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:

BM art

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.

A step in time

 

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An intriguing and beautiful image that could be from a film of Weimar Germany, to advertise William Kentridge’s exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery. The Whitechapel always has something truly provocative and unique in their shows – six years on I’m still pondering the significance of Nick Clegg choosing as one of his favourite pieces in the GAC a photo titled “choking for air I howled like a dog”.

Tapestry

A fascinating video by the V&A of their William Morris carpet. I love the scene of it rolled out to full stretch in the Raphael Gallery, the only room big enough to take it.

And thank you to George, who yesterday told me about the amazing tapestry bath that Historic Royal Palaces use, here on a tapestry from Hampton court. I will never complain about having to change the bed again: