‘Fashioned from Nature’ is another large and fascinating exhibition at the V&A Museum in the Fashion Section.
On the ground floor there are numerous examples of the many creatures that we have made almost, if not entirely, extinct in order to obtain their skin, feathers, skeletons or whalebones for hats, dresses, muffs, shoes and cloaks.
On the upper floor examples of clothes made from man-made materials often using toxic materials resulting in the loss of human life.
Thank you for all those who have been coming to my talks about my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ at libraries in and around Westminster and those who have written such kind reviews on Amazon.
My unique memoir is the story of a woman pathologist brought up in a cold-water tenement in London’s East End and who has also been a Harley Street dentist, an entrepreneur (co-owner of Conran-group designed educational toyshops), the director of a Cancer Research laboratory at a major London teaching hospital, as well as a wife and mother of four children.
An incredible exhibition of works carried out by Picasso in only one year – 1932. Great to exhibit so many paintings I’ve never seen before and, for once, with labels large enough to read with ease.
Hard to believe one man could produce this much work in one year though much of the colour is in flat sheets. A film of Picasso painting on glass showed just how quickly he could draw. However, I would defy him to produce this number of paintings in the styled of Las Meninas by Velasquez that he admired and of which he painted simplified derivative images.
A few sculptures and examples of his ceramics as well as images of his ‘castle’ in France.
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
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!!
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.
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.
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 – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!!
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?
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.
‘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.
Monochromewas one of those exhibitions at the National Gallery that I booked for more out of a sense of duty. How wrong I was!! it was fantastic. It was amazing that drawings and paintings looked so much more 3D in black and white than in colour.
Ingres’s (1780-1867) La Grande Odalisque was so much more sensual and fleshy in monochrome than in colour. You have to go to the exhibition and see Ingres’s own black and white version to see just what I mean.
The paintings and drawings of stone sculptures were so life-like you could imagine that seen by candlelight without bright daylight or electricity viewers would believe they were real. Some incredible trompe l’oeil. A must see.
Once photography became commonplace, some artists regarded it as an enemy. Others like the author of this delightful portrait of a young girl meant his work to be like a photograph. Artists were told to Imitate,Rival or Challenge.
My only caveat. The last room deigned by Olaf Eliasson was lit entirely in very bright yellow – ostensibly to make it easier to see details. But I ended up with flickering lights behind my left eye for ages. I think there should have been a warning and the possibility of missing that room – though I couldn’t have known it would affect me so adversely.
I always enjoy exhibitions at the Courtauld Gallery – and tea or coffee in the café in the basement afterwards.
Chaïm Soutine’s portraits of Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys is a delightful study of men and a couple of women who serve us in restaurants and hotels. They show varying degrees of boredom, insolence and occasional pleasure as they stare out at us from his brightly coloured paintings.
Though not as well known as some of his friends and colleagues, the Russian – French Expressionist painter, Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943) was one of the leading painters in Paris in the 1920s.
Soutine was born Chaïm Sutin, the tenth child of eleven children of Jewish parentage in Lithuania in 1893. He studied art at the Vilna Academy of Fine Arts, moving to Paris in 1913 where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts. A close friend of Modigliani, he lived in poverty for many years until he caught the attention of major collectors such as the American Albert Barnes.
I’m delighted with the response to my memoir Woman in a White Coat and the very complimentary reviews on Amazon. Thank you all.