MADRID AND SEGOVIA
Art Out Loud at Chatsworth 20th September 2016
Those of us who were lucky enough to be in the group had a fascinating day. Barbara and Liz had carefully chosen three very contrasting talks. The first was Jonathan Rutter, a successful investment banker, in conversation with Matthew Parris. Coming originally from the North East, and with great encouragement from Neil MacGregor (British Museum) and Simon Jenkins (National Trust) he set about rescuing the Bishop’s Palace at Bishop Auckland with its exceptional collection of pictures depicting Jacob and his twelve sons by Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbaran. The Church Commissioners had planned to sell the paintings although they were an integral part of the Palace and its history. The only drawback of the talk was that the limited slides did not show any interior views of the palace, its historic chapel nor of the paintings. However it did take place in the theatre at Chatsworth, still with its original painted proscenium arch. Prior to that it had been a ballroom with open chambers at the rear for gentlemen to play cards and minstrels gallery still in evidence.
The bishop’s Palace/ Auckland Castle still has the tabled restoration outstanding but one can visit everyday except Tuesday.
Next was Grayson Perry in a colourful clown-like garment, designed by a student at St. Martins as are all his dresses. He called his talk Chinese Whispers: Global conversations between local artists’. With customary combination of humour and original insights, as displayed in his Reith Lectures – he went on to show us with a steam of illustrations how all art, including his own was derivative.
After the morning talks we had time to ourselves providing the opportunity to have lunch and to explore Sotherby’s selling exhibition of sculptures entitled Beyond Limits: the Landscape of British Sculpture 1950 -2015.The most dominant work of award winning sculpture "the Dappled Light in the Sun 1-111" was created by our last speaker, Conrad Shawcross.
He was in conversation with Tim Marlow. His work was on a large scale, often geometric. He saw his work as an exploration of a range of concepts including time and space and if I understood correctly, even language – perhaps because both his parents are writers. He claimed to have been saved this fate by dyslexia. Although he was the artist and designer of the work the help of an engineer was needed to bring the metal structures into being. Conrad referred to his sadness at not being able to be totally ‘hands on’ he had been in the past with some of his earlier sculptures in wood.
At the end of the afternoon the Duke of Devonshire took the stand to say that he and the Duchess hoped to put on a similar event next year. Personally I would be delighted if they did, especially as our visit was so ably organised by Liz Wake and Barbara Hudson. To them we give our warmest thanks.
Photograph - Barbara Hudson.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Members inspect Sue Ryder’s ‘Crawling Hare’
Thirty-two members of the Cavendish DFAS visited the YSP on September 1st
The day was a great success with the weather only disgracing itself with a short burst of rain during the afternoon.
The morning was spent visiting a major exhibition of the work of Henry Moore held in the Underground Gallery – the park has many of his large sculptures on view but the exhibition gave an insight into the creative mind of the artist and included personal artifacts, notes, sketches and photographs.
This was followed by an extremely good buffet lunch.
Afternoon activities were optional, some members had a guided tour in the grounds where they saw works by many artists including Barbara Hepworth, Antony Gormley, Sue Ryder and Paul Cummins/Tom Piper’s ‘Wave’ (of poppies) which was being erected ready for exhibition the following week. Others took a short stroll or brisk 4km walk in the grounds to view some of the permanent exhibits including Moore, Turrell, Nash, and the Caro exhibition in the Long Gallery, and the Chapel held an exhibition of work by Al Weiwei.
A most enjoyable day.
GLASGOW VISIT – 2ND – 5TH SETPEMBER 2014
Our first day in Glasgow was particularly dedicated to Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Glasgow born architect, artist and designer who with his wife, artist Margaret Macdonald, had a major influence on modern architecture and design in the early 20th century. The Hunterian is one of the leading university museums in the world. Its gallery houses the impressive paintings bequeathed by Dr. William Hunter and the reassembled interiors of the first Mackintosh house. In addition to seeing the largest collection of their works of art we viewed an outstanding display of paintings by James McNeill Whistler.
The Willow Tea Rooms and the Glasgow School of Art showed the imaginative designs of Mackintosh; but the School of Art was closed due to the recent fire.
In the afternoon we sampled some of the superb exhibits in the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, including the iconic painting of Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dali and fine collections of French Impressionists and the Glasgow Boys.
The second morning saw us at the House for an Art Lover, designed by Mackintosh for an international competition in 1901. With the initiative of The Glasgow City Council and the Glasgow School of Art the house was finally built to the Mackintosh design and completed in 1996. The result is a stunning testament not only to their imagination and artistry but also to the Scottish craftsmen who realised their dream.
