Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Christmas Windows


Lovely to see you.

Carrying on with the seasonal feeling around the place, I'm taking you on a stroll round the village to have a peek in the shop Windows.  Maybe you'll get a few ideas for those last minute presents you need to buy.

It's a little bit disappointing that the vegetables don't have Christmas hats on!

You might be able to make out that half of the tinsel reindeer are inside the shop.

Down by the fire station, the traditional tree has understated lights, rather nice I think.

This plant has had berries like this for a good couple of months. So cheerful.

Here's a bit of cherry blossom already.


Tuesday, 12 December 2017



Thanks for calling in.

With the country covered in snow, always a surprise causing untold problems on the roads, railways and at the airports, exciting things were happening in the garden.

Mr CK was busy being creative.

Even a minute snowman has to be smartly kitted out.

His scarf could have been a bit longer.

There he is with a hand knitted hat.

Today, the sleety rain has washed away the snow and he's a shadow of his former self. 

Take care in the Wintery weather.


Monday, 11 December 2017



Thanks for visiting.

The last of this year's art talks was about Amedeo Modigliani, to tie in with the Tate's exhibition.

Born in Livorno, Italy in 1884, Modigliani was the youngest of four children, his Jewish parents had been wealthy but were undergoing financial problems at the time of his birth.  He was particularly close to his Mother, who educated him at home until he was 10. He then suffered from pleurisy, typhoid fever and tuberculosis which would reoccur as tuberculor meningitus when he was 35 to cause his death.

He wanted to be an artist from age 13 and was encouraged by his Mother, who engaged the best artist in town, Gugliemo Micheli, to train him.  She also took him on a tour of Italian cities to recuperate from his illnesses, where he could see artworks.  He studied in Venice with Fabio Mauroner and went to Paris where he was influenced by Toulouse Lautrec, Cezanne, Brancusi's egg sculptures, Guro tribal masks and Picasso, who had a collection if African sculptures which may have also inspired him.

Chaim Soutine 1916-17

Dr Paul Alexandre, his first patron, opened a communal studio in Monmartre for artists, where he met others like Chaim Soutine. By 1909 he produced the work that he wanted, not linked to any artistic movement.  He spent a lot of time drawing and preparing for his paintings but once started, finished the work quite quickly.  Hardly any of his early works remain as he destroyed them.

Woman's Head 1912

He was undecided as to whether to concentrate on sculpture or painting. There are only 25 of his sculptures - 23 heads, 1 standing and 1 caryatid left.  His sculptures were made from scavenged limestone but he abandoned his sculpture making due to his bad health and concentrated on painting.

Reclining Nude 1917

Art dealers Paul Guillame and Leopold Zborowski were important, the latter encouraged him to tackle nudes, even providing the models and paying for them.  Modigliani was not linked with the women.  He was to have just one solo exhibition of his nudes at the Gallerie B. Weill, which happened to be opposite a police station, but the exhibition was closed down for its indecency and obscenity as the women were portrayed as real women rather than the classical nudes that were acceptable at the time.

Jacques and Berthe Lipchitz 1916

He was part of an artistic/literary set which included Renoir, Picasso, Diego Rivera, Jaques Lipchitz, Jean Cocteau and Juan Gris.

The women in his life included Beatrice Hastings, Anna Akhmatova and his beloved Jeanne Hebuterne, with whom he had a daughter.  Sadly on his death, Jeanne pregnant with another child, jumped out of a fifth-floor window with grief, and died at only 21, along with her unborn child.

Jeanne Hebuterne 1919
Jeanne Hebuterne in a Large Hat 1918

Modigliani is considered one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century but has been forgotten/neglected.  His distinctive style of portraiture shows frontal, long, mask-like faces with long necks, almond eyes, long nose attached to the eyebrows and small mouths but even though faces are simplified, he was good at capturing the personality.  He concentrated on the face with less detail on the rest of the picture.

These are my notes from the talk with pictures from the internet.

Roll on next November for some more talks!


Friday, 8 December 2017



So nice to see you.

It's always a treat to have a spare five minutes, it's amazing how much you can fit in to that short time.  Sometimes you can easily find a parking space but mostly these days you can't, which means that next time you go, you have to leave earlier.  Luckily for me, I had left earlier, found a parking space and had a spare five minutes.  I had time for a walk on a beautiful, sunny, frosty, crispy morning. Fabulous.

Revived and ready now for my talk and a cup of black tea and a chocolate biscuit. Yum.

By the way, I'm being a tad slow in replying to your messages but do get round to it eventually!  Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment, it's very much appreciated.


Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Patronage and Art Collection of King Charles I


Thanks for visiting.

