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Archive for the ‘Weekend away’ Category

Whilst in East Sussex we visited Farley’s House the home of Lee Miller and Roland Penrose, the Surrealists.  Just like Charleston a fascinating tour about the history of these two and the visitors to the house which became a hub for 20th century modern art.  Visitors included Picasso, Miro, Man Ray, Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington and there are works by these artists scattered around the house.  And again like Charleston, some rooms are painted by the artists; there is an inset ceramic tile by Picasso over the cooker for example.  The grounds have sculptures by Penrose but a rotating exhibition by current artists.  It is only open April to October on Sundays but is near to Ditchling Museum of Art+Craft so you can visit that at the same time – or even the Chislehurst caves on the way there.  You cannot take photos inside the house.

 

 

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Visited East Sussex last weekend and got to see Winchelsea Beach, a beautiful, quiet shingle beach with cliffs at one end going on down to Camber Sands and Dungeness which you can see in the distance, along with wind turbines. We then moved on to Dungeness with its nuclear power station.  Dramatic, empty landscape with shingle beaches and black cottages, lighthouses, boats lying around and Dover in the distance.  Derek Jarman’s cottage is there with its garden thriving in the shingle.  And at one point an old steam train went past – it covers 15 miles and shuttles children to school.  Last beach, Camber Sands, complete contrast with dunes and people walking dogs everywhere.  It was cold everywhere so will be a very different story in the summer as I suspect Camber Sands will be packed. We finished in Rye for the night, a medieval town with cobbled streets and a lot of places to eat and drink.

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Finally got to visit Charleston, home to Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and often Clive Bell, a house that saw a range of visitors including Maynard Keynes, EM Forster and Vanessa’s sister, Virginia Woolf, amongst others.  Vanessa moved into the house in 1916 and died there in 1961.  Duncan Grant lived there until 1978 and their daughter Angelica until 1980.  The house has been restored to as it was in 1950s and it is quite extraordinary; every surface is painted, curtains, upholstery all designed by them, walls covered in paintings – even the bath panel is painted.  So it is beautiful to look at and the tour is packed with interesting stories of complicated relationships.  The gardens and pond are also beautiful with sculptures scattered about.  No photos were allowed of the interiors.

Prior to visiting Charleston we visited the church in Berwick  nearby which is covered in murals painted by Vanessa, Duncan and Quentin during WWII.  And after the house we visited the church in Firle where Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant , Vanessa’s son Quentin and her daughter Angelica Bell  are buried, the offspring of Duncan and Clive.  Next time I will have to visit Monk’s House, home to Virginia and Leonard Woolf, not too far from Charleston.

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IMG_1207We visited both the Walker Gallery and Bluecoats in Liverpool the other weekend on a trip home.  Very long time since I had been either.  Room 11, British art 1880-1950, was very interesting with Jacob Epstein, Paul Nash, LS Lowry and Lucian Freud alongside the Merseyside artists Albert Richards and George Jardine.  The Walker is near St John’s Square where there is a moving memorial to Hillsborough, unveiled in 2013.  Across the square is a small, but again moving monument to “Those injured or killed, Lives unfulfilled.. the reality of car crashes.”  It is bronze sculpture with scattered toys and the contents of a woman’s handbag.   Onto the Bluecoat Gallery – I remember a beautiful old-fashioned building way back when but wasn’t expecting the modern extension built onto it as a contemporary gallery.  Wonderful shop attached.  Great history chart covering its 300 year history.  Reminded me to go to Slavery Museum next time.

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Visited the Tate Modern at the Albert Dock a few weeks ago.  The Yves Klein was the draw for me to see the International Klein Blue and the Fire Paintings.  But in addition to that we got Tracey Emin, William Blake and Edward Krasinski, the latter with his blue adhesive tape running through his paintings.  And a Pistoletto or two, a man who is scandalising those who like their stately homes stately at Blenheim Palace.  Can’t promise you the amazing collection of live owls outside the Tate that I saw but well worth the trip.

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Shoehorning a trip to the North West into a blog for London – not sure it fits the theme but I would recommend it as a weekend trip from London and I wouldn’t have done so a few years ago.  There is The Tate, the Museum of Liverpool, Anthony Gormley and Jaume Plensa.

First stop Junction 7 of the M62 and the Heart of the North West that is St Helens, my home town.  The Dream, a sculpture by Jaume Plensa, is a 20 foot high of a woman’s head and can be seen from the M62 but you can walk up to it and stand right in front of her.  It commemerates Sutton Colliery and the mining industry and was featured on a Channel 4 programme The Big Art Project.  It is stunning – I’ve seen it against grey sky and blue sky and it is beautiful and serene.  I highly recommend a visit.

Then next stop  The Tate Liverpool and the Magritte exhibition The Pleasure Principle. (more…)

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