Sir William Burrell, the wealthy ship owner, amassed one of the finest collections of art treasures in the world. In 1944 he donated the collection to the City of Glasgow, which is now imaginatively displayed in an award winning building in Pollock Park. The array of the finest examples of stained glass, tapestries, furniture, Chinese porcelain and paintings amazed us all.
The successful trip was crowned by a visit to the
17th century renaissance castle at Drumlanrig, home
of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensbury. We were
able to admire its architecture and Scotland's finest private
collections of paintings, including Rembrandt's An Old Lady
Reading and a fine van Dyck of Queen Henrietta Maria.
NEWBY HALL ON 25TH SEPTEMBER 2013
It was a dismal misty September morning when a 17-strong party boarded an Andrew's coach and headed for the Hall. Soon after leaving the motorway we were on quiet lanes and approaching the house through mature parkland and much improved weather.
After a welcome coffee we assembled for a guided tour of the house. This is a handsome pink brick 18th century house, modest in size by stately- home standards, sitting in an elevated position above the River Ure. Originally built in1697 with help from Sir Christopher Wren, several big changes have taken place over the centuries as different incumbents needed more space or had grand plans, particularly in the 1760's when William Weddell, an ancestor of the present owner and MP for Ripon, added wings and reallocated space with the help of architects that included Robert Adam. This, enabled by an inherited fortune, was to house his big collection of classical Roman antiquities brought back from Italy.
The next big impressions were the immaculate condition of the house in general (consistent but not preventing a cosy and well lived-in ambiance) and the wonderful plasterwork which makes this one of the country's best examples of a house interior designed and decorated by Robert Adam. These, together with the furniture made in collaboration with local boy, Thomas Chippendale, indicate the riches in this house. All the plasterwork has been refurbished relatively recently by the current owner's mother (an interior decorator) who kept to the original Adam colour palettes with the exception of the relocated Library which shone with warm terra cotta and cream, the original greys and blacks having been judged as too sombre. Notable also were fine Gobelin tapestries which were smuggled into the country to avoid import duty.
One of the bigger alterations was the addition of a large billiard and games room built above the original dining room. Dominated by carved oak and a full size billiard table, one could easily conjure up the extent of entertaining that the privileged occupants enjoyed.
Newby Hall’s succession of owners are reflected in the many portraits on the walls, from which we learnt about the families and their influences on the house and treasures within, some like the Sicilian marble in the entrance hall on an epic scale which made one wonder about the logistics of transport. The tour ended impressively in the classical sculpture gallery, the first of its kind in the country and naturally lit from an overhead atrium rotunda.
After a leisurely lunch in the restaurant we were free to explore the gardens. These had been lovingly and skilfully developed by the current owner’s grandfather and father and are noted especially for the long grassed walk from the house right down to the river, together with its double flank of generous herbaceous borders. Despite the lateness of the season, they were still glowing with colour. Carpets of autumn crocus and cyclamen under sculptural trees, intimate paved gardens and mature trees, already tinged, hinted at the seasonal colours about to come.
Some of us boarded the coach with sculptural additions for our own gardens purchased f rom the Zimbabwean artists displaying their work in an old walled kitchen garden area. Others had goodies from the plant centre and some even came away having enjoyed a whirl round the garden on its miniature railway! But we all left with the memory of a lovely home and garden, which owing to the late-season sparseness of other visitors, we seemed to have to ourselves.
Shortly after our visit, a BBC news item revealed that a rare twin-leaf Chippendale table which was stolen from Newby Hall in 2007 had been recovered in a police raid. It has since been returned to a delighted Richard Compton, who never expected to see it again.
DAVID AND DIANA LEWIS
EVENING AT CHATSWORTH –
14TH MAY 2013
After the talk, we made our way downstairs to the Orangery where we were able to enjoy a glass of wine and then on to the gallery to admire the paintings. These were beautifully displayed and Lady Emma mingled with us answering our many questions. Sadly, it was a very cool and showery evening and we were unable to tour the garden as much as we would have liked.
We are much indebted to Lady Emma, our President, for inviting us to a private viewing of her paintings and for giving us a little insight into many of the plants shown.
ISTANBUL – MAY 2012
On 9th May 2012 24 members of CADFAS arrived in Istanbul, and were greeted by our guide Ur.
We were taken to the waterside Hamdi Kebop Restaurant for a typical Turkish meal before returning to the Hotel Garden House where many of the rooms had a Turkish theme. Ours had a magnificent turkish bath – purely ornamental!!
