Some art in Bristol

Saturday, October 25th 2014

The purpose of our visit to the beautiful city of Bristol was to meet a cousin of Tigger’s and much of the visit was taken up with this. We met in Bristol’s Museum & Art Gallery and managed to have a look at some of the exhibits on show. Photography is permitted without flash and I show a selection of the works we saw, plus a few other things, below.

Main entrance
Main entrance
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

The Museum & Art Gallery building is very handsome. The exterior, with its columns, manage to be both Classical and modern at the same time. It was built between 1899 and 1904 in the period of transition from the Victorian to the Edwardian eras. It received a Grade II* listing in 1966.

Gifted by William Henry Wills
Gifted by Sir William Henry Wills

Beneath a finely carved coat of arms of Bristol, an inscription reminds us that this establishment is “The gift of Sir William Henry Wills, Bart, to his fellow citizens”, a magnanimous gesture for which I imagine, the citizens of Bristol still remain grateful. Sir William was a member of the Bristol tobacco importing family which formed the W.D. & H.O. Wills tobacco and cigarette company that eventually merged into the Imperial Tobacco Company.

Traditional swing-door entrance
Traditional swing-door entrance

The way in is through a pair of traditional swing doors in wood and glass. These are accessed up a flight of steps though there is a separate entrance for wheelchairs.

Flanked by telamones
Flanked by telamones

Inside the museum, the doors are flanked by a pair of telamones (the masculine analogue of female caryatids), supporting a balcony above them.

Telamon
Telamon
One of the pair flanking the doorway

While the building is of elegant proportions, the attention to detail and the careful finish (look at the veins on the telamon’s foot, for example) also impress, making this a building that you enjoy exploring for its own sake.

Sekhmet
Sekhmet
Lioness goddess of Ancient Egypt

Near the doors stand a couple of Ancient Egypt sculptures and I photographed this one because she is feline. It is Sekhmet, the lioness goddess, daughter of the sun god Re. This is actually not the original but a plaster cast of the statue that probably dates from the 18th dynasty and is therefore around 3,400 years old.

The second hall
The second hall
Damaged by a bomb but beautifully repaired

The ground floor plan comprises two halls of which this is the second. It is largely taken up with tables and chairs for use by customers of the cafe, though there are exhibits all around in the side aisles. In the evening of November 24th 1940, a bomb fell through the glass and metal roof and exploded in this hall. You would hardly guess that today, so excellent has the repair work been, though there remain some chips and scars on the pillars as reminders of that destructive event.

The Cafe
The Cafe

We had made an early start in order to get here for a reasonable hour and so it was pleasant to make a pause and take refreshment in the cafe.

After meeting with our people we went on a tour of the museum and art gallery. What follows is a purely capricious sampling of what we saw, without any order to it.

Porcelain flask
Porcelain flask
Ming Dynasty, 1426-35

Every self-respecting museum must have its Ming vase or, if not a vase, at least some beautiful artifact from that fabled Chinese era. Bristol has its piece of Ming, described as a flask (slip that into your hip pocket!) modelled on Middle Eastern designs. It is finely decorated with scrolls in underglaze blue.

This exhibit illustrates the main two problems associated with photographing museum objects. The first is reflection from the protective glass and the second is the illumination which is often narrowly focussed and creates over-bright highlights. In this case, the glass reflecting the vase made a nice counterbalance for the main image.

Portrait of a Man in a Beaver Hat
Portrait of a Man in a Beaver Hat
Samuel Colman, 1835

One of the pleasures of visiting art collections is the discovery of an artist I wasn’t previously aware of. I didn’t know Samuel Colman (1780-1845) but was rather taken with this portrait. The sitter is not named, which suggests this was not a commissioned portrait, and this fact has perhaps allowed the artist to be frank in his rendition of the man’s features. The man’s character shines through and you can imagine that he has made, or is about to make, some pithily humorous remark to the artist. (Apologies for the unwanted reflections on the glass.)

