Friday, February 23, 2018

Charles I - the Collector at London's RA

And he was quite a collector

It's just over a week since I took a (too brief) look at the Royal Academy exhibition highlighting the collecting of Charles I 1600- 1649).

I was surprised at how busy the place was as well as the amazing scope of the work Charles had.

As well as finding out more about the Judeo-Christian faith an interest in Art can (as in this case) give something of an overview of a period of history (here the removal of the king and the  rise of Cromwell)

It is also worth noting (I think) that the English court at the time was internationalist with many connections to the continent (Charles had many works from Holland, Italy and Spain).

Highlights for me included seeing paintings of 'subjects' (biblical here) I'd seen other Artists tackle, like Titian's Supper at Emmaus (1530-35) - a great painting but so different from the representation by Caravaggio in 1601 (-Supper at Emmaus) and another version of Christ in the House of Martha and Mary - here by Hans Vredeman de Vries from about 1566.

There's  plenty of Van Dyck (famous horseback portraits of the King)I also liked Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Cristofano Allori. - I will definitely try and fit another visit in

The  guide is, I find  useful for making notes!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Liverpool 25 -ish years on (and back home)

And back..

The weather was kind to us.
So a good trip to see a City that has reinvented itself on several occasions, I'm not sure how much of the current  reincarnation is attributable (in part at least)  to Lord Heseltine.


Among the drivers for Tourism in Liverpool the Beatles are undoubtedly among the top 5 - there's still a magic associated with the group and its roots in the city nearly 50 years since they ceased to be a group.

The Beatles were more than just John and Paul so I felt sad to hear of Quincy Jones bad mouthing  many but Ringo in particular and where's his house on this postcard!

There's something about a civic statue to a bunch of young men who (with George Martin & Brian Epstein)  helped culturally shape the world we now inhabit - it's not what statues and memorials commemorated  for hundreds of years - 

Their spirit permeates the city

Could be better (who is who?)

Eating out

I enjoyed the variety of eateries our last evening meal was a Spanish  restaurant where we enjoyed Tapas - and even there a Liverpool twist was on the menus with a 'Scouse' Tapas.

Lunya- Eating here caused some discomfit 

The meal though was influenced by the sight of people living in the Street opposite - The  Homeless I discovered are not only a problem in London and I recognise the issue is not just about money - many of the rough sleepers are battling demons of earlier issues they've confronted. 


But Liverpool is lively  there's the Graffiti of 
Dotmaster in Parr Street, exciting street art in new housing developments and shopping malls.

Parr St - One of the works by Dotmaster
In one of areas with expensive shops 

Colourful Sculpture - Part of a new development at the back of our hotel

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Liverpool 25 -ish years on (Day 3) and OXFAM

Liverpool has an important Chinese community - one of the oldest it's twinned with Shanghai and has a monster gate (or Paifang ) built in 2000 it has the longest span for a gate outside China.

Liverpool's Chibnese gate - quite a span

It was great to be in the city for the celebrations for the Chinese New Year (this year it's the Year of the Dog).

As well as the usual drumming and crowds there was a fun fair!

Families and Fun celebrate the New Year -Gong Hei Fat Choy!

After lunch we took a trip to the new Liverpool Museum - great guided tour (for free) and learnt plenty of the history of the docks and how people survived in tougher times.

Particularly impressed by the Liverpool Cityscape of Ben Johnson (2008) as well as our friendly guide.

A Museum that reflects the city

'Contrite' Oxfam

Once Proud
Let's face it the biggest (individuals and companies)  and the best can muck up fail - who would have thought that Woolworths could disappear from UK high streets leaving barely an impression or that a throwaway remark from Ratner's CEO would destroy another brand (this used to be the text book example on many MBA classes)?

It's sometime since I was actively supporting OXFAM (I worked as a volunteer assistant in their local Record shop for a few hours a week) , I thought it was a legitimate thing to do the charity had good goals, I suppose I was even proud to be associated with them.

Well now we learn they have had bad employees and hushed up what happened, rather than behave like adults - they've made their troubles worse (as a child might) by

1) Hiding the facts
2) Saying others do the same
3) Saying it's not that serious (impropriety to staff and those they seek to help)
4) Offering a full apology when the game's up

The service that they've done (unwittingly) is exposed the charity sector is not properly monitored (and they have voluntary contributions, tax breaks and UK government money).

I'm not sure that the outfit will fully recover but reform is needed.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Liverpool 25 -ish years on (Day 2)

One of those iconic things about Liverpool is that Ferry - you can take it across the Mersey.

Sir Peter Blake was commissioned 
He Dazzled and We took it

The round trip is not a long one (about an hour all in)  but there's plenty to see and learn about the Ferry (a version has been crossing the river for hundreds of years).

You can also see a different view of the 'Three Graces'.

Liver building on the left (once the tallest building in Europe)

Another Dazzler

We also took a city bus tour which told of the 'Good Old Days' (not so good low life expectancy, Typhoid and slums ) but also the pioneering work of  Borough Medical Officer William Henry Duncan .