Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

For Olympia - ♥thank you♥

The Julian Alps
Photo taken exactly two years ago during our stay in Kranjska Gora.  Kranjska Gora is located in the Upper Sava Valley in the far northwest of Slovenia. It borders Austria and Italy, both of which are within good walking distance.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Autumn Colours

courtesy BBC
Autumn - Edward Atkinson Hornel - The Tate
It's official - the autumn colours this year are the best for a long time.
courtesy wikipedia
Autumn Leaves - Sir John Everett Millais - Manchester City art Gallery
A final flourish, a last gasp as the days grow shorter, the nights darker, the sun weaker, the moon brighter.
courtesy wikipedia
 Fruits of Autumn - James Peal 1829
"I know you are there" heralding the winter - peeping, teasing, lurking behind the colourful leaves.
"It is only a matter of time before you will open your icy fingers, and spread your own winter wonderland".

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Cheltenham Spa

Sculpture of Neptune, the ancient Roman God of sea and water, holding a trident surrounded by seahorses and tritons. Designed in 1892 by the town's Borough Engineer who was influenced by the Trevi Fountain in Rome.
Cheltenham Spa is our nearest centre for major items of shopping, theatre, and the arts. It is the most complete regency town in England, and has been welcoming visitors for nearly three hundred years, ever since the discovery of the first natural spring. The first Cheltenham Guide written in 1781 described a visit to the town as 'a journey of health and pleasure'. According to legend the first medicinal waters were discovered when pigeons were noticed pecking at salty deposits which had formed around a spring on the present site of the now well known Cheltenham Ladies College school.
In 1788 King George III came for five weeks to take the water cure; he was followed by many aristocratic and distinguished figures of the period, and Cheltenham's transformation into a fashionable resort began.
The boulevards are wide, lined with large mature trees and elegant buildings. In an area called Montpellier are found one of the town's most enduring images: the caryatids - they decorate the 1820s shopping arcade which developed to serve the needs of visitors to the nearby spa.
This is a piece of sculpture by Sophie Ryder showing a Minotaur and Hare. Sophie lives in the Cotswolds but is an internationally recognised sculptor. What I love about the sculpture is the way Sophie has created something so gentle and enduring out of a pile of rusty old industrial waste. This is recycling at its most imaginative and rewarding.
I enjoy the power of the Minotaur but also his tenderness towards his lady hare, and her rather timorous, almost shy disposition. Look how his big strong arm protects her.
This post is leading me on to the latest Architectural Quiz.
All the answer is revealed on this plaque
I remember talking to H about this building when I first came across it. I mentioned that I had discovered a lovely building in Cheltenham which reminded me of an Italian Palazzo. At that stage it had not been restored, did not have a plaque with the above information on it, nor was it called the Strozzi Palace.
Today it has been converted into luxury boutique hotel suites.
Amazingly my dear blogging friend Gina at Art and Alfalfa got the correct answer. Gina - I am very impressed.
Palazzo Strozzi, Florence via wikipedia
Another post on Cheltenham here

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Architectural Quiz

Another architectural quiz along the same lines as the previous one. 
Can you guess the original function of this building?
Any suggestions as to where it might be located?
Where do you think its architectural influences came from?
I will tell you about it in my next post.
Sooty is getting bolder and bolder. Today he arrived with his girlfriend, but she scampered off quickly through the bushes when she saw me. Sooty, however, stood his ground and stared at me thought the sitting room window.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A Living Work of Art

A walk in the landscape, not just any old landscape. 
Over 250 years ago, this one had the accolade of being described as a living work of art.
These trunks all belong to one tree - a Western Red Cedar, it is one of the tallest of its kind at 40.8m (134ft).
Welcome to Stourhead, the acclaimed landscape created in the 1740s by 'Henry the Magnificent' which changed the way gardens were designed forever.
Henry Hoare dominated the Hoare family through his wealth and personal charisma; for 60 years he was a partner in the C. Hoare & Co. Bank. The bank is the oldest privately owned banking house in the country, founded by Sir Richard Hoare, in 1672. It still remains family-owned and is currently managed by the 11th generation of Sir Richard Hoare's direct descendants. Famous early customers were Catherine of Braganza - wife of Charles II, Samuel Pepys, John Dryden (poet) Sir Godfrey Kneller (painter) and Richard Beau Nash.
The lake taken from within one of the Grottoes.
The lake is central to the design at Stourhead, the lake's edges being adorned with classical temples, enchanting grottoes and rare exotic trees.
Across the lake to the Palladio Bridge and St. Peter's church.
Gothic Thatched Cottage
cosy inside
Memory branches for visitors to record their impressions
Originally called the Temple of Hercules this building featured a statue of that ancient hero who was associated with gardens in Roman times. By the mid 1760s, Henry Hoare had bought and installed six more statues to flank Hercules, and it became known as The Pantheon.