25 October 2016

Drawing Tuesday - V&A

The meeting place was the cast courts, because of the splendid stuff they contain ...

 But the other cast court is being renovated, with screeches and bangs that reverbrate disturbingly, so we each found somewhere else to go.
 I stayed for a while and took some photos - the next is a closeup of the one above, wonderful cascades of cloth -
 ... and Ms Threeface is at one corner of the monument -
A convenient bench gave this view -
 ... and again the camera was useful for "seeing" the details

 and pulling the upper areas into focus -
Result, a page of careful looking at shapes and patterns, and of trying to get the column to fit on the page without measuring (third time lucky). Measuring with a pencil held at arm's length is a good check, but as a tutor in some class said, "try it by eye first". That helps with getting the proportions intuitive - you do a lot of checking against what's nearby, and switch back and forth with the negative spaces.
Finally fleeing the noise, I went to the Chinese room and was captivated by the colours of these vessels, part of the emperor's rituals to ensure that heaven and earth didn't get out of synch.
 The museum's website puts it better: "Chinese emperors of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) performed rituals every year at the Altars of Heaven, Earth, the Sun and the Moon. The rituals were considered essential for the well-being of the empire. Porcelains of different colours were placed at different altars. Dark blue was used for the Altar of Heaven, yellow for Earth, red for the Sun and light blue ( 'moon white') for the Moon. While performing the ritual the emperor would have worn a sacrificial robe of a matching colour."

Miniatures - Ming dynasty (1368-1644) tomb furniture included garment hangers and a tower stand -
What did we find this week? Going round the table ...
Janet's madonna and child

Michelle rubbed back the graphite background, then added the jar
(and couldn't resist the jagged shape)

Najlaa's closely observed mosaic flooring

Carole's staircase and finial

Sue's golden mask of a king, 1700-1800

Jo's bronze vessel, 1200-1100BC

Joyce was in the 20th century gallery
 Showing and telling ...

24 October 2016

Going walkies

While the weather is good is a good time to get some exercise, preferably out in the countryside.

Saturday's walk was billed as "River Brent and Osterley - a leisurely 6 mile walk".
After traversing the little park near the station, we passed under Brunel's Wharncliffe viaduct -
The story goes that Queen Victoria would have her train stopped on the viaduct so that she could admire the view (photo of view not possible just now...)
Further along, the Hanwell flight of locks -
 and this charming lock keeper's cottage -
Beside the locks is a mighty wall, repaired in crucial places -
Behind it was - and is - the asylum. St Bernard's Hospital is still active as part of West London NHS Mental Health Trust. It came into being in 1831 (when prisons, cemeteries, etc were being shifted to the outskirts of London), and the old buildings are still there ... behind that wall ...

Over the canal -
 ... over the M4 -
 ... and soon to Osterley Park, well used on a sunny Saturday afternoon -
 A long tea stop at Osterley House cafe -
On the way to Isleworth station, this imposing building - Borough Road College, now Lancaster House, Osterley campus of Brunel University. The college dates back to 1889 in this location, and 1798 on its former site on the Borough Road in Soutwark. 
 Through leafy streets to the station (and a little window shopping in Richmond) -
I couldn't trace the exact route on the map -

It didn't feel like "enough" walking so I tried a longer walk the next day:

Seer Green to Amersham via Penn Street

Moderate 11.3 miles / 18.2 km
Linear to Amersham Station (Metropolitan Line, Zone 9) over gently undulating terrain via Coleshill Common, Winchmore Hill, Penn Street, Little Missenden and Amersham Old Town. Through beech woods, some good views and attractive villages. Lunch stop at 'The Squirrel' pub or bring picnic.
As this walk was twice as long, there are twice as many photos - taken on the hoof as the pace was verging on "challenging" for me.
The golden road not taken
Lanes, fields, blue sky
Woods and leaf-litter
Inky caps - exciting to see them after reading about them in years past
Unlike on television, the scenery is 3D
The sign on the post at left says "Quilts" - but I'm not sure of the name of the village
Another sign, in front of Winchmore Hill Memorial Hall
More woods - of a different sort
Lunch stop - but buying a drink didn't give us the "right" to eat our own food on the benches outside
Penn Street village church, at the edge of  Penn Wood
"Mop End" - ah those quaint names!
Regrowth of beech
Across the fields to some village or other...
... Little Missenden
Little Missenden Manor House - its tall chimneys visible from afar
Countryside pursuits
The little river flows under the houses ... charming
Woodsmoke, the smell of autumn
Reminds me of Anselm Kiefer
The house at the top of the hill...
... and its lake at the bottom of the hill (Humphrey Repton dammed the River Misbourne to create it)
Old Amersham runs...
... along a long street ...
... to the 1682 Market Hall ...
... and the church is round the corner
Climbing the (considerable) hill to New Amersham
Through more lovely woods ...
... and finally to the station. The last mile was definitely the toughest, but I'll happily do it again. Red kites and buzzards overhead, flinty fields and crisp leaves underfoot. Not too much mud - yet.