10th May concentrated on the Ottoman heritage. The Sultan Ahmet camii (the Blue Mosque) built 1609-1616 has six minarets, quite unique. The mosque is square. The central dome is supported by four large marble piers with arches between. 260 windows illuminate 21,043 tiles. Surrounded on three sides by courtyards the portico is covered by 30 cupolas supported by 26 marble columns. We sat on the exit steps to replace our shoes before walking to the palace of the sultans (Topkapi Sarayi), built in 1453 it was their home for 300 years. The complex included state offices, pavilions, mosque, library, barracks and private quarters. In 1924 it became a museum. The exhibits were amazing, especially the Spoonmaker's diamond and the Topkapi Dagger. Many decorations had been presented to the Sultans by visiting heads of state, including the Order of the Garter presented by Queen Victoria in 1876. The harem with hospital, slaves and dowagers apartments, chambers of the favourites were all seen. Some of the court retainers lived here until 1908.
Hagia Sophia , Church of Sacred Wisdom, the best known Christian church in Istanbul, and the fourth largest in the world was our next stop. At the south of the central nave is a spectacular marble mosaic believed to be where the Byzantine emperors were crowned. On the Turkish conquest of Istanbul in 1453 by Mehmet II, the church was in a state of ruin. He lead the first Friday prayers and converted it to a mosque. Hagia Sophia, after many alterations was declared a national monument by order of Attaturk in 1934. After lunch, Ur took us to the Underground Cistern, best described as a flooded cathedral with a roof of vaulted brick supported on stone pillars.
The purpose was to give Istanbul a water system when under siege. Built in 306-337AD, 141 metres long, 73 metres wide, with 12 rows of 28 columns. After visiting a pottery shop we went to the Spice Bazaar, restored in 1943, when the raised wooden counters were replaced by shop fronts. Only six of the original remain.
11th May – restful – we took the local ferry on the 90 minute cruise on the Bosphorous. Sharp elbows were essential boarding procedure!! We saw castles, mansions and picturesque villages. We disembarked at the last stop, where we were welcomed to the Anadolu restaurant by the waiters waving flags of different nations. One of our group arrived in state, aboard a water taxi, after a visit to the bank – very splendid. A coach then took us to the Beylerbeyi Palace (1865) – a summer palace, no heating, no fireplaces, no chimneys. The patron of the palace was also patron of the navy-the Ottoman Fleet became second only to the British Navy. The last Sultan of Turkey was a prisoner here and died in 1918. We climbed the Camlica Hill and could see panoramic views of Europan and Asian sides of the City. The population is now over 17 million, divided by three seas – The Golden Horn, The Bosphorous, and the Sea of Marmara.
12th May – we walked to the Hippodrome (203AD), enlarged in 325AD, seating 100,000 spectators. In this area we admired the Egyptian obelisk brought by sea in 390AD, and Constantine’s column dating from the 4th century. We then walked to a carpet shop near the Grand Bazaar. We saw many carpets and various techniques were explained to us. The work is so fine that the workers are only allowed to work 30 minutes at a time. The Grand Bazaar is the largest market in Istanbul – enjoyed by everyone!
In the afternoon we visited Kariye Museum, once known as Chora Church. Dating back to Constantine the Great, turned into a mosque in the eleventh century, it is now a historical monument to Early Christian mosaics depicting the life of Christ.
evening we all dined in the hotel garden, surrounded by walnut
trees. One of our party was celebrating a special birthday and
the hotel made her a fantastic cake with candles and fruit,
which was shared by us all. A lovely end to a very informative
few days. Our thanks go to Jean Monks for organising our trip.
Thank you Jean
TRIP TO THE ST PANCRAS HOTEL
After the excellent talk last autumn on St Pancras Station and the Hotel, I went on one of the guided tours around the Hotel at the end of February. Royston Stock, the Hotel Guide, was such an enthusiast and was so knowledgeable on every aspect of the original construction and its renovation that we were all carried along with his passion. What should have been a 75-minute tour became a two-hour plus tour.
We met up in the main reception area (where the taxis used to drive through!) and passed through to the main staircase. This was stunning! the beautiful stonework, the wrought ironwork, the murals, the decorated ceiling, and of course, the magnificent carpet. We then moved on to the Ladies Smoking Room (the ceiling was magnificent), the balcony overlooking Euston Road, the long corridor, a private sitting room and a 'typical bedroom suite'. So much has been restored to its original design and style and it would appear no expense had been spared.
