The Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation (who also have an excellent app, allowing you to search for poems at the intersection of Humour, Commitment, and Work and Play, amongst other terms) has just revamped their website too.

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It’s a dream. Poets from the 8th century and earlier – good old Anon – to the present day can be searched by name or theme.

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I especially liked the pre-made collections. Summer had the Amy Lowell poem on the bath, whilst Movie Heroes & Villains had several crackers, including What I Learned From the Incredible Hulk, May Swenson’s very funny poem about watching Roger Moore as Bond whilst struggling with the popcorn, and tame Monsters in the Closet (“Dracula wants to drink my blood – I think that’s rather rude.”).

If you click through to a poet’s page, it includes a link to their other poems and I’ve already had a gorge on Ben Jonson, whose wit appeals to me more and more. But best of all is discovering so many new poets: Paisley Rokdal, Gwendolyn Brooks, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jesse Randall, Lucia Perillo and James Weldon Johnson. In fact, this website’s a model of what to be: made for easy browsing by the beginner, but segmented enough for the specialist researcher and not falling into the usual school textbook cliches for the anthologies.

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Pretties

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In fact, twice in one day because I  can’t resist: a scrapbook of Instagram pretties: Schiaparelli dresses from @the_corsetedbeauty;

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an Evelyn Dunbar sketch from @designfortoday;

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an elegant doodle from @garancedore;

 

marmalade jars and the delightful National Trust home of Standen from phil._.b;

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dogs on the beach from @thewomensroomblog

Wandering

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Durer / Rubens / Signac / Schiele / Lebasque / Lebasque / Cezanne / Vuillard / Nolde / Feininger / Monet / Monet / von Werefkin: Sunday in the Albertina, Vienna. June 2017.

Watercolours

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A few weeks ago, I went to a fantastic free exhibition at The British Museum taken from their prints and drawings collection. It covers 150 years from Cotman and Turner to Sutherland and Rothenstein and all styles from nature studies and travel art to war studies.

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The real delight was seeing artists I’d never discovered before. From top to bottom: Joseph Brett / John Singer Sargent / Hercules Brabazon Brabazon (best name ever?!) / CW Nevison / Edward Wandsworth / Michael Rothenstein / Anna Airy / Joseph Pennell / James McBey / Elizabeth Forbes

Arabia unbound

The British Museum has always had a strong art collection.

The Turner bequest, with his sketching notebooks, was here before they moved to the Tate and Laurence Binyon, whose famous poem For the Fallen (“they shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old…”) is recited every November, was a curator in the prints and watercolour department, where he was responsible for introducing his artist contemporaries to Chinese and Japanese prints.

All this provides good materials for furnishing small temporary, free exhibitions, like the one last spring of modern Arabic art and book illustrations:

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When I saw this poster image, it reminded me of Robert Motherwell’s “Black for Mozart”, which I passed in a Mayfair gallery this summer. It’s much bigger and more textured than it looks here.

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and it also brought home to me how the calligraphic tradition of Islamic art allows the creators to focus on structure and composition, as much as decoration.

Science Museum

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A tale of two halves: encoding and aerodynamics.

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Science Museum, January 2017. The second set of shots are from the incredible Zaha Hadid dedign for the new Winston Gallery of mathematics. The structure displays the flow of wind around a plane’s wings.

Life goals

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I don’t know who Lady Stern is/was, but there’s something about the no-nonsense gaze and stack of books, combined with the comfort of that rug, vase  of flowers and cornflower suit that I can get behind. Portrait by Lance Cattermole, an artist who lived till he was 94 (1898 – 1992); his style reminds me of Enslin du Plessis.

Photo via Art UK, the renamed website of Your Paintings and the Public Catalogue Foundation. It’s a free website, dedicated to cataloguing all the public art across Britain, much of it held in provincial museums, fire stations and council buildings and provides a fascinating social history survey of a time between 1890 and 1960 when local pride and a belief in the inspiring powers of art were strong.

Round 1 at The Met

I can’t really say that I did the Met, but I think that it did me, on two consecutive days.

 

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All photos by me, from top to bottom: The sculpture gallery; a screen by Jean Dunand from 1925-26; the Louis of France, the Grand Dauphin by Francois Girourard; a 2nd century painting from Roman Egypt and a Byzantine mosaic; one of the period rooms in the Met; Venus and Aeneas by Jean Cornu; a floral still-life in carved lime wood from 1784; another period room rescued from a French chateau; the American Court; Amor Caritas by Augustus Saint-Gaudans; two paintings by Sargent (including details of the three Wyndham sisters); Maurice Prendergast Central Park; another period room; Europa and the bull in the sculpture court; the entrance hall.