The Artist and her Mother
The Artist and her Mother
Rolinda Sharples, 1816

Another artist whose acquaintance I made here, so to speak, was Rolinda Sharples. A member of a family of artists, Rolinda (1793-1838) specialized in portraits and genre pieces. There were several of her paintings on display (see below, for another) and they show that she was an extremely competent painter with a eye for detail. The artist herself appears in several of her pictures, as above, and you soon begin to feel that you know her because her self-portraits vividly express her personality. While the picture above is a charming family piece, it is also carefully composed and finished and intended to display her prowess as an artist.

The Village Gossips
The Village Gossips
Rolinda Sharples, c. 1828

The above painting, representing two elderly ladies exchanging gossip, while a third listens covertly, risks being a cliché but I think the artist saves it from this fate with her accurate portrayal and humorous touches (the eavesdropper, the cat running past unnoticed with a bird in his mouth). To our eyes, this is a period piece, a scene from a costume drama, but to the artist, this was something immediate and real.

The Mountains of Thermopylae
The Mountains of Thermopylae
Edward Lear, 1852

We now remember Edward Lear (1812-88) principally for his humorous verse but he was as much a painter as a poet and specialized in ornithological pictures. I find that there is a dreamy quality to his paintings of the landscape of Greece and Egypt but, at the same time, there is the realism of an artist who knows the land and feels at one with it. The costumed figures may date the work but the painting itself has a timeless quality.

The Temple of Dendera, Upper Egypt
The Temple of Dendera, Upper Egypt
David Roberts, 1841

I was attracted to this painting by the subject (Ancient Egypt!) and the grandeur both of the subject and of the painting itself. The reduced size of the image here present does not do justice to it, so please click on it to see a larger (though still inadequate) version. The artist liked architectural subjects and undertook a tour of the Middle East to broaden his portfolio. He uses human figures to show the scale of the temple though he cheats a little – the state of preservation of the sculpted faces is not as good as he makes it out to be here!

The Bristol Boxkite
The Bristol Boxkite
British & Colonial Aeroplane Company, 1910-4

One of the largest exhibits is the suspended Bristol Biplane. Nicknamed the ‘Bristol Boxkite’, these planes were made in the years 1910 to 1914 in Bristol by the British & Colonial Aeroplane Company. This one is actually a model, created for the film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, 1963.

Alfred the Gorilla
Alfred the Gorilla
Bristol Zoo 1930-48

The museum has a collection of preserved birds and animals. As a child I loved visiting the animals in Brighton Museum but these days I am less keen on them, though I recognize that some collections have proved their value to scientific research. This portrait shot is of Alfred the Gorilla who became famous nationally and internationally from his arrival in Bristol Zoo in 1930. At his death in 1948 he was the world’s longest living gorilla in captivity.

Daedalus Equiping Icarus
Daedalus Equiping Icarus
Francis Derwent Wood, 1895
Click for slideshow

In a corner by a staircase, in somewhat cramped conditions, stands this bronze sculpture by Francis Derwent Wood (1871-1926). It is referred to variously as Daedalus and Icarus or Daedalus Equiping Icarus. The story of the father and son pair who escape imprisonment by flying on artificial wings created by the inventive Daedalus and which ends tragically when the son exultantly flies too near the sun, causing the wax to melt and the wings to disintegrate, is well known. We know the exploit to be a legend and the feat to be physically impossible but the story continues to intrigue us and the sculpture, with its realistic scaled up birds’ wings makes it seem almost possible. It is a beautiful piece and rightly secured for the young sculptor a gold medal and a travelling scholarship of £200 from the Royal Academy Schools.

Truth
Truth
Francis Derwent Wood, 1913

The same artist also made the bronze figure of a young woman holding a lamp and entitle Truth.

