Theatre time



Winter is always the time I want to see most plays, and to me this picture just couldn’t be from any other time of year, despite the low backs of the dresses. Theatre is also definitely for seeing with friends and discussing at the interval, unlike other art forms.

I find the way these two women are shown intriguing too – there’s no suggestion that they’re pining for lost husbands in the trenches, or waiting to be viewed (unlike in Renoir’s theatre paintings), or otherwise doing anything besides expecting a good time.

At the theatre, by Prudence Heward, 1928. Image and more discussion here.




Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the David Hockney portraits at the RA this summer. The uniform size and format, and the hot colours, gave a pleasing cohesiveness to the collection – a sense of being welcomed into a club. Perfect intensity of colour and effort for a late summer heatwave or early autumn evening.

image from the BBC.

The Morgan Library


Possibly my favourite place in New York, as I wasn’t sure whether to go there on the last day, but found myself glad that I had. The walk up to midtown to get there was interesting, and the reward was possibly the most opulent building I’ve seen



and an array of exhibitions covering 1960s Paris, the Brontes, Martin Luther’s 95 Theses  and the devotional art of Memling.



All photos October 2016.


One of the things I found strangest in the States was that museums were expensive to get into, but the price would include automatic entry to all shows and the ability to take as many photos as you like. In contrast, British institutions are free, but a single exhibition might cost £15 and you can spend £10 on postcards of things you don’t really want.

Currently on at The Met is an exhibition on the material culture of Jerusalem from 1000 – 1400, which thanks to the suggested entry fee policy I got to enjoy for $1. Each area in the exhibition is grouped thematically rather than chronologically, and whilst I wouldn’t say it aims to give a detailed history of the Crusades, it does really conjure up what the life of the elite must have looked and felt like during this period through the choice of stunning objects on display.



The red gleam…

On a pouring wet Sunday night in December last year a special meeting was held at the House of the Sacred Flame in Knocklatchers Row…Nigel Bathgate, looking disconsolately out of his window in Chester Terrace, noticed its sign for the first time. It was a small hanging sign made of red glass and shaped to represent a flame rising from a cup. Its facets caught the light as a gust of wind blew the sign back. Nigel saw the red gleam…

An atmospheric opening to Ngaio Marsh’s “Death in Ecstasy”. Such clever writing; as well as setting a strong sense of atmosphere, all the psychological clues are already there. Marsh is so good at mood, whether it’s a tense evening party, a shabby artists’ colony or wet, dark night.

The Gloaming

I couldn’t really find a video on YouTube that captured the tie-tapping nature of The Gloaming’s recent Southbank gig, and I don’t have the skills (skillz?) to link to iTunes/Spotify, so this will have to do. After a dreamy start, the rest of this set comes close to it.