Tag Archives: Ceramics

Modigliani at Tate Modern, London

At Tate Modern until April 2nd 2018

Modigliani (1884-1920)  another blockbuster exhibition at Tate Modern with difficult-to-read text. In my view, if a painter chooses to give his/her painting a title, the viewer should be able to find it easily. All round this otherwise superb exhibition there were people peering at the almost unreadable text, hardly different in colour from the background. Why can’t the Tate take a leaf from the Courtauld and other galleries that actually care about their visitors?

Great selection of prints to buy

What a great time to live in Paris at the turn of the 20th century!! Not only Italian born Modigliani but his friends Soutine, Picasso and Brancusi amongst others. Diego Rivera even stayed with him for a time.

And if you’re not into Art – have a swing instead!!

‘ONE, TWO, THREE, SWING!’. SUPERFLEX Hyundai commission in the Turbine Hall and in the grounds outside. Have a swing if you’ve had enough of looking at ART.


Dali and Duchamp at the Royal Academy, London. Delirium and Delusions

An Art Lover’s Feast

Dali/Duchamp exhibition at the Royal Academy was an eye-opener. I had no idea Salvador Dali (1904-1989) and Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) were such great friends. I knew little about Duchamp’s work other than that he pioneered the display of ready made objects as works of art including his infamous Fountain – a urinal inscribed R. MUTT 1917  and had seen and admired The bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (The large glass). it was interesting to see that early on he was a conventional representational artist.  Having teenage children at the height of the Surrealist craze I got to know Dali’s work and visited a fascinating exhibition of his work in Richmond, Virginia which included a jewelled beating heart.

The Persistence of Memory 1931

The strange thing for me about seeing the exhibition is that I saw the bent watches in the famous Dali painting The Persistence of Memory 1931 (not shown in this exhibition) as well as some artefacts by Jeff Coons,  in one of my delusions while in Critical Care following my heart attack last year.

Balloon Monkey (Blue) 2006-2013

Up to 80% of patients in Intensive Care suffer periods of delirium and I had several. My very caring consultant was concerned that the memory of some of my delusions might be upsetting but they gave me just the material I needed for the last chapter of my memoir Woman in a White Coat.

Lots of lobster souvenirs including chocolate ones

The exhibition included some interesting short videos as well as lots of works I hadn’t seen before.


I always enjoy wandering around the Royal Academy shop though I was easily able to resist the chocolate lobsters that referenced Dali’s lobster telephone.

Wouldn’t fancy holding THAT receiver!!

A Great Weekend in Oslo, Norway, and a Visit to The Astrup Fearnley Museum

The Asstrup Fearnley Modern Art Museum

Loved our trip to the Astrup Fearnley  Modern Art Museum on the bay. Couldn’t understand why the collector bothered with so many of Damien Hirst’s half animals in formalin. When there was a scandal about keeping children’s brains I turned out my mounted specimens of cancers but I thought of offering the museum the head of my fractured right femur. I still have it in a jar in my bathroom cabinet – much more interesting and educational that half a cow.

Oslo harbour

Lovely view of the harbour complete with two-masted sailing vessel. Just not enough time to go across to the Viking museum.

Cindy Sherman as demure lady



I very much liked their collection of Cindy Sherman’s photographs. Amazing what she can turn herself into.



Untitiled #152



Hard to realise that this painting Untitled #152 of what apprears to be a bald man is also her.

Michael Jackson and Bubbles 1988

We both liked Jeff Koons’  porcelain Michael Jackson and Bubbles, his chimpanzee,  in white and gold. Seeing Koons’ name reminded me of the hallucinations i had in the High Dependency Unit (HDU; dependant on care not on drugs) following my heart attack last August after I came off the ventilator.

Memoir extract from Chapter 28 of Woman in a White Coat

Continue reading A Great Weekend in Oslo, Norway, and a Visit to The Astrup Fearnley Museum

MADE Bloomsbury Part 1

Another great craft show

We always enjoy Tutton and Young’s annual MADE craft fairs.

The show held in the Mary Ward House in Bloomsbury is the most convenient for us though we traipsed out to Canada Water for their excellent show in March. Perhaps one year we’ll go to Brighton for their show there and we look forward to their fair in Marylebone this October.

Set of generous sized mugs by Iris de la Torre


Now that Josh and I are 87 and 85 respectively, over the years we’ve accumulated so many ‘things’ that it’s hard to find something to buy. Our four children are near to their fifties too so they’re in a similar position.

Delicious Raspberry and Hazelnut cake

Our son Simon and his wife were coming for  tea before visiting the Hockney Exhibition at Tate Britain. Amy likes a generous cup ,so we were delighted to find these delightful mugs by Mexican-born Iris de la Torre.

I got up at dawn and made this delicious Raspberry and Hazelnut cake with a recipe from a John Lewis publication. This cake is  a family favourite. In there’s any left over it freezes well!!


Continue reading MADE Bloomsbury Part 1


Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

This year the MADE Design and Craft Fair was held in the Mary Ward House Grade 1 listed building in Tavistock Place. Founded by the Victorian novelist Mary Augustus Ward and financed by the wealthy philanthropist Passmore Edwards, it was built in 1898 as a settlement for the wealthy to improve the education of the urban poor. It is now a conference centre.

There was a wealth of different crafts on display – woodwork, wirework, pottery,  jewellery, clothing and more. Unfortunately by the time you get to your 80s you have so many ‘things’ there is little incentive to buy and we just admired the beauty and craftsmanship of much of the work.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

We loved the beauty and varied wood grains of the Shaker boxes by Murray Markovitch and have fond memories of the Shaker shop in Marylebone High Street we used to visit when we lived just round the corner – unfortunately long since gone, like so many of the craft shops in the area.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

An eye-catching display of wired figures was just inside the door with this leaping winged figure ‘Wishful thinking’ by Linda Lewin, whose website also shows off her silver jewellery.


Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Amazing striped plates, bowls and jars by the ceramic artist Jin Eui Kim which he says are inspired by visual phenomena. We wished our cupboards weren’t already overfull of the ‘things’ we have collected in 60 years of marriage,

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

It was too early for us to have coffee and sandwiches or cake, but the food display in the café looked so elegant and appetising we were sorely tempted.


The Great Court opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000
The Great Court opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Not free, but very good value at £12, the British Museum runs 90 minute Highlight Tours of some of the most well-known of its millions of artefacts from all over the world including the Rosetta Stone, the Lewis Chessmen, the enormous Easter Island basalt statue known as Hoa Hakanai’a, the fabulous human-headed winged bulls from Assyria and much more.

Kind Ramesses II about 1279-1213 BC
Kind Ramesses II about 1279-1213 BC

For me, the British Museum has above all been about the wonderful sculptures and wall paintings from ancient Egypt – though as a child the mummies in their sarcophagi used to terrify me. The Pharaohs may have been cruel and incestuous and probably quite ugly to boot,  but their statues and masks  speak of a transcendent serenity.

Free tours at London’s Museums – the V&A

Decoration at the entrance for Diwali and Christmas
Decoration at the entrance for Diwali and Christmas

Trying to decide on which further education classes to enrol on for the New Year I saw that there were several courses of gallery visits at major London Museums and Galleries.  Now funding has been cut for Further Education these courses are now expensive so I decided to investigate the free tours, starting with the V&A. the purchase of the land for which was funded by the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Victoria and Albert at the Great Exhibition of 1853
Victoria and Albert at the Great Exhibition of 1853

Once again the tour guide took as to rooms I had either not visited or just passed though. I had no idea there was such a vast collection of ceramics or that the galleries showed their development over the ages with so many excellent examples.

Primrose Hill Designer Sale 2015

My friend Fliff Carr's Ceramics
My friend Fliff Carr’s Ceramics

Another craft fair I heard about through my friend Fliff Carr, a ceramicist. What I particularly liked about this fair, held in St Mary-the Virgin church, was the very wide variety of objects on show, not all from the UK.

Colourful cushions and pots
Colourful cushions and pots
Fliff 2
All sorts of gloves and scarves

Chelsea Old Town Hall – handmade in Britain 15

Chelsea Town Hall in the rain
Chelsea Town Hall in the rain

Chelsea Town Hall is another great venue for craft fairs.
Unfortunately when we went to handmade In Britain 15, it was pouring and we got soaked just in the short walk from the bus stop.

My lovely silk scarf
My lovely silk scarf


There were lots of things I liked but by the time you’ve been married nigh on 60 years you have accumulated too many ‘things’ but I couldn’t resist this lovely silk scarf by the young Scottish designer, Taisir Gibreel – just what I needed to go with my new Roxy ski jacket