Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Halloween 2023

Remembering London this All Hallows Eve

Photos 1-2 above: Louise Bourgeois, Spider V, 1999, bronze and steel; 

Photos 3-4 below: Louise Bourgeois, Spider Home, 2002, bronze spiders and fly, welded bronze wire web, wood base. 

Installation views from The Mother and the Weaver, Art from the Ursula Hauser Collection at the Foundling Museum, London, current to 18 February 2024

Photos 5-7 below: Spooktacular views of a house in Hampstead, a few doors down from where I stayed during my recent trip.

Happy Halloween, boys and ghouls. 🎃🕷️🕸️

Monday, October 23, 2023

The Last of England

Snapped last Thursday in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge: Ford Maddox Brown’s The Last of England. 

And so it is for me today. Goodbye, London, until next time. 

Pictured top: Ford Maddox Brown, The Last of England, 1860, oil on canvas. A reworking of Brown’s 1855 painting in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the work commemorates the departure for Australia of the sculptor Thomas Woolner and his family in July 1852. 

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Yesterday I spent a few hours in the Wunderkammer that is Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields, another of my all-time favourite museums. 

Sir John Soane (1753-1837) was a Regency period architect working in the Neo-Classical style. The museum, which holds his substantial collection of antiquities, paintings, sculptures and drawings, is one of many significant buildings he designed. Dulwich Picture Gallery, the first purpose-built public picture gallery in Britain, is another. 

Friday, October 20, 2023

Leighton House

Pictured above and below: the glorious Narcissus Hall and adjoining Staircase Hall (last 2 photos) of Leighton House in Holland Park, London. I’ve visited the former home and studio of artist Frederic Leighton (1830-96) many times over the years, in fact in the mid-1970s, I lived on the other side of beautiful Holland Park, on Holland Park Avenue. The area will always occupy a special place in my heart. 

Leighton House was designed by George Aitchison. Nearby Sambourne House, formerly the home the home of Punch magazine illustrator Edward Linley, is also highly recommended.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

William Larkin at Kenwood House

Whenever I come to London, I never fail to make a pilgrimage to the paintings by William Larkin (early 1580s-1619), part of the Suffolk Collection on the first floor of Kenwood House in Hampstead. On my first visit to Kenwood, soon after my arrival here, the upper floor was closed due to insufficient volunteer guides to man the space. (This has often been the case on my past visits, or, as with yesterday, the works were only on view for a few hours). Kenwood houses the largest collection of this extraordinary, shamefully underrated painter’s work. 

An English court painter from the Jacobean period that immediately proceeded the Elizabethan era, Larkin was long referred to as the ‘Curtain Master’. Beyond this, comparatively little is known of his life. In my opinion, a monograph and a retrospective of his work are way overdue. 

Pictured above:

1: Lady Isabel Rich, née Cope, c. 1614-18;

2: Lady Diana Cecil, c. 1614-18

3: Probably Elizabeth Cary, née Stanfield, c. 1614-18;

4: Catherine Knevet, c.1615;

5: Anne Cecil, Countess of Stamford c.1615;

6: Elizabeth Drury, Countess of Exeter, c.1615;

7: L-R Richard Sackville, c.1613 and Edward Sackville c.1613; 

8-10: Installation views.

All works are oil on canvas.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Isaac Oliver: Portrait Miniatures at the National Portrait Gallery, London

Featuring a handful of portrait miniatures by Isaac Oliver (1565-1617) at the National Portrait Gallery - a literal description, as they are small enough to fit in the palm of the hand. 

All works are watercolour on vellum.

Pictured above:
1: Anne of Denmark, 1574-1619
About 1612;

2: Lady Harrington, Countess of Bedford, 1581-1627
About 1610-15;

3: Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, 1566-1643
About 1610-15;

4: Ludovick Stuart, 2nd Duke of Lennox and Duke of Richmond, 1574-1624
About 1605;

5: Henry, Prince of Wales, 1594-1612
About 1616.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Courtauld Gallery

After queuing at Australia House on the first day of voting for The Voice referendum, (see previous post), I headed for one of my favourite galleries, the Courtauld, which is conveniently nearby. These are just some of the many gems from its permanent collection.

1 - 2: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 

Jane Avril in the Entrance to the Moulin Rouge, c. 1892;

In a Private Dining Room (At the Rat Mort),  c. 1899;

3: Edouard Manet

A Bar at the Follies Bergere, 1882;

4-5: Paul Cezanne 

Still Life with Plaster Cupid, c. 1894;

Portrait of Mette Gauguin, 1877;

6: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

La Loge (The Theatre Box), 1874;

7-8: Edgar Degas

‘Two Dancers on a Stage, 1874;

Woman at a Window, 1871;

9-10: Paul Gauguin

Te Reroia (The Dream), 1897;

Nevermore, 1897;