Eve at the Fountain
Eve at the Fountain
Edward Hodges Baily, 1821
Click for slideshow

This beautiful sculpture in white marble presented a puzzle when I first saw it as I could not find the artist’s name or any details. Looking it up on the Web, I was hampered by not knowing its name. In the end, I emailed the museum and asked for information which they kindly supplied. I was then able to find further details online. The sculpture, done (I believe) in 1821, is by Edward Hodges Baily, famous for his statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson that stands atop Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square. Quoting from the museum’s email, “The figure illustrates the passage in [Milton’s] Paradise Lost after Eve has eaten the apple and become aware of her own reflection in the pool.” Baily was born in Bristol and this piece was one of the first of the museum’s art acquisitions.

Kathleen
Kathleen
Sir Jacob Epstein, 1935
Click for slideshow

To round off our tour what better way than to discover a bronze by my favourite sculptor, Jacob Epstein (1880-1959). Epstein’s sculpture covers a dizzyingly broad range of styles and techniques and he is the key figure in modern sculpture. He produced many portrait busts and heads, both of famous people and of members of his family. The Kathleen portrayed here is Kathleen Garman, Epstein’s long-term mistress whom he eventually married after the death of his wife. Epstein made several portraits of his muse Kathleen and these tend to be known by their number in the sequence. Thus this is the fifth portrait of Kathleen.

Staircase Lion
Staircase Lion

I started the sculpture tour with a lioness, so I will end it with a lion! Lions, sitting bolt upright, adorn the ends of the balustrades on the staircases. They have a slightly dreamy air to them. They are no longer the fierce, proud lions of the Victorian age of Empire, but softer, more reflective creatures, seemingly aware that they sit on the brink of great changes.

Copyright © 2014 SilverTiger, http://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

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200 grams better off

Monday, October 20th 2014

Today was the day for Freya’s follow-up visit to the vet (see Freya under the knife). I wasn’t looking forward to this because I thought  that if Freya suspected she was about to be put in the basket, not only would she run away and hide but would become stressed.

In the event, it all went smoothly. I managed to fetch the cage down and open it ready without her seeing or hearing anything suspicious. Then I just swept her up in my arms and deposited her inside it. To my surprise, there were no complaints, no yowls of alarm during the 10-minute walk to the vet’s.

The vet examined Freya carefully and pronounced himself satisfied with her condition. The next job was to weigh her. He plonked her on the scales and she promptly walked off them again. I put her back and tried to distract her so that she stood still long enough for the vet to get a reading.

“She’s gained 200 grams,” said he. Jubilation all round.

One of the symptoms of the thyroid problem was that, though Freya was eating heartily, she was steadily losing weight. Now, just 6 days after the operation, she has gained 200 grams, a cause for celebration.

“At this rate, we’ll be having to put you on a diet,” I told her…

In theory, now her metabolism isn’t running in overdrive, Freya should be eating less. So far, though, I see no sign of a decrease in appetite. She eats everything I give her, and then Oliver-Twists me for more.

Contrary to what many people think, cats do have facial expressions. Freya is capable of looking smug, puzzled, nervous and a few other things as well. This afternoon, sitting with her, I saw she was wearing her “wide” face. I realized I hadn’t seen this expression for some time. It means she is calm and contented. I take the return of this expression to mean that she is well on the way to recovery.

Copyright © 2014 SilverTiger, http://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

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Angels and elephants

Saturday, October 18th 2014

The city we visited today began as an Anglo-Saxon village called Coffan Treo, meaning ‘Coffa’s Tree’. Perhaps the said tree was used as a meeting place and became associated with Coffa because he lived nearby. In the fullness of time, the name evolved into the one by which we know it today, Coventry. As far as I am aware, the ‘o’ in Coventry is pronounced like the ‘o’ in ‘bother’ and ‘hover’ but I also hear people pronounce the name as though the first two syllables rhyme with ‘oven’. I see no reason why they would do this and dismiss it as an affectation.

Coventry is an ancient city and its Cathedral dates from the 14th century. Because of its industrial importance, Coventry suffered badly during the Second World War from bombing. The Cathedral was one of the Luftwaffe’s victims. While Coventry has been largely rebuilt, much remains of its historic past and we saw – and photographed – so much during our visit that I had a hard task selecting which images to include. What follows is merely a sample of what the city has to offer.