My visits to the November Art Talks have been centred around exhibitions currently on or scheduled soon.  The third talk concerned the Royal Academy exhibition Charles I: King and Collector on from 27th January- 15th April 2018 although the pictures discussed here may not all be on show.

Charles I was born 1600 and was deposed and executed in 1649.  Do have a look at his history summarised here on the BBC website.  What it doesn't mention is the fact that when trying to escape from Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, he got stuck between the bars of his window, not surprising when he enjoyed 20 course meals, but that's another story!

Charles was a prolific collector of art from the 15th to 17th Century but his collection was sold off in The Great Sale after his execution by Oliver Cromwell or given away as diplomatic gifts or to courtiers or even used to pay tradesmen and ended up all over Europe.  On the Restoration of the Monarchy, Charles II managed to get back a lot of the art for the Royal Collection. The exhibition aims to bring those items still abroad back together for the first time.

His taste in art was greatly influenced by his Mother, who liked Netherlandish, religious work and jewellery, and his elder brother Henry Frederick, who liked classical antiquity - sadly died of typhoid fever when he was 18.  Charles' great friend George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham introduced Pieter Paul Rubens to Charles, having had his picture painted by him. Charles commissioned Rubens to paint The Apotheosis of James I to mark the peaceful reign of his Father, in the Inigo Jones designed Banqueting House in London, which is the only in-situ Rubens ceiling left intact.  He wasn't to know at the time that he would be executed outside the building.

The Apotheosis of James I, 1636  Rubens, Banqueting House London

George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham 1625 Rubens Pitti Palace, Florence

From Hubert le Sueur he commissioned a copy of Spinario, a sculpture of a boy removing a thorn from his foot and an Equestrian Monument to Charles I now in Trafalgar Square which was the first large equestrian statue made in Britain, it shows him in control of the horse and symbolically the country. Being of short stature, Charles looked more imposing on a horse.

Equestrian Monument to Charles I 1633 Hubert le Sueur Trafalgar Square London

Charles visited Madrid in 1623, saw the Venetian art and decided to buy some - Titian -Woman in a Fur Coat, Raphael - Paul Preaching at Athens; Miraculous Draught of Fish, both cartoons made for tapestries for the Sistine Chapel.  He commissioned his own set of tapestries from the Mortlake factory, now on display in the V&A.  Philip IV also gave him a Titian.

Miraculous Draught of Fish 1515-16, part of a series Raphael V&A

He acquired his art using agents such as Daniel Nys and Dudley Carlton, buying work from unknown artists, was given gifts by courtiers or as diplomatic gifts and bought the entire collection of the Gonzaga family - his collection then rivalled the King of Spain.

Guido Reni, Caravaggio, Andrea Mantegna and Aegidius Sadeler II works came from the Gonzaga collection.

Triumphs of Caesar 1485-95  part of a series Andrea Mantegna Hampton Court

Works given by courtiers like Thomas Howard, Earl of 2nd Earl of Arundel and 1st Earl of Norfolk  (the Collector Earl) include a self portrait by Albrecht Dürer.

Self Portrait 1498 Albrecht Dürer Prado Madrid

Diplomatic gifts include Jan Gossaert's Adam and Eve.

Charles encouraged artists to come to Britain. Anthony van Dyck was chief assistant to Rubens and Charles was keen to have his services. He painted many informal outdoor portraits of Charles and his family.  Head in 3 Positions was painted in preparation for a bust by Bernini, which was destroyed in the Whitehall fire.

The Family of Charles I 1631-32 Anthony van Dyck Buckingham Palace

Head of Charles I in 3 Positions 1635-36 (attr. to Jan Blommendael) Windsor

Charles I at the Hunt 1635 Anthony van Dyck Louvre - using the elbow in this way became very fashionable

Another artist who worked in London was Orazio Gentileschi, a follower of Caravaggio, who was commissioned by the Queen to paint the Allegory of Peace and Arts under the English Crown on the ceiling at Marlborough House in London.

Allegory of Peace and the Arts under the English Crown 1638-39 Orazio Gentileschi Marlborough House London

These are my notes from the talk, pictures are from the internet.

One more talk to go!


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Clandon Park Winner


Yes, it's me again!  Two posts in one day!

I'm just dropping in to mention that, if you read my blog post on the Architects and Design Proposals to rebuild the National Trust property Clandon Park, which was damaged by fire, the competition winner has been announced.  Here's a link to find out the details of the winner - Allies and Morrison.

I wonder if it was the team that you chose.

Many congratulations to them.


Meanwhile in the Park


Thanks for calling in.

The pale morning sun made an appearance in the Park just lighting up the Autumn trees.

Lots of beautiful colour.

Inside, Christmas is coming, though not entirely set up yet.