An education

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The Portland Art Museum has a really good collection, from sculptures in the courtyard outside the entrance hall to prehistoric Chinese art,

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modern woodblocks, dancing gods, Versailles artists and portraits

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Impressionists and Roman Syrian art,

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American artists,

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and three generations of the Wyeth family.

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From top to bottom: street art, Chinese artefacts from 200 BCE, Jiang Bibo, Shiva from S India, Buddha from China, Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer x2, Gabriel Revel, Marianne Loyer, Alexandre Calame, Boucher, Gustavo Courbet and tomb carvings from Roman Syria, Julian Alder Weir x2, NC Wyeth, Eugene Speicher, Andrew Wyeth. Jamie Wyeth and Oswald Achenbach.

October 2017.

Reading in heels

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Slightly cheesy title, but a fun monthly box that gives you or a friend a new (often newly-published) book plus a clutch of treats for a very affordable price. Put it this way, the price of the book takes up most of the price, and postage is an affordable £2 a month. I’m not sure if I’ve got room in my house for this but it’s a fun way of getting a treat each month and reading something a bit different so I’m going to give it a go for a couple of months and the November box was a wonderful autumnal mix of some true life crime, camomile tea, chocolate treat and cinnamon-y bath oil.

Order now for December…

Drawing in

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The Painter’s family (detail)

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Another detail of The Painter’s family

Some time before I or any of us had even heard of hyyge, I had a short summer visit to Norway where I went to the National Gallery and strongly enjoyed the National bend for painting lots of pictures of people having breakfast. It’s very easy art to live with, and I found it immensely comforting. I particularly like this one for early winter with the lamplight on the faces, and the mix of snow, books and porridge.

 

Softly

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Came across Kristy Kun’s incredibly tactile art at the Su Lam Chinese garden in Portland last month. I loved how in her interview for he show she said she just can’t stop her fingers from playing with fibres. Find Kristy on Instagram @opulentfibers

October 2017.

Remembrance

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Still finding London’s war memorials whenever I go. This one’s in Baker Street. If you want a literary record of the Second World War, then VS Pritchett’s London Perceived, written in 1962 but republished with a new foreword in 1985, reflected how the post war building boom saw London lose its “almost Venetian” low skyline. Funny to read as a Londoner who’s grown up with a much more diverse city and rather likes the skyline from Waterloo Bridge.

House-watching

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Portland houses on the road to the zoo, Japanese gardens and rose garden. Pretty typical of the part of town I was staying up in too, with large porches smothered in Halloween pumpkins and accessories, immaculate front gardens reflecting the turn to fall.

October 2017.

Overheard in Oregon

Listening in on conversations around me is a bit of an addiction of mine, and whilst the home turf provides plenty of gems, travel always throws up a good few oddities too. In this respect, I can only say that Oregon has delivered gold. Here’s the latest crop, with thanks to the Saint of Soho for extra reporting:

“He turned up in a fur coat and was being very aggressively flirty.”

“So then they decided to swap partners, but they all kept their own shares, and a month later Mikey arrived. I think it says a lot that he loved you enough to give you more shares.”

“I just really want Franco to have something for himself like that and then everyone will love him for it.”

“He’s a millionaire, and not a prisoner.”

“Isn’t that the most beautiful door? I might have to take a photo of your door. Is it real?”

“We’ve got about an hour to kill so we can go home and phone the coastguard, I want you there with me when I call.”

“The only reason I stole from you is because I thought you weren’t looking.”

“He was super-helpful, so I had this laxative fish”  “And Mario was ok with that?”  “He wanted to help.”

“I’ve had super good birthday cakes whenever I’ve come up here.”

”So then I ruined his birthday and we were totally not friends for a few years” (N.B., despite my raging curiosity and some vague mentions of a glittery finger, I have no idea what the birthday-ruining act was. Sorry. And if glittery finger is some kind of euphemism, I don’t want to know.)

“I think I’ll just see what jobs are going.” “So what are you gonna be? A sous chef?!

“I don’t know your nuances bruv; I need ALL your nuances.”

“It’s the empathic life, it’s hard being fucking intelligent.”

(Guy speaking to his dog, whom some girls had stopped to admire.) “Thanks buddy, you helped me out today there. I was gonna buy a toupee or something otherwise.”