James Starley Memorial
James Starley Memorial James Starley Memorial
James Starley Memorial
James Whitehead & Sons, 1884

On leaving the station, we debated whether to take a cab into town or to walk. In the end we decided to walk. This unfortunately took us through some of the less prepossessing parts of the city, rebuilt after the war. We did, however, see the memorial to James Starley, erected in 1884. The memorial is slightly unusual in having a pair of line drawings depicted on two of its sides. The allegorical female figure on the top is Fame. A profile of James Starley, sadly un-nosed, occupies one side of the column and the drawings represent his inventions in the field of bicycle engineering. The inscription claims that Starley is the “Inventor of the Bicycle”. Alas, no. Various viable designs of bicycle were in existence before Starley began his illustrious career, though it can be said that he created the bicycle manufacturing industry for which Coventry became famous and improved the design of the bicycle with his inventions.

Elephant topped bollards Elephant topped bollards
Elephant-topped bollards
The elephant is a heraldic symbol of Coventry

Passing through Bull Yard, I spotted these bollards topped with elephants. This unusual design for the humble bollard is owing to the fact that the elephant is the heraldic beast of Coventry, as we shall see later.

The Phoenix
The Phoenix
George Wagstaffe, 1962
Click for slideshow

Nearly stands the first of today’s sculptures, The Phoenix by George Wagstaffe. Unveiled in 1962 by the late Princess Margaret, this sculpture  symbolises the rebuilding of Coventry from the fiery ruins of the war. (The soft toy is a later and, I assume, temporary addition.)

Lady Godiva
Lady Godiva
Sir William Reid Dick, 1949

In the town’s centre stands this imposing and, I think, beautiful equestrian sculpture by Sir William Reid Dick. Now Grade II listed, it represents a myth of Coventry that continues, rightly or wrongly, to be much emphasised in the city still today. The story is well known but here is an outline.

Lady Godiva was the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia in the 11th century. She repeatedly tried to persuade her husband to reduce the punitive taxes he imposed on his tenants until, faced with his continuing obduracy, she proposed to ride naked through the streets of Coventry in return for the granting of her wish. The bargain was struck, but the citizens were warned not to look upon Lady Godiva as she passed by. A later addition to the story has it that the blacksmith Tom, called “Peeping Tom” for his misdeed, disobeyed the injunction and covertly spied upon her, whereupon he was struck blind.

The story, which was not attested before the 13th century is clearly a fiction. Attempts have been made to “explain” it as a fanciful elaboration of real events but in the absence of supporting evidence they remain mere speculation. For obvious reasons, the story remains popular and Coventry seems determine to extract full value from it.

Godiva clock Kitsch Godiva
Godiva Clock and kitsch Lady Godiva

In the square is the now (in)famous Godiva Clock. This would be nothing more than a run-of-the-mill public clock but for what happens when the hour is struck. Two doors then open in the façade and a figure emerges from one door to “ride” through the other. The figure is a kitsch representation of Lady Godiva upon her horse but, whereas the bronze sculpture in the square is noble, this effigy is grotesque, resembling an inflatable doll.

Lychgate Cottages
Lychgate Cottages
Part of the old Priory

Happily, there are nicer things to see not too far away in Priory Row. There was once the Priory of St Mary here but precious little of it remains today. This building was perhaps part of the complex. I say “perhaps” because there seems to be some disagreement between English Heritage, whose Grade I listing dates it to the 17th century, and the city’s plaque which gives it an older date, assigning what are now three separate dwellings, called Lychgate Cottages, to the early 15th century, citing tree-ring data as evidence. Either way, it is a handsome building.

Blue Coat School
Blue Coat School
Victorian Gothic, 1856-7

Nearby, and poised above the old Priory sunken gardens which are in the process of restoration, stands this extravagantly styled Blue Coat School. The school was founded in 1714 but this building dates from 1856-7. It is in the Victorian Gothic manner but is styled like a French chateau and its towers take as their foundations those of the original towers of the monastic church. The school itself closed in 1940.

