John Monks

97AE8A24-FC74-495C-BAA6-C7D3673A5603These rich paintings by John Monks remind me of the scene near the start of the Cazalet Chronicles where Louise passes the remains of a pre-war dinner party that the maids are clearing up and decides it looks pretty “decadent”.


An urban childhood

The two younger Bodens were sitting at the large, very much littered table, while Felicity lay stretched out on a comfortable sofa near the glowing fire. The light in the high, well-proportioned room was growing dim, though it was barely three o’clock. Beyond the window was a view of Old Church Street, Chelsea, dismal on the wet, misty December afternoon, in spite of the pleasant frontages of the eighteenth-century house’s opposite.

Swiss School, ME Allan. A London childhood means that scenes like this are catnip to me – they’re my equivalent of the wanderer turning the corner to see a beloved hill or mountain.

Drawing in


The Painter’s family (detail)


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.


Blog of the week

Well, sort of. This is actually Tweets of the week, as Helen posts @LBFlyawayhome on the Ladybird Books.


The illustrations range from the pretty,


to the of-their-time (I was tickled at how much Charles II and his courtier have faced exactly out of a mid-century illustration of sober lawyers), to the unintentionally amusing


and the completely barmy and opinionated:




The Geffrye Museum, one of the first places I discovered for myself in my gap year and now a frequent sight in the morning. The courtyard allows the light to fall in it, whatever time of year, but is especially beautiful when so lushly green in early summer.


May 2017.