Wednesday, 30 May 2012

An Unexpected William Blake painting at Arlington Court and a lot of Coleridge at Nether Stowey

Arlington Court in North Devon is a National Trust property with more than it's fair share of interest. One of the bedrooms has been converted to a Tapestry Room with 4 tapestries depicting Europe, Africa, Asia and America, in order to try and find out more about the tapestries, I looked in a guide book and discovered we must have walked past the William Blake painting, known as 'The Arlington Blake'. We went back into the house and found it behind a curtain to protect it from being damaged by light.

 There were reflections on the glass, so it's not easy to see. I think it's called 'The Cycle of Man', it is signed W Blake Inventor 1821. It is thought it was bought by Colonel John Chichester of Arlington from the artist, and was rediscovered in 1949 when Arlington was given to the National Trust. Part of the packing in the back of the painting is a copy of the Times dated January 11th 1820
 The tapestries were in a darkened room, so poor photos, but they give an idea of the their splendour.

And maybe best of all, detail from one, it was pointed out that people making the tapestries would not have seen many of the animals they were depicting.

 The gardens at Arlington Court are fabulous as is the carriage museum with the heron motif depicted in many places.
 Some lovely Candelabra Primulas
 The heron motif on the wall of the stables and below on the top of the clock tower on the stables.
 A couple of photos of a grain store standing on staddle stones.

The cream teas were also splendid with added bird interest:

On the way back to Swindon, a visit to Coleridge Cottage in Nether Stowey was well worthwhile. The cottage and garden has been sensitively restored in the last year.
 This plaque advertises Coleridge's 3 year residence here.
 Tim in the gorgeous garden bower with twig pig
 An illustration by J Noel Paton RSA for the 1863 edition of the 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'
A model of the sculpture of the ancient mariner erected recently at Watchet on loan.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Putting up the runner bean poles - it's magic.

It may be a bit early, but yesterday May 17th was the date I decided upon to erect a structure using bamboo canes, some home grown, some bought, and then plant out the runner beans.
It turned into a bit of a project, and was very satisfying, here are the photos:
In the beginning there was a weedy piece of ground.

 Then I built a structure using the canes, it looks best in the view above, from the side it's a bit uneven.

And here's the last picture with planted beans just visible.
How wonderful.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The LiterARTure Project - where poetry meets art!

Another suggestion Hilda and Marcus had for successful blogging was to invite guest bloggers; this entry is by courtesy of Jane Milner-Barry.

The fruits of collaboration between members of Artsite and of Swindon's Bluegate Poets are on show at the Literarture exhibition at Artsite this week. 
 At open evenings on 15 and 16 May, the artist-and-poet teams read their poems and explained their work. 
 Here are some photos of the Tuesday event:

  Jill Sharp's poem "pumpkin pie" was accompanied by a series of glowing abstracts by Bev Greig, which can be seen in the photo with Teresa Davey and Alex Coppock - Bunce.

 Mo Needham produced brilliant poetic counterparts to Adam Crosland's alarming paintings.

  Angels at Coleshill by Jane Milner-Barry.

   Dee Levy invites visitors to rearrange this romantic assemblage on the theme of her travels on the Silk Road.  John Richardson's poems are displayed in the trunk.

   Teresa Davey and Alex Coppock-Bunce worked on the theme of change, loss and acceptance.
  Andy Barber and Paul August Walters described a world sinking under a tide of rubbish.
The exhibition is open from 11.00 to 4.00 until Saturday 19 May.   
You will be able to see the exhibition at the Promotion Evening for Open Studios which runs from 7.30-9.30pm

BLOG STANDARD - a live look at blogging with Hilda Sheehan and Marcus Moore

Hilda and Marcus shared the stage in the Studio at the Art's centre as part of the Festival of Literature programme, they talked for half an hour each about their respective blogs.

From their comments, it became clear that blogging and it's purpose it an entirely individual activity. Hilda has 46 different blogs and uses them to demonstrate her skills as a poet, playwright and creator of alter egos, a sort of cv.

Marcus on the other hand uses his blog as a way of writing, to keep a certain number of words per day committed to the blog. He has written something every day for his blog for over 400 days.
Unusually I didn't take a photograph, it wasn't until later that I realised I could write a blog item about different sorts of blogging.

I learnt that you can embed apps. from ISSUU, show videos and it's a good idea to tick the Facebook option so everyone knows you've posted something.