After a fascinating visit we repaired to the Entrance Hall for a much-needed cup of tea, though I am sure there were many who then went on to the Betjeman Bar (the old Booking Office) for something a little stronger. ELIZABETH WETHERALL
THE NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM AND CATTON HALL – TUESDAY 12TH OCTOBER 2010
The above visit will include the Act of Remembrance in the Millennium Chapel, followed by a welcome talk. There will then be a guided tour, before lunch at 12.30, which on Tuesdays is Bangers & Mash with potatoes and veg, followed by Jam Roly-Poly and tea or coffee. After lunch we travel to Catton Hall which has been in the hands of the same family since 1405 and remains the private home of the Neilsons. The present house, originally designed by James Gibbs and built by Smith of Warwick in 1742, is virtually unchanged and contains its original collection of fine family and Royal portraits, as well as 17th and 18th century paintings and antique furniture. There are fascinating family connections with Lord Byron, as well as with Napoleon and the Duke of Cumberland, George III’s brother. We will have a guided tour, followed by afternoon tea.
The cost of the above is £35 per person.
VISIT TO HAWORTH ART GALLERY AND MANCHESTER ART GALLERY – 12TH MAY 2010
Accrington may not be the first place one would think of visiting for an important collection outside America! However, following our excellent lecture on Tiffany glassware, a group went by coach to the Haworth Art Gallery on May 12th. This was an excellent follow up to the lecture by Diana Lloyd. Why the Haworth Gallery? The Tiffany glassware collection is housed in the former ‘Hollins Hill’., the retirement home of cotton manufacturer William Haworth, which he built in 1909. It is a beautiful Arts and Crafts house in its own right, with a collection of paintings; all was the gift of William and his sister Anne to the town in their wills.
The collection of glassware came to William Haworth as a gift from one Joseph Briggs (1873-1938) who was a design apprentice in a calico works in Accrington but emigrated to America to seek his fortune, and worked for Tiffany from 1892 for 40 years. He shipped three crates of the glass back to his home town, hence the collection. This includes beautiful vases, ‘Flowerform’ vases shaped like vegetables, ‘Millefore Paperweight’ vases, small and squat, and ‘Intaglio’ or cut glass examples; all introduced to us by the curator. The colours and incandescence are gorgeous. In addition there are ‘samplers’ relating to decorative schemes Briggs was involved with, brilliantly backlit, but only one lampshade!
Following this half day visit Jean arranged an afternoon visit to Manchester Art Gallery. In Manchester we were given an illustrated talk and introduction to their important pre-Raphaelite collection. We were introduced to some notable examples with their imagery, including ‘The Hireling Shepherd’ and ‘The Light of the World’ by Holman Hunt; ‘Autumn Leaves’ by Millais; and ‘Work’ by Ford Maddox-Brown. The paintings are still fresh and clear due to the conscientiousness, detail and craftsmanship of the artists. This was a marvellous precursor to our excellent lecture in May by Nicholas Bagshawe. Both galleries are well worth a visit! ALAN KENT
LITTLE MORETON HALL AND BIDDULPH GRANGE GARDENS – 16TH SEPTEMBER 2009
As a Brummie familiar with the black and white architecture of Stratford-upon-Avon and the Welsh Marches, who then moved to East Anglia and the timber buildings of, say, Lavenham, Kersey and Coggeshall, I half expected to be under-whelmed by Little Moreton Hall. How wrong can you be?
Built over the course of some hundred years between the early 16th and early 17th centuries, this moated three-storey building with its flamboyant timber frame and sparkle of leaded widows looks too flimsy and top-heavy to have survived for 500 years. Even the afterthought of the Long Gallery which perches incongruously over the length of the south range of buildings (for the whole encloses three sides of a large cobbled courtyard) has not been enough to confirm James Lee-Milne’s image of “the absurd half-timbered structure….topping(like) an ancient pack of cards…to meet…its own reflection”. But it caused the National Trust a lot of headaches before the structure was successfully stabilised.
It is a house in which one would not like to have to hang shelves or pictures. There isn’t a level surface or right angle in the place, thanks to the movement of the original green oak. One room has an impressive stone fireplace that seems to be falling over but is in fact plumb, and the floor, walls and ceiling swing around it. The three generations of Moretons who built the Hall were wealthy and keen that everyone should know it. So they used the very best materials – hard to beat the 30,000 leaded panes in the windows, nor the immense oak coffered ceiling in the Parlour – and the very latest ideas like the frieze in the Withdrawing Room, painted on paper with a biblical story, and pasted to the wall above the hand-painted ”panelling”. And then there’s the furniture – not much of it, but including three wonderful oak pieces mentioned in an inventory of 1599, among them the unusual “great round table” on an ogee-arched hexagonal base and a huge “cupboards of boxes” with drawers for valuable herbs and spices concealed behind a pair of locked doors. “Money no object” extends to the present day, it seems – we met a conservator cleaning oak panelling with a suede shoe brush, one hour per panel, and outside a gardener clipping the box hedges of the knot garden with hand shears, 80 hours of work a year.
