of his wife, the unpopular catholic Catherine of Braganza

In spite of his decree that all off Charles I’s paintings be returned, in fact very few were given back to the throne, mainly from the English.

Starting January 27th 2018 a blockbuster exhibition of Charles I’s paintings collected from the other beneficiaries of Cromwell’s distribution opens at the Royal Academy, London – ‘Charles I: King and Collector.

Read about my attempt at becoming a fine artist in my memoir Woman in a White Coat

Special Treats for the Family – Plum TrayBake

Daniels’s favourite

When my daughter, Louise, and her family come to England for the New Year, Easter and in August, I cook their favourite foods.

Daniel, as a strapping nearly 18-year old, loves desserts in general and Plum Traybake in particular. I can’t remember where the original recipe comes from but it’s one of those that work every time.

As well as Louise’s family, our elder son, Simon, and Bernard and his girlfriend, Jo, came to dinner. It was Josh’s turn to cook but I made the dessert while he cooked a vegetarian cottage pie – Bernard is a vegetarian.

And saw online that my memoir Woman in a White Coat is still selling well on Amazon. Thank you all.

Recipe for Plum Traybake Continue reading Special Treats for the Family – Plum TrayBake

Happy New Year – 2018

Fireworks on the London Eye New Year 2018

Happy New Year – and many more to come for all of you wonderful people who have been following my blog and reading my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat.’

Always great having Louise and her family over from the Basque Country for the New Year and Simon and Bernard and his girlfriend coming to dinner tomorrow. Has to be vegetarian for Bernard and Josh is cooking vegetable cottage pie. I’m going to make the desert – Plum Traybake.

Louise made a great flyer to take to independent bookshops. A few have agreed to stock my book.

 

The Jewish Museum in Albert Street Camden

The Jewish Museum 129-131 Albert Street London NW1

Last Sunday we went to see the exhibition of designs by Jewish artists who had fled the Nazi occupation of Europe. It was mainly graphic designs but also the Raleigh bicycle and the toy helter-skelter that gave children so many happy hours.

It was still Chanukah so 7 of the lights were lit

This magnificent 300-year old brass Menorah was lent by the United Synagogue. There were small menorahs to buy in the shop and a Roman coin on display that had a menorah on it.

Designs by Jewish Immigrants

I always feel proud to be Jewish and British when I visit the Jewish Museum. This time the temporary exhibition was mainly of graphics by Jewish refugees from war-torn Europe ravaged by the Nazis.

The permanent exhibition chronicles the repeated resistance to immigrants in the past – not only Jews but the irish and Huguenots. When will people accept that the influx of people with different skills and cultures enrich our society?

Hoping that as a retired Jewish woman pathologist the shop will stock my memoir Woman in a White Coat

Two for Tea

Yummy – especially with a miniature of brandy poured over the bottom

Our elder son, Simon,  and his wife came to tea on their way to a party and I’m always glad of an excuse to bake a cake.

This fruit cake is one of my favourites. I always toss the fruit in a little of the flour so it doesn’t all sink to the bottom but is evenly distributed through the cake.

Design adapted from a panel by William de Morgan (1839-1917)

We’d been having a bit of a smashing time lately – sorting out the mugs chipped in the dishwasher and we’re always looking out for new designs. I found this one in the V&A gift shop when I last visited . The design is adapted from one of William de Morgan’s.

We have a full Thomas white china tea service but we’ve stopped getting it out even for our poshest visitors!!

Lots of lovely reviews and emails from readers of my memoir Woman in a White Coat. Please do comment or email me.

Christmas and giving ‘Woman in the White Coat’ and Visiting ‘The Singing Tree’ at the V&A.

The Singing Tree by ES Devlin

This year the V&A Christmas tree, the Singing Tree by Es Devlin, is made up of sound and light.

 

Composed of birch ply, steel cable and projected light, you can hear the tree ‘singing’ as you move round it.

 

The individual little plaques bear printed words from visitors placed in the collection box or online.

Presentaion at Pimlico Library

At the talk I gave at Pimlico library last Wednesday I was delighted to have people saying they were buying copies of my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ to give as Christmas presents.

It’s also available on Kobo, Barnes and Noble, iBooks et as well as on Kindle.

And lovely seeing some of my dearest friends there.