Tower and spire of Holy Trinity
Tower and spire of Holy Trinity
13th and 15th century church

Just the other side of Priory Row is what I consider one of the highlights of our visit. This is Holy Trinity Church. It was originally built in the 13th and 15th centuries, though there are some later additions and restoration work, and the spire, 237 feet (72 m) tall, was raised in 1667 after the original had been blown down. What captured my attention, however, was the interior of the church.

Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity
Looking along the nave to the altar

Restoration work on the building was carried out in the 1840s and Gilbert Scott redid the interior in 1855. The result is a building of great beauty and soaring proportions. The decoration is elaborate but tasteful with exquisite attention to detail. The church is not a time capsule, however, and some of its most beautiful features are relatively modern.

Great West Window
Great West Window
Hugh Easton, dedicated 1955

One of these is the Great East Window showing Christ in Majesty, accompanied by a vast array of people who are all identified in an information panel nearby. Whatever one’s religious beliefs, of lack thereof, one must recognize the splendour of the conception and the luminous beauty of the finished work.

Stained glass windows
Stained glass windows
Click for slide show

One of the treasures of the church is its collection of stained glass windows. There are too many to show each separately, so I have made a slide show of some of them. Click the above still to see it.

Examples of church decor
Examples of church decor
Click for slideshow

This second slideshow from Holy Trinity shows examples of church decor, including the alter piece, sections of the ceiling and another stained glass window.

Looking down the nave to the Great West Window
Looking down the nave to the Great West Window

There was a grand piano in the nave just before the choir stalls and a pianist was practising. One of the pieces he played was the first Gymnopédie by Erik Satie which in this ancient and yet modern interior seemed entirely appropriate.

The Coventry Boy
The Coventry Boy
Philip Bentham, 1966
Click for slideshow

We made our way to the Cathedral but before we quite arrived, I spotted this sculpture. It is by Philip Bentham and was unveiled in 1966. On the base is the following inscription:

COVENTRY BOY
THIS BOY HAS NO NAME
BUT REPRESENTS ALL BOYS OF
ALL TIME WHO ARE PROUD TO
BELONG HERE REACHING OUT AS
ALWAYS FROM ROUGH SPUN TO CLOSE
WEAVE FOR FAMILY AND FOR CITY

In harmony with this, the boy wears one shoe and has one foot bare, has one sleeve rolled up and one fastened with a cuff-link and holds a scroll in one hand while in the other a spanner, resting on a model of a factory.

Coventry Cathedral
Coventry Cathedral

Across the road is Coventry Cathedral or perhaps I should say Coventry Cathedrals (plural) because we have both the third and most recent one (shown in part above) and the remains of the second. Starting with the above, it was designed by Sir Basil Spence, which may be why it looks more like a power station than a church. It was built between 1951 and 1962 and is dedicated, as were the preceding two, to St Michael. The one relieving feature on the blocky exterior is the sculpture by Jacob Epstein.

St Michael subduing the Devil
St Michael subduing the Devil
Jacob Epstein, 1958

This huge and powerful sculpture was made by Jacob Epstein shortly before his death. It shows the martial angel St Michael triumphing over the Devil who lies subdued before him with hands and feet bound with chains. This represents the Day of Judgement and the much anticipated final triumph of Good over Evil.

The Devil in chains
The Devil in chains

This is not the only work by Epstein on this theme. I have seen several other versions of St Michael triumphing over the Devil though whether this was a favourite theme of the sculptor or he did it merely because he was commissioned to do so, I do not know. I admire the sculpture while disliking the theme, though the result is highly dramatic.

St Michael subduing the Devil

We could have visited the new Cathedral and perhaps we will another time. You have to pay £6 each for admission which, though not exorbitant, nonetheless gives one pause.

The old beside the new
The old beside the new

 

The new Cathedral has been built beside the old one and is attached to it by a tall but simple arch which, though modern, manages to look as if it is part of the ruin. The old Cathedral, of course, can be visited free of charge.