Moving on, we came to Biddulph Grange Gardens where mechanical trimmers were in full swing on the extensive and elaborate yew hedge partitions of the terrace “rooms”. This is a high Victorian garden, restored to the original design of James Bateman, and incorporating in its 16 acres a widely-ranging plant collection. We were there at just the right time to be amazed by the dahlia walk, with its rank upon rank of technicolour blooms, but this is a garden to be enjoyed at any time of year. Narrow footpaths twist and turn round rocky outcrops, through tunnels, over bridges and link themed areas – Egypt, with a clipped yew pyramid; China, with still green water, pagoda and idols; Italy, with formal symmetrical planting – but beyond the busy central area are long walks and vistas that our time there did not allow us to visit.
As usual, thanks go to Jean Monks for her careful organisation, but also to David, not for acting as rounder-up of stragglers this time, but for driving us all in the Bakewell Community Bus, and getting us everywhere, and home again early and in one piece. JENNIE COFFEY
VICTORIA BATHS AND THE MONASTERY, MANCHESTER – 14TH OCTOBER 2009
Our trip to Manchester was to see two very different buildings, both the subject of major restoration work after being rescued from increasing dereliction. The first was the Victoria Baths, a magnificent public bath complex designed by city architect, Henry Price, and opened in 1906 by Manchester Corporation. On arrival we had coffee and biscuits, after which we split into two groups to be shown round the baths. It soon became obvious why the agreed building costs of £39,316.10s. had increased to over £59,000 by the time the project was completed. From the elaborate two-tone brick and honey-coloured exterior to the lavishly decorated interior with its extensive areas of floor to ceiling tiling, stained glass windows and ornamental ironwork, to mention but a few features, it certainly fulfilled the city council’s desire to provide a bigger and better public baths.
We saw the three swimming pools (25yds, none of course in use at present) with their separate entrances, their designations ‘Males 1st Class’, ‘Males 2nd Class’ and ‘Females’ reflecting the attitudes of the time. Needless to say, Males 1st Class had the widest pool (40ft) and the best entrance hall which was covered throughout with ornate dark green and cream tiling, with tiled balustrade and mosaic floor with a fish design. Females had to be content with a simple but pretty iron and wood banister and a plain floor. Females also had to make do with the third washings of water for their pool, filtered through sand each time after use by Males 1st Class and Males 2nd Class. Also of great interest was the Turkish Baths Suite, a series of rooms tiled over floor and ceiling in shades of aquamarine and ochre, with its accompanying opulent rest room for cooling off afterwards. At 2s. 6d. a time this was only for the better off! Other facilities included 64 wash-baths and an ‘aerotone’ (jacuzzi) installed in 1952, which looks like a giant stainless steel milk churn with perforated sides and base. There is room for one person at a time to enter down a short ladder and sit on a stool at the bottom to enjoy the bubbling waters.
Next we went to Gorton Monastery, another magnificent edifice built almost solely by one Irish and six Belgian Franciscan friars who arrived in Gorton in 1861. Designed by Edward Pugin in high Victorian Gothic style, the church was acclaimed as ‘a triumph of Catholic architecture’. Unusually it was orientated north-south so that it rose from the surrounding fields standing broadside on to largely protestant Manchester. Moreover the spire rose forty feet higher than the tower of Manchester Cathedral – a statement indeed.
We began our visit with a delicious lunch of soup, sandwiches and cake at tables laid out in the nave, a somewhat surreal experience in this huge empty space, overlooked by the great crucifix hanging high over the chancel steps. After lunch, still in the church, we were given an informative illustrated talk covering the history of the monastery, with many interesting details about the building process, its life, decline and subsequent restoration. We noted the way the plentiful natural light illuminated various architectural details, and discussed briefly whether the superb high altar, designed by Peter Paul Pugin, should be restored. Most of us felt that it retained a more poignant beauty in its now vandalised state.
After a short while to wander round the church and grounds on our own, we boarded the coach to return home, well satisfied in all respects with another NADFAS visit. CAROLINE STORR
THE ANDERTON BOAT LIFT AND NANTWICH SALT MUSEUM – 19TH MAY 2009
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last edited 15/02/2017 09:39:30