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Rigg's Cabinet of Curiosities

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thorntonrigg

Ravencry : Ed McDonald

… tremendously satisfying …

grimdark fantasy fiction

Ravencry continues the highly enjoyable story of wounded hero, Ryhalt Galharrow, with his seriously bad tattoo and relentless drink problem fighting his way through a post apocalyptic world. Ed leavens Ryhalt’s grisly existence with a thoughtful generosity Continue reading “Ravencry : Ed McDonald”

Helene Schjerfbeck : Royal Academy of Arts

… absolutely extraordinary. Go and see them …

Finnish Self Portrait expressionism

Wow! What a revelation! Why have I not heard of this artist before?

Helene Schjerfbeck (1862–1946) is a Finnish national icon – and most of her work remains there – after wandering around the Jungels-Winkler Galleries at the back of the Royal Academy, I can see why. I would hold onto every single one of them, tightly. From gorgeous Continue reading “Helene Schjerfbeck : Royal Academy of Arts”

Aston Hall, Birmingham

… is this Birmingham’s best kept secret? …

aston birmingham jacobean strapwork

Aston Hall is an astonishing Jacobean mansion that practically nobody’s heard of. A c17th contemporary described it as: “A noble fabric which for its beauty and state much exceedeth anything in these parts.”* It has some of the finest

Continue reading “Aston Hall, Birmingham”

3 Bird details from the Marshall Collection : Ashmolean Museum

… beautiful birds from an outstanding porcelain collection …

porcelain worcester c17th

The Ashmolean holds the extraordinary Marshall Collection. This huge bequest of early Worcester porcelain was presented Continue reading “3 Bird details from the Marshall Collection : Ashmolean Museum”

Echo Murder : Laura Laakso

… intriguing page turner …

fantasy ghosts finnish

Yannia, the detective, is one of the Wild Folk who should be with her conclave but … it’s complicated. Her father is dying and she is not ready to take her place in the pack – nor at the side of her betrothed, Dearon.

Instead she is in Olde London trying to solve a murder that hasn’t quite happened yet.

Continue reading “Echo Murder : Laura Laakso”

A Martinware Tortoise & a dejected Satan : Ashmolean Museum

… two favourites from The PreRaphaelite Room …

preraf18008

The star which dominates the room is The Prioress’s Tale Cabinet, designed by Philip Webb and decorated by Edward Burne-Jones. He gave it as a wedding present to William Morris on his marriage to Jane Burden in 1858. However I like to truffle out some of the more over looked pieces in this gallery – and discover Continue reading “A Martinware Tortoise & a dejected Satan : Ashmolean Museum”

William Simmonds: Court Barn Museum

… exquisite animals and one astonishing angel …

wood mouse william simmonds arts and crafts

The Court Barn Museum’s current exhibition displays an array of Arts and Crafts delights from William Simmonds including a number of extraordinary wood carvings which contemporary critics likened to Japanese Netsuke: smooth, polished, small images of nature including a wren encased in a box of furled leaves, a crouching group of leverets and this dormouse (above). This very personal exhibition includes Continue reading “William Simmonds: Court Barn Museum”

Grayson Perry : Landscapes : Croome Court

… thought provoking cartography …

Grayson Perry map

William, the 6th Earl of Coventry, bought the finest works of art and worked closely with Capability Brown to create the gardener’s “first and most favourite” landscape park. Continuing this vision, the exhibition in the Tapestry Room and Library of Croome Court shows three tapestries and two etchings by Grayson Perry centring around the theme of landscapes and identity. Continue reading “Grayson Perry : Landscapes : Croome Court”

Invisible Agents : Nadine Akkerman

… pioneering archive archaeology …

seventeenth century spies agents women

With this exhilarating and meticulously researched account, Nadine leads the reader through thickets of ciphers and pages of correspondence to highlight the contribution female agents made to the field of espionage during the seventeenth century. Most of these women have been been discounted or silenced Continue reading “Invisible Agents : Nadine Akkerman”

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