Looking along the nave to the altar
Looking along the nave to the altar

Once inside I was struck by the vast size of the building. This impression is partly caused by the emptiness of it, of course. If it were furnished and roofed and the side aisles were still in place, the size might be less striking.

Where the altar once stood
Where the altar once stood

What was to become Coventry’s Cathedral in 1918 was built in 1300 as a parish church and survived into the 20th century when an air raid on November 14th 1940 destroyed it almost completely, though the tower and spire survived. (There are a number of other cases where this apparently counterintuitive situation – destruction of the body of the church and survival of the spire – has occurred including, for example, St Mary’s Church, Islington.)

The tower and spire
The tower and spire

The tower was completed in 1374 and the spire was added in 1433, the total height being 295 feet (90 m). It was built on the ground, not in the body of the church as is most common, but this ground, near a quarry, provided a poor foundation, leading to deterioration of the tower over the centuries, and requiring a full restoration in 1855. A peculiarity of the design is that the tower is not situated in the centre of the west façade, as might be expected, but is offset towards the south. It was greatly admired by such figures as Ruskin and Christopher Wren who described it as a masterpiece in the art of Gothic building.

Ecce Homo
Ecce Homo
Jacob Epstein, 1934-5

Within this torn precinct stands Ecce Homo, a sculpture by Jacob Epstein. The sculptor worked on it between 1934 and 1935 and, as you might expect. when first exhibited, it met with controversy. It is designed to be seen from the front and shows the influence of Toltec art. Epstein himself wrote of this work as follows:

I wished to make in “Ecce Homo” a symbol of a man, bound, crowned with thorns and facing with a relentless and overmastering gaze of pity and prescience on our unhappy world. Because of the hardness of the material I treated the work in a large way, with a juxtaposition of flat planes, always with a view to retaining the impression of the original work.

Old Cathedral Tower
Old Cathedral Tower
Viewed from Bayley Lane

We continued are explorations for a while in the streets around the Cathedral. Here there are a number of historic buildings that demand more attention than we could afford in the time available.

Golden Angel holding a clock
Golden Angel holding a clock

One such attention grabber was a golden angel with its body and wings framing a large clock. We soon discovered that this belonged to the Council House.

The Council House
The Council House
Front façade

The Council House (Grade II listed) is a striking and, I think, unique building. Dating from the period of the First World War (it was built between 1913 and 1917) it is designed in the Elizabethan manner in red sandstone and decorated with heraldic figures.

Main entrance
Main entrance

Above the door are heraldic devices including (on the lintel) a golden elephant. Of the three human figures, the top one is allegorical and labelled Justitia (Justice), while the others are that famous pair, Leofric and Godiva, the latter clothed this time.

Heraldic beast
Heraldic beast

At the base of each of a pair of columns of heraldic symbols, stalks a big cat, though I am not sure of its species. It probably refers to the cat on Coventry’s coat of arms.

Coat of Arms of Coventry
Coat of Arms of Coventry

On the entrance gate appears a fine representation of the coat of arms of Coventry. In the centre of the shield is the golden elephant that symbolises Coventry and on top a feline animal said to be a wildcat. The accompanying motto (not visible here) is the puzzling Camera Principis, usually translated as “The Prince’s Chamber”. It is thought that this refers to Edward, the Black Prince, who owned the nearby Manor of Cheylesmore. You will find more information on the coat of arms here.

Ford's Hospital Ford's Hospital
Ford’s Hospital
Early 16th century almshouses

Our last investigatory visit was to Ford’s Hospital, a picturesque and historic almshouse. The establishment was endowed by will of William Ford in 1509 though some additional work was done in 1517 by William Pisford. Sadly, this beautiful building was badly damaged in the air raid that destroyed the Cathedral but not too badly to be rebuilt using the original timbers in 1951-3. Such careful attention has earned it a Grade I listing.

The Courtyard
The Courtyard

The establishment is also known as Greyfriar’s Hospital, not because of any religious connections, but because it resides in Greyfriars Lane. Inside the building is a fine courtyard.

