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Archive for February, 2010

If your name’s Isabella and you’re going to Boston…

February 26th, 2010 3 comments

I love the weird and the bizarre and tonight I stumbled across something bizarre and lovely. I was reading the comments on an article in the New York Times and someone mentioned The Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum of Boston, Massachusetts. I’d never heard of either the woman or her museum so I looked it up.

Isabella sounds like someone who lived life at full throttle. She loved beautiful things and wanted to leave her collection to be enjoyed by everyone so built a replica 15th century Venetian palace and filled it with her treasures. When she died an old woman she left the museum in trust and one of the stipulations was that entrance to the museum was to be free forever for people named Isabella. It’s free for all people under 18 and then it costs $12.00 for the average adult…So…if you’re an Isabella…who loves art…and you’re going to be in Boston, Massachusetts (USA) any time soon…take advantage of your good fortune to have a lovely name and visit Isabella’s museum. It looks amazing! I now have one more reason to visit Boston (I have family connections with the area). To give you a sample, below is a beautiful painting she collected called The Lady in Yellow. Read more…

Categories: Museums Tags:

Proud owners of a blackhole…

February 17th, 2010 6 comments

Yesterday we had a builder come to replace several radiators. It was a dirty job and my filthy living room carpet was visibly filthier after the man finished. Our carpets haven’t had a proper sweep since I broke the last wheel off our vacuum (you can plug it in and it sucks, but without its little wheels it was like wrestling a supernatural entity in the carpet). So the carpet has suffered nothing more abrasive than a tiny cheap thing my husband bought to use on the car which often picks up rubbish in one place and deposts it in another as if I was trying to force feed it my mother’s chilli (which is like chewing stewed wood). The Goblin phoned to see how the workman was getting on and I mentioned it would make me feel better if I could vacuum up all the dirt. Read more…

Categories: General Tags:

Guest Blogger, Linore Rose Burkard: Princess Charlotte of Wales

February 12th, 2010 1 comment

Princess Charlotte:

Romantic Royal, Doomed Daughter

(Or, the Princess Who Should Have Been Queen)

by Linore Rose Burkard

Princess Charlotte of Wales

Princess Charlotte of Wales

Imagine if Queen Victoria never came to the throne because her cousin, Princess Charlotte Augusta (1796-1817), beat her to it. Of course this couldn’t have happened: Despite being as wildly popular to the England of her time as Princess Diana was to ours, Princess Charlotte never became the Queen she might have been, and by birth, should have been, for the simple reason that she died before getting the chance. Read on to catch a glimpse of Her Royal Highness, Princess Charlotte of Wales -Daughter of the Regent (later George IV). She was passionate, a sometime pawn of her warring parents, and a great favorite among the English during the Regency until her tragic death in 1817. She was a romantic ideal to her subjects, (even Jane Austen loved her) but a doomed daughter. A future monarch who would never reach the throne. Read more…

Sunset over the meadows…

February 9th, 2010 4 comments

Last Friday in the late afternoon I walked into town and took my camera hoping to find some pictures. Half way there the light started to fade. I was disapointed, but I kept going with the hope of catching a rare photo with evening light on a building or something. On an impulse I turned down and headed toward the traditional meadow that sits between two small shallow streams before the water joins and flows as one river underneath the bridge into Stamford. As I stepped clear of the tiny narrow street of ancient houses too dark to photograph, I looked out across the expanse of green and saw a large orange sun setting over the trees. Read more…

Categories: I've been taking photographs Tags:

Let the memory live again…

February 5th, 2010 3 comments

It’s the 5th of February…my favorite day of the year! The number five brings back a special memory. I’m five years old, sitting on the floor in the living room of our rented trailer looking through an art book for children. I loved that book, but I had one favorite picture. I was entranced by this fractured image around a large number 5. I must have pestered my mother to read the description more than once because I knew it was about a fire engine. It’s been more than three decades since I saw that picture, but I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve always thought it was called ‘Fire engine no 5’, but I was wrong. This morning I looked it up on line. It’s called ‘The Figure 5 in Gold’. The artist was Charles Demuth who lived from 1883-1935. Looking at it after all these years I’m still entranced. It’s like someone fractured a glass into a story and the number 5 emerges as the hero. Demuth painted the picture after reading a poem written by his friend William Carlos Williams about a fire enguine he saw passing in the rain through the city. Share my memory…have a look… Read more…

Categories: General, Museums Tags:

Tears in the Strand

February 4th, 2010 Comments off

I spent this morning cleaning my desk, changing some of my posters and straightening a bookcase. My work room is still a mess, but as I constantly tell myself, ‘to start is to finish’. Straightening the bookcase I pulled out this one book called A Book of Beauty an anthology of words and pictures. It isn’t very big, but it has poems and words from various eras and authors. There’s one I have to share. It’s part of a letter from Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth written 30th January 1801. This gives a fantastic peek through time at Regency London. It makes me wish I could time travel, if only to follow this man in his adventures.

I have passed all my days in London, until I have formed as many and intense local attachments as any of you mountaineers can have done with dead nature. The lighted shops of the Strand and Fleet Street. the innumerable trades, tradesmen and customers, coaches, waggons, playhouses, all the bustle and wickedness round about Covent Garden, Read more…

Categories: History Notes, Regency Notes Tags:

What is she thinking?

February 3rd, 2010 1 comment

After another night disturbed by tooth pain, I finally (this has been going on for weeks) walked into town bleary-eyed and made an appointment to be tortured by the dentist. I didn’t even ask how much it would cost. I don’t care as long as the offending tooth is obliterated along with the attendant pain, sleepless nights, and the need to eat mushy food. The green salad I had for breakfast required far too much chewing for comfort! By the end of the week I should be half a size smaller (fortunately I have lots of sizes to spare). After getting the appointment out of the way I walked over to my favorite charity shop to see if they had anything interesting. I found a box of old magazines entitled Discovering Art. One covering Japanese Medieval art had the picture below on the back (it doesn’t make any sense to me either).

A section of Gainsborough's painting in the Louvre

Le Menage, unknown lady and gentleman in a landscape, by Thomas Gainsborough. Paris, Louvre (dated from the middle 1750's)

It turns out this painting is in the Louvre (Paris, France) and was one of Thomas Gainsborough’s early bucolic double portraits. No one knows who these people are. It was originally thought to be the painter and his wife. I can see the resemblance, but his wife wasn’t a blonde and her cheek bones were more pronounced. The man could almost be Thomas, but he doesn’t quite look like him. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gainsborough made the painting as a conversation piece Read more…

Categories: History Notes, Museums Tags: