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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.