Coventry is an ancient city which, despite the series of bombing raids that it suffered, still retains much that is of both historic and aesthetic interest. As usual, our visit merely dipped into its treasures without exhausting them. While the fanciful story of Lady Godiva’s naked ride add a touch of amusement, Coventry has far more than this to recommend it to the visitor.

Angel's head
Angel’s head, Coventry Old Cathedral

Copyright © 2014 SilverTiger, http://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

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Freya under the knife

Tuesday, October 14th 2014

8:45 am

I am just back from taking Freya to the vet for her thyroid operation. It marks the end of one sort of stress – the stress of anticipation – and the beginning of another sort – stress concerning the outcome.

I was instructed that Freya must fast from 9 pm yesterday evening. This is uncomfortable to manage because Freya doesn’t wolf her food down in one go as many cats do but eats it a little and often, including during the night. What must be done must be done, however. During the day I gave her a good ration of a food she particularly likes, hoping it would fill her up and make her less hungry later. Did it work? Only Freya can tell you.

Tigger gets up up 6 am to go to work and I usually get up at the same time. If I did this today, though, how would Freya react to my refusing to feed her? To solve that problem, instead of getting up with Tigger, I stayed in bed as though having a weekend lie-in. Freya was happy to stay with me, curled up beside me and purring. I had to lie there for two hours until it was time to make my move.

At 8:17 I got up, dressed and prepared to go out. Freya went and sat patiently beside the mat where we put her food bowl, obviously expecting – at last! – to be fed. This gave me the chance to go into the bedroom, take down the carrying cage and open it ready to receive her. If she heard or saw me do this, she would dive under the bed where it is impossible to reach her. I was able to go back into the other room, pick Freya up and put her in the cage. I can only imagine that must have been an unpleasant surprise for her.

We now took a 5-minute walk through cold, damp morning streets to the vet’s. Freya was surprisingly quiet and did not complain about this unmannerly treatment. I had to sign a consent form and then watch her being carried in her cage away to the treatment room. There was nothing more I could do, but return home without her.

I will now restart the day as though I have just got out of bed and will engage in my usual activities until 2 pm when I am to call the vet for for status report. I will find things to do to try to distract me from thinking about Freya and the operation.

2:00 pm

I spent the morning working on a blog post and exchanging messages with my son who is currently in Michigan doing research. I had lunch and had to remember not to put out Freya’s “bickies” – cat snacks that she has at lunchtime. When 2 pm arrived I dialled the vet’s number.

The response was short: Freya is in surgery now; call back in an hour.

The wait goes on…

3:00 pm

I phoned the vet again and they told me that all was well. Freya had had tumours on both sides so they had needed to do a double thyroidectomy. The patient is currently under observation as she recovers from the anaesthetic. However, they say that they think she would recover better at home than in the hospital and that I may therefore be able to bring her home this evening. I have to ring again at 5:30 to check.

That is surprisingly good news. Though some cats do go home soon after the surgery I was warned that Freya might have to stay in for a day or two and I had pessimistically assumed that this would be the case. To have her back so soon will be a relief and a pleasure.

The next critical stage, then, is that of the 5:30 phone call. I shall get ready first so that I can leave for the vet’s immediately if the news is good.

5:30 pm

I call the vet’s and they say yes, Freya can come home but that I should come and collect her between 6:15 and 6:30. So I must wait a little longer…

6:15 pm

The receptionist says she will go down and fetch Freya for me. A few minutes later she reappears, empty-handed and I assume I misheard her. The vet comes out and tells me that everything went well and there are unlikely to be any complications. He then says, tellingly, that some cats can be kept in for a while but that as Freya is an “angry cat”, it’s best for her to go home. The penny drops: they want me to take her home because she is being “difficult”. I have been told by cattery managers that Freya can be hard to handle.

They invite me to go down and collect her myself. As we approach the cage, Freya growls. Yes, she is indeed an angry cat.

