Friday 30 July 2010

A Fascinating Face


One of the portraits in the Kelvingrove M & A Gallery is this one.  When I first saw the portrait I didn’t know who had painted it and thought that it was a reasonably recent work because the expression seemed fairly modern.  I was quite surprised, therefore, to find that it was painted by David Gauld one of the Glasgow Boys about whom I shall be blogging separately during the next week.  The date?  1895, over a century ago.  The more I think about it, though, the more I realise that I’ve been around for quite a while and a century is not quite as long ago as I imagine.  Sobering thought.

Quiet Times?

This evening I’m in that sort of limbo mode where I want to do things at a manic rate round the house and garden and also want to just sit and do my own thing with my photos and blog and emails and phone calls and….  You know how it is.  Anna went off on the lunchtime ferry and as I write is either on the luxury coach from Inverness to Glasgow or stranded in Inverness because the ferry was an hour late arriving in Ullapool.  As I haven’t heard from her I suspect that the latter is the case and that she is trying to find an alternative way home or accommodation for the night.  The joys of travel. 

So this afternoon I fitted a new drawer in the kitchen and did a few other jobs around the house.  I now have a week before my next visitor and am hoping that the dull, dreary, wet weather will depart so that I can get some work done in the garden.  If not then I shall just enjoy the break to work on scanning some of my thousands of old photos and cataloguing my digital ones.  I’ll also be back in blogland.  I am behind in my reading never mind authoring new posts.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

A Study in Red


Froanna, the Artist’s Wife, 1937.

Wyndham Lewis painted this picture almost entirely in the colour red.  Red can make us think of warmth and he used tones – variations of the same colour – to create a feeling of intimacy and relaxation.

Still Life

Despite having a few still life pictures on my walls I’ve not really been a lover of the genre nor, to be hones, ever taken much interest in it or bothered to find out much about it.  However Katherine’s blog has had a number of postings on the subject which have made me more aware.  Consequently when I was in the Kelvingrove M & A G I looked  more closely at some of the very many on display.  I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed comparing them and the various techniques and thought behind the composition.  I never cease to be amazed at the changes blogging is making to my life.

DSC02605 DSC02606 DSC02607 DSC02608 DSC02612 DSC02613

DSC02654  DSC02656

Sunday 25 July 2010

The Second Day: Result

Well the tournament ended today.  I had a thoroughly enjoyable couple of days ending up runner-up.  The winner of the Scottish Golf Croquet Opens Championship this year was James Hopgood.  Ranked 200 in the world out of 2000 (against my 537 at the moment – I was, I think 267 at my best) he defeated me 7:3 and 7:4 and I, if not at my best, was not playing badly!
DSC02678 Jamieson Walker presenting the Walker Cup to James Hopgood
To round off the day one of my dearest friends (who, 35 years ago was the originator of the boring old fart comment and more recently rescued me with home truths) came over from the Edinburgh side of the country and we met in town and went to Café Hula for dinner.  If you are in Glasgow and going for a companionable meal before the theatre or any time really then it’s in Hope Street opposite The Pavillion Theatre.
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Heads and Things

A few more of the exciting things I encountered at the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery included the display of armour and the fantastic heads from the exhibit ‘Expression’.

DSC02564Kelvingrove800 Warriors often cover their faces with visors or masks.  This gives protection but also frightens enemies by making the warrior look less human.  The blank visors above are especially chilling.



The First Day

We played 9 games yesterday!  That's a lot of games.  You expect 6 or even 7 but I can't recall playing 9 in a tournament before.  It was really good though and, apart from being a bit tired last night and stiff this morning.  I'm raring to go this morning.  We start at 1000 today and only have 5 or 6 games.   This means we'll finish early which is great because a friend, David, with whom I'm going to France later in August is coming over from the Edinburgh side of the country to meet for a meal and catch-up.

I was satisfied with my play yesterday too and the field is much better than last year.  I'm joint top at the moment but I have two very very good players to play today.  But it’s started raining so it might be less pleasant playing today.

Saturday 24 July 2010

Fourteen Games

I had a text last evening to tell me that there will be 14 games of croquet over the weekend.  Oh dear.  That’s a lot of physical and mental effort.  I could be tired and a tad sore by the end of it.  I haven’t played for three months!  Wish me luck…… Please.  I’ll need it just to stay upright.  But I can’t wait.  We start in 70 minutes!

