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Rigg's Cabinet of Curiosities

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art

The Coventrys and Art : Croome Court

… pleasurable and thought provoking …

deerhurst coventry croome nesta

This excellent one room exhibition brings together 25 portraits of the Coventry family from the ermine robed dignitaries of the 17th century (attributed to Cornelius Johnson van Ceulen) right through to this year’s Continue reading “The Coventrys and Art : Croome Court”

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”

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”

Painting Childhood: From Holbein to Freud : Compton Verney

… capturing the luminosity of childhood …

Van Dyck Daughters of Charles I portrait royalty

Compton Verney excels at finding a fresh angle and by gathering a wonderful selection of art to create an absorbing, worthwhile exhibition. The spread of the show starts with a very fine Hans Holbein‘s preparatory sketch Continue reading “Painting Childhood: From Holbein to Freud : Compton Verney”

Elizabethan Treasures : National Portrait Gallery

… tiny fire crackers of colour & astonishing detail …

Henri iii france hilliard miniature

Tucked into a pocket or worn next of the heart, Queen Elizabeth keep them wrapped in tissue in a cabinet, the language of miniatures has always been an intimate affair. Created for love, diplomacy and remembrance these limnings of Hilliard and Oliver display exquisite details and jewel like colours. Withe their roots in illuminated manuscripts, the size of these watercolours draws you in, making you concentrate to appreciate every detail. This attention creates an intimacy not Continue reading “Elizabethan Treasures : National Portrait Gallery”

Essex House Press : Court Barn Museum

… jewel like illustrations  & quixotic ideals …

keats st agnes arts and craft

One of the most important private presses of the Arts and Crafts movement, the Essex House Press was part of the Guild of Handicraft from 1898 when CR Ashbee bought the Kelmscott Presses from William Morris‘ Estate Continue reading “Essex House Press : Court Barn Museum”

Edward Burne-Jones : Tate Britain

… some astonishing works amongst the usual suspects …

perseus graiae burne-jones

Yes, I know all his portraits look the same (as Henry James put it: “this languishing type … which savours of monotony”) and walking from room to room can be a little like scoffing a whole box of chocolates BUT to see the two iconic series, Briar Rose and Perseus, Continue reading “Edward Burne-Jones : Tate Britain”

Whistler and Nature : Compton Verney

A fascinating show of Whistler’s more intimate art …

Watercolour Date: late 19th century (made) Artist/Maker: Whistler, James Abbott McNeill, born 1834 - died 1903 (artist) Materials and Techniques: Watercolour Credit Line: Given by the Artist's Executrix Museum number: P.19-1934

Westgate. Signed with the butterfly monogram. Copyright : V&A.

Say the name: James Abbott McNeill Whistler and to most it will conjure up a series of  almost abstract experiments he called “Nocturnes” or his famous portrait of his mother  or perhaps, at a push, his society portraits. This exhibition changes all that for me. He really was such an extraordinaire painter and his watercolour sketches have completely Continue reading “Whistler and Nature : Compton Verney”

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