“Can you get her out?” asks the nurse nervously. “Will she let you do that?”  She seems to think Freya will attack me.

First I let Freya sniff my hand so she is sure it’s me then I reach in to pick her up. She grumbles but doesn’t resist. I lift her out and pop her in her carrying cage. I pay the bill and we set off for home.

At home, I raise the lid of the cage, intending to lift Freya out but before I can do so, she decides to jump out. She stumbles and ends up with her front end lying on the carpet and her hind feet in the cage: she is still woozy from the anaesthetic. We stroke her and make much of her. She responds but pointedly does not purr. She does at least nudge my hand with her nose.

The vet gave me some easy-to-eat food for Freya but she only nibbles at it despite not having eaten for 24 hours. I expect her appetite will return when she calms down and finally recovers from the effects of the anaesthetic. After all, this has been a traumatic day for her and we cannot be surprised if she is upset and angry.

I thought Freya would be kept by the vet for at least a day or two and so having her home already is a cause for celebration, whatever her mood.

Later in the evening

After spending some time in the bedroom by herself, Freya comes to find us and curls up on Tigger’s lap. Nice to have you back, Freya!

Copyright © 2014 SilverTiger, http://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

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Trouble ahead for Freya

Thursday, October 9th 2014

Freya, our tabby cat, is the third member of our small family, as I described in my brief introduction, Freya. She is our companion and we want the best for her, as is only natural.

Freya’s health has always been robust and she loves her food. At one time she was overweight and I had to struggle to bring her down to the proper weight for her size. Every year in July, I take her to the vet for her annual flu jab and he gives her the “once over” and weighs her. For the last few years, her weight has remained steady and at a reasonable level for her size. This year, the vet told me that she had lost weight by a small but significant amount. He proposed bringing her back in a month to check again. On that occasion, her weight had increased slightly so we decided to wait and weigh her again later.

Last week I took her in and we found that her weight had again decreased and the vet proposed that we should have blood samples analysed. For this Freya needed to be sedated and I remained with her while this was done. Later I collected her from the vet and took her home. She was still affected by the sedative and when she tried to walk, she rolled about like a drunkard. Gradually, she recovered and became her old self.

The results of the blood test confirmed what we had feared. Freya is suffering from hyperthyroidism and needs to be treated as this is ultimately a fatal condition. Briefly, hyperthyroidism is a disease of the thyroid gland which produces hormones to regulate the cat’s metabolism. The disease causes the thyroid to produce too much hormone, pushing the cat’s metabolism into overdrive. One of the symptoms is that the cat eats a lot of food but still loses weight.

There are a number of ways to treat hyperthyroidism which, if successful, return the cat to equilibrium. We have to decide which of these treatments to choose. The guiding principle for me is obviously to decide which is best for Freya. As a rescue cat, she had an uncomfortable start to her life and I vowed to make the rest of her life as happy as possible in compensation.

There are three approaches to treatment, medication, radiation and surgery. Each has its merits, its disadvantages and its risks. We have to make our best guess as to likely outcomes and choose accordingly.

Medication would be in the form of a daily tablet to swallow or gel to be put in the cat’s ears. The pill cannot be crushed and given in food but has to be “popped” via the mouth. Knowing Freya, I believe she would dislike and resist medication in either form. In any case, medication doesn’t solve the problem but merely palliates it.

Radiation is said to be effective, though a second dose may be necessary. The main disadvantage is that in the UK (I believe the rules are different in the US), a radiated cat has to remain in isolation for 4 weeks and cannot be handled in the meantime, even if she becomes ill. The thought of imposing such an inimical regime on Freya is enough to make me discard that idea.

Surgery to remove the thyroid also resolves the problem though there does remain a possibility that thyroid tissue may grow back and the problem therefore return. The operation is delicate because the thyroid gland is closely associated with the parathyroid glands that control the use of calcium in the body and must not be damaged. After surgery, the cat remains with the vet for a few days while recovering.

While I am obviously reluctant to put Freya through the trauma of surgery, this approach seems to me “the least bad”. It should cure the problem and