Friday, 31 January 2014

A Day Out in Oxford - Blackwells and the Ashmolean

The idea of a trip to Oxford was to look at the art books in Blackwells' half price sale; the first one I saw was the new Eric Ravilious book which has recently topped the sales charts in the Guardian,  they had listed it as available in hardback for £35 and paperback for £16.95; having only been published in October 2013, it isn't available in paperback, and with the Blackwells  offer of a £5 reduction, I wish I'd bought it, it looks fabulous.
I bought a book on the pre-Raphaelites in the end and coincidentally the Aidan Weller gallery up the road had an exhibition of pre-Raphaelite lithographs and some original drawings in wonderful frames:

From there along to the Ashmolean where approaching from the right hand side, I got an interesting view of the front elevation:

Once inside, the new exhibition is Kevin Coates very clever Bestiary of Jewels:
From there I had a look at the permanent displays, below is one of a pair of marble candelabras given to the Ashmolean in 1776 by MP Sir Roger Newdigate who had bought them in Italy:

From there I had a look at the Egyptian stonework which is wonderful:

 Above the false door stela of Sheri depicting husband and wife eating at a table laden with food. About 2700BC
 Above west wall of the Shrine of King Taharqa, detail of part of it below:
Wonderful vases depicting stories are everywhere:
And then onto the paintings, this time a Danish still life by Adriaen Coorte 1683-1707, caught my eye:
And last but not least the pre-Raphaelite rooms, John William Inchbold's 'A Study in March'
 I'm going to go back before long and buy the Eric Ravilious book.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A Day Out with a non Muddy Country Walk, Lunch and some Afternoon Interest.

OK where would you go with these criteria to satisfy in January?
There are lots of wonderful places to walk around Swindon, but away from traffic and not muddy, harder to find. Then I remembered Cirencester Deer Park, owned by Lord Bathurst, but open to the public, has a tarmac driveway for much of it's first part, along with interesting features like follies and stone gate posts and an ever lengthening horizon beckoning the walked further and further. The path ends at the fabulous Daneway pub at the other end of the canal tunnel to Sapperton, we didn't walk that far this time, just circled round Ivy House beside the oldest polo ground in the country:
 This is the wonderful old tree beside the stables, and below the stables with a useful mounting block:
 Below a close up of the central part of the stables
 And round the back at the entrance to Ivy House, there were some delightful stone planters:
 Below a general view of the park:
 On leaving the park, are these fine barracks built around 1845:
 Further along the road, I was attracted by many of the houses, this one in particular was very attractive:
 Cirencester is thronging with all sorts of places to have lunch, so my guests were still remaining happy with their day out. For me, the day was made by finding the most fabulous wool shop which sells 100% pure wool of all colours and thicknesses. What was really impressive though was Alpaca from Minety see below:
 And Shetland Wool from Lambourn sheep!

More about the wool shop, it's called Three Sheep Wools owned by Deb Richardson, at 5 The Wool Market, Cirencester GL 7 2PR

Sunday, 19 January 2014

From Bath Station to Larkhall via Widcombe and the Canal

Meeting after 2pm at this time of year entails a bit of rushing to take photographs before it goes dark, especially if lunch is involved as well. Rather than walk straight to Larkhall to see a friend's new house, we had lunch at the garden centre in Widcombe and walked along the canal in the last of the days sunshine. I don't remember seeing so many houseboats along the stretch of the canal near Widcombe before, this time there were many burning wood making a very atmospheric scene I have tried to capture below:

 We then came across half a dozen people taking close ups of anything they could find to photograph:
And suddenly the houseboats had disappeared and the canal became majestic with beautiful vistas:
 As the sun was setting behind bath, there were some lovely views:

 And then Solsbury Hill appeared and more houseboats reappeared as we almost reached Larkhall:
 It's difficult to know when to stop adding photos.
 By the time we reached Larkhall, the light was fading so fast, it is hard to see much of this gate below next door to Ironart, a great place which looks well worth a visit. Further along the road was an interesting looking bookshop.
 By this time it was too late to photograph the toilets recently saved from closure,  they can be seen though by clicking on this link

It was great to reach the comfort of the new house, and see a familiar painting, one of Tim Carroll's.

Monday, 13 January 2014

A Fabulous Mosaic of a Dog in a Front Garden

When delivering newsletters I came across this fabulous mosaic of a Labradoodle running.
I have taken a few photos to give the idea of the movement in the mosaic. Isn't this a wonderful way of brightening up the side of a garage?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Bob Dylan Collection at the Castle Galleries

Drawn into the Castle Gallery in the prime area of Cheltenham's retail experience, Bob Dylan's prints from the Drawn Blank series 2013 were impressive:

 Above 'Sunflowers', below 'Bicycle'
 Below 'House on Union Street'

Above 'Train Tracks'
More information on these prints and how to purchase them:

Ken White's Exhibition - Promised Land

Ken has an exhibition at Panter and Hall entitled Promised Land until the 20th of January, here are  some wonderful  photos of the exhibition courtesy of Ken:

For more information on the paintings and the exhibition, click on  Panter and Hall 

Rachel Pryor's Exhibition at the Beehive

If you missed the opening night last Monday, don't worry go and have a look at the exhibition anytime between now and the first Sunday of February.
This is what you'll see, without any close ups because it would be good if you went to have a look for yourself:
 Above and below 2 views of the same wall.
And the smaller wall:

Looks great doesn't it? More on Rachel at
More on what events being held at the Beehive

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Sunset on 4.1.14 at Wichelstowe

After several days of rain, and floods on the way to Avebury, and even worse over much of the country, it was interesting to walk round Wichelstowe at sunset. It was amazing we had any sun at all, after many days totally devoid of sun.
The lakes and canal look lovely, the organisation of the excess water recently created has been efficiently dealt with by many sluice gates and pumps which appear to be working admirably to create several different levels of water in quite a small area.
 Above a submerged path, but only slightly, and below some fast moving water around sluice gates

 Above a view across to the houses; the water has been kept away from them.
 Above a quite high canal, and below some geese looking for food.
 Below a series of photos towards the sunset behind the motorway bank

Maybe too many photos of the sunset, but I really like them.