Friday 23 July 2010

A Magical Afternoon

This afternoon I found myself suddenly deciding to abandon my plans and instead of driving into town my car sort of took control and drove me to the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery.  I’ve done five blog postings so far on the Gallery and I’ve visited four galleries already this month.  So why?  A whim, no less.  Albeit it’s two years ago since my last visit here.  Anyway when I arrived and immediately found a parking space I knew that the afternoon was meant to be a success.  I started with the first floor gallery and was astonished by how many things I was noticing that had not registered with me before.  Add to that the new exhibitions and this became very exciting.  At the end I decided to see if there was a book on the Scottish Colourists but instead I inadvertently found my way into the Glasgow Boys Exhibition without realising that I’d gone in via the exit.  After a while I realised what I’d done and after a short but wonderful taste of things to come made my way out again.  I shall go back one day soon when I have more time and pay my entrance fee (the Gallery is free but some special exhibitions are charged for) and spend the time the exhibition justifies.

Over the next while I shall post on the visit but here’s a few photos to be going on with:

DSC02661  The Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery

DSC02537 Motherless George Lawson c. 1889

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And that, dear reader, is all I have time for tonight.  But there will be more, a lot more, of far greater interest I promise you.

I’ll Have That Please


Thursday 22 July 2010

Dunblane in Bloom


DSC09428 Dunblane’s gardens produced a blaze of colour in June.



Wendy deep in thought overlooking Ness Harbour on Lewis

Wednesday 21 July 2010

The First Night of The Proms 2010

The Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major by Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) is one of the largest choral works in the classical concert repertory. Because it requires huge instrumental and vocal forces it is frequently called the "Symphony of a Thousand", though Mahler did not acknowledge the name. The work was composed in a single inspired burst, at Maiernigg in southern Austria in the summer of 1906. The last of Mahler's works that was premiered in his lifetime, the symphony was a critical and popular success when he conducted its first performance in Munich on 12 September 1910.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the first performance it was this year’s opening work for the BBC promenade Concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall.  Eight soloists and six choirs and the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek undertook the mammoth task.

Proms-1 The Orchestra

Proms1 The singers

DSC02395 The conductor

DSC02411 The audience

Away Again

I left the Island again on the lunchtime ferry and drove to a friend’s near Glasgow arriving at about 9.45 this evening.  Hopefully I’ll get some blogs posted and read tomorrow.  In the meantime, as it’s now tomorrow (if you see what I mean), I’m going to sleep.  Night night.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

A Basking Shark

There are Basking Sharks in the bay:


Sunday 18 July 2010

I’ve Fallen in Love – Again!

You’d think I’d have more sense at my age wouldn’t you.  But no.  When we were walking round the Lady Lever Art Gallery my eyes alighted on a face of beauty and mystery; a face that I would never understand but would always feel was there just waiting to be understood.  Of course it’s not the face itself but the expression on the face that tells the story – or withholds it.  The person who created this face understood people. 




I was so busy standing in front of the sculpture marvelling at the depth, the pathos, that I didn’t take in the sculptor’s name.  When I got back to CJ’s and looked at it again I knew the name.  Of course.  Jacob Epstein.  How much controversy has he created in his works.  When I was a young man, perhaps even a child, Epstein created Liverpool Resurgent which became a Liverpool landmark but which, when it was first placed on Lewis’s Corner (Lewis’s was a famous Department Store which started in Liverpool) caused huge controversy.   However it soon became part of Liverpool and a well-known local meeting place as immortalised in the 1962 song "In My Liverpool Home" by Peter McGovern: "We speak with an accent exceedingly rare, Meet under a statue exceedingly bare"


All this is, of course, just a rambling aside which I fancied you might find interesting.  For me Deidre will remain loved but I will only be ably to dream of what she might have been thinking as I stood in front of her and gazed into those eyes.

Saturday 17 July 2010

The Question Answered

DSC01125-1I posed the question a few days ago as to what the thing in this photo is.  You will, if you have read the comments, already know from Spesh’s comment that they are, indeed, bus shelters.  Many years ago the Council for the Western Isles (the Outer Hebrides) decided that bus shelters were needed.  The then Council Architect decided that the item on the right was what was needed.  There was shelter from the wind and rain in every direction and they were self-cleaning by the rain.  The Councillors were not convinced but many were built and, as they are virtually indestructible, remain today.  Synflame had a point, of course, sheep (and people with too much drink to dispose of) also found them attractive.  Unfortunately people, on the whole, did not.  Nowadays more conventional shelters are built.


imageAmazon is a great place to buy CDs.  Presto Classical goes one better and sends a weekly newsletter which introduces the reader to new recordings and all sorts of events in the world of ‘classical’ music.  But.  And, of course, there is always a but.  I’ll come to it soon. 


The other day CJ and I were in Linghams a bookshop in Heswall on The Wirral  where we have morning coffee, do the crossword and where I usually buy some cards and the very occasional book.  Unfortunately Amazon is usually too competitive to be ignored in the book stakes.  However Linghams also sell a small selection of CDs. 