The only image I have of Hilda and Marcus is from the Literature Festival brochure:

Their blogs are at

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Tim Carroll's Exhibition of Lovely Small Items and Paintings at the Beehive

Looking for an excuse to go for a drink in the Beehive on Prospect Hill? Here's the perfect reason to go, Tim has just put up a delightful exhibition there with plenty of affordable artworks, perfect for a birthday or wedding present.
Here's a selection:

 Contact details, either ring, email, or visit Tim's website for more images of recent work.

 Ceramic angels, very sweet and perfect if you have more than one, they make a lovely tinkling sound. £4 each
 'Birds in a Tree', one of four designs. Perfect for a romantic gift, or if you like birds in trees. £20
 'Green Man' face taken from Christ Church pulpit, permission to take a cast given. £20
 'Vespas in Roma', acrylic on canvas. £100
'Regent Street', stoneware ceramic. £150
The photos of the whole exhibition turned out blurry, so it would be a good diea to go and have a look.
More information on the Beehive can be found
And on Tim Carroll:

Monday, 7 May 2012

Photos from the Dawn Chorus at the start of the 19th Swindon Festival of Literaturee

The best bit of the day so far was the Dawn Chorus at 5.30am in Lawn Woods.
It was cold, but we had sunshine and no wind, if you weren't there, or have never been, try and make it for the 20th Festival of Literature next year.
It all went ahead as per brochure,
The 'someone' mentioned making the maypole ribbons weave and sway the untangled way was Tony Hillier back from his travels.
Here are the photos:

 My favourite part iwas Danny playing the pipes at the beginning.
 Second favourite Jake and Tom fire juggling, I've taken a few photos of them which give an idea of the atmosphere.

 What a wonderful start, let's hope the rest of the festival goes as well as this.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

'A Walk Round the Gallery with Denys Hodson on the 30th of April

This was an event hosted by FSMAG, Friends of the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, at the request of several people who had attended the Friends talk given by Denys in November.
Denys was responsible for many of the purchases of work in the Swindon Collection; and the idea was he would talk about some of the individual paintings in greater detail in the new exhibition 'They take Art Seriously in Swindon', opened by the Duchess of Cornwall recently.
Denys made a comment on all pieces in the exhibition, and although I took notes, I couldn't possibly reproduce what was said in more then an hour's looking at the pictures.
What this sort of event does though is to help you really look at pictures, and I'm very grateful to Denys for helping me with that process.
Anything written under the images is what Denys said.
Here's a selection:

 'The Dredgers, Bristol Docks' John Nash
I like this a lot, particularly the detail.
 'Bright Intervals' Edward Wadsworth
Superb colours, very attractive picture. His signature is on the blue map on the table, observed artist Caroline Keevil who had been invited to give a professional's viewpoint on the paintings.
 'Ebb-Tide on the Reef' Borlase Smart
This picture was taken to the Beehive Pub and discussed one evening as part of the Beehive's cultural programme years ago.
 'The Potteries' Julian Trevelyan
Julian married Mary Fedden and did social research in Bolton, he was engaged in 'Mass Observation' .
'Sketch of CBD with Auberbach Drawing' RB Kitaj
One of the last pictures Denys and Richard Morphet bought.
'Florestan' Gillian Ayres
Fabulous colours and texture. Gillian refused to be drawn on interpretations of this, even the title.
 'Nonny' Ronald Ossory Dunlop

 'Back of the Granary, Poland' Robert Bevan
He has done some  horse paintings as well, there's a wonderful one in the Ashmolean, Oxford
 'The Printer' Laura Sylvia Gosse
 'The Thames' Mary Fedden
Wonderful picture
'Spring in Eden' Ivon Hitchens
A bequest to the Swindon Collection. I was stunned when I first saw this painting and was alerted to the magnificence of the Swindon Collection when I first saw it.
 'Hyperion' Christopher Le Brun
Le Brun has just been voted the President of the Royal Academy.
Denys was getting tired by the time he got to the last few paintings and I think by this stage was worrying about catching a bus home.
 'Girl with a Fig Leaf' Lucian Freud
Wonderful etching, one of only ten.
 I don't think Denys commented on this last painting, but it's by Frank Quinton of the wonderful 'Mechanic's Institute' in Swindon. It's remarkable because it's the only painting in the collection by a living Swindon artist and it depicts the fabulous building in a glorious state; it does not look like that now.
Apologies for the dodgy photos with many reflections, but you get the idea of the pictures. Much more detail like dates, biogs of artists etc can be gained  by buying a copy of 'The Swindon Collection of Twentieth Century Art' ISBN1 871853 02 8 or 'They Take Art Seriously in Swindon' The Public Catalogue Foundation. and click on Museum and Art Gallery