Famous women

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In some countries, 8 May is women’s day, so here’s a bunch more of the Vanessa Bell & Duncan Grant set that will hopefully be bought be Charleston soon and remain on public display.

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The collection covered dancers (Pavlova, Taglioni), political movers and shakers (Sarah Churchill and several queens), writers (Georges Sand and Eliot), artists and muses (“La Bella Simonetta” was a subject for Bottecelli) and royal mistresses.

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I recognised most of the women in set, including Dorothy Osborne, whose letters I studied at uni, but Agnes Sorel had me stumped…

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Photos from my visit to the Piano Nobile gallery.

The Cinque Terre

From nearly a week of grey skies and cold rain came glorious sunshine, and the Cinque Terre.

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First up Vernazza, and it’s little harbour, church and castle overlooking the bay.

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Then Manarola with its little shops, pistachio walls and washing lines,

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its craggy rocks and bright jade seas.

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And finally Riomaggiore and wild waves.

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April 2018.

Palazzo life

Genoa is the town of palazzo after palazzo and a LOT of painted ceilings.

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First up, the palazzo reale – built for the Balbini family and then taken over by the Savoy monarchy in the 1820s.

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Then the Palazzo Bianco (also containing the Palazzo Tursi, 2-in-1 palazzi, ker-ching)

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and Palazzo Rosso – owned by the same family as the Palazzo Bianco, leading to a pleasingly martini-sounding pairing.

All pics April 2018

Milan apartment

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Excuse the poor quality of these photos, but I literally snapped them directly from my copy of Elle Deco. Loving the wild wallpaper, jade green hall, mix of rattan and willow-weave textures in the furniture and just the simple yet bold look of this home.

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Tenebrae

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The day in the church cycle when darkness falls. Usually a nighttime service where the candles are extinguished and lamps doused one by one. I thought the time suited these photos of the beautifully austere Hagia Irene in the grounds of the Topkapi Palace, one of the few Byzantine churches never converted to a mosque, although it hadn’t been used as a church for some time.

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All photos March 2018

Balat

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It was the last day of our trip to Istanbul and we headed to the old Greek Orthodox and Jewish communities of Balat for hilltop views and brunch,

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painted houses and peeling walls that could belong in Seville or Sicily,

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the former Greek Orthodox boys’ school that now teaches only a handful of girls,

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a Byzantine church (St Mary of the Mongols) which was locked but where the caretaker left a family lunch and insisted on addressing me politely as Monsieur when he gave me candles to light by the church door,

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and then the cast iron, gold-clad Bulgarian Orthodox Church of Sveti Stefan (St Stephen)

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after all this and a few views of the sea, it was time to find a hipster cafe, sit down with chilli-spiced brownies and watch the show of vintage cars blaring 70s pop roll by,

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before strolling home past crumbling homes and pretty greengrocers.

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All photos March 2018.