CD Cover001-1Not a huge range but they do have some of music which is less well known than the main classical recordings.  When CJ and I were there recently I found two CDs by composers of whom I had never heard.  I’ve been collecting CDs since they were first produced and keep reasonably abreast with the sort of music I like.  So I was quite surprised to find two CDs which looked very inviting.  I bought them. 

I was not disappointed.  Schmidt’s Symphony No 1 is redolent of Brahms and Bruckner and is in the grand scale.  Fry’s works on this CD are large symphonic works in romantic style but full of fun – it is possibly the first example of the use of a saxophone in a symphonic work.

Yes.  Serendipity is found in bookshops and music shops. 


More Art

Following on from the earlier post about the Lady Lever Art Gallery I thought I’d share just a few of the pictures with you.

Scapegoat One of William Holman Hunt’s several, possibly many, pictures of the Scapegoat.  In 1969 (I can remember than, it’s yesterday I have a problem with) I went to an exhibition of Hunt’s work at the Walker Art Gallery.  This picture was on loan from The Lady Lever (which at that time wasn’t part of National Museums Liverpool) and I fell in love.  The exhibition was one of the first really important exhibitions I attended which made a big impact on me.  This is possibly why I have always had such an attachment to the Pre-Raphaelites.  That and the fact that I am an incurable romantic at heart. Sarlem Years ago friends had a Cottage in Wales called Paradwys (Welsh for Paradise).  And it was.  One of the pictures they had on the wall was Sarlem painted by Sidney Curnow Vosper (1866 - 1942).  At the time I had no idea of its name nor how famous it was.  A few years later I happened to see a print of the picture in a shop in Llangollen.  I bought it.  It has been with me ever since and is part of my ‘musical pictures’.  I then knew its name but not its painter nor how famous it is.  Until last Monday!  As CJ and I went to climb the stairs to one of the upper galleries there was a painting behind a curtain.  On drawing back the curtain there was the painting I had loved so dearly all these years.  In real life.  The real thing.  Thrilled didn’t begin to express how I felt.

There is the whole story on the website but I shall quote the first paragraph. “ 'Salem' is a painting of a small Baptist chapel in Cefncymerau, Llanbedr, near Harlech, North Wales. The chapel was built in 1850. Vosper often visited the chapel when he holidayed in the area. Because of this painting, Salem is perhaps the most famous place of worship in Wales. The painting has become a Welsh icon, much like Constable's 'Haywain' or Yeames' 'And when did you last see your father' have become English ones.”


I could, of course show many pictures that I would love to share with you but I’ll just show a couple more.

Fidelity I cannot recall ever seeing this picture before and Riviere is not an artist with whom I am familiar either but this picture certainly evoked feeling.

DSC01974-1I’ve included this picture, Bubbles, partly because it is by Milais but principally because, in our house we had a collection of The Bibby’s Annuals (which, much to my surprise has no entry in Wikipedia, but which were very large format books  published annually by Liverpool company J Bibby and Sons) and a large gloss copy of it appeared in one of them.

Bubbles, originally titled A Child's World, is a painting by Sir John Everett Millais that became famous when it was used over many generations in advertisements for Pears soap. During Millais' lifetime it led to widespread debate about the relationship between art and advertising.

Lady Lever Art Gallery

On Monday CJ and I went to the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight on The Wirral.  The Gallery, which owes its existence to the first Viscount Leverhulme (who also owned a large part of the Isle of Lewis), houses a thrilling array of art of many genres including a fine collection of pictorial art of the Pre-Raphaelites for whom, for some unaccountable reason, I have been drawn since my early 20s.  


The Gallery is seen in the distance at the end of a wide avenue of trees and gardens with an ornamental fountain in front of the Gallery.


Foreshortened by the camera with the war memorial in the foreground.

DSC02066 The main entrance


The central gallery

The Gallery and its collections will be the subject of further posts.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Guess What ?


Friends For Lunch


Friend Who Knows Too Much with Daughter Who Loves Horses and Artist Daughter came for lunch today.  One could not wish for better companionship and humour.  I love them dearly.   For very many years I have had a line drawing. I have absolutely no recollection of who gave it me but I’ve always known it as Pip’s Tree.  It is framed in glass and sits in my hall with a pen to enable people to look at it, decide where they are on it at any particular time and colour in their ‘self’ for the day.  This is something we four do and this is the four of us today.  I’m waving.  FWKTM’s standing on the branch with her two daughters and AD is having a piggyback.  DWLH is on the platform.  None of us is falling off today!  That has to be a Good Thing.

A few years ago I discovered from CJ’s blog posting What Sort of a Day Are You Having that the Tree was, in fact, Pip Wilson’s copyright and known as the Blob Tree.   I understand that used at this size the copyright is not being infringed.  For more details see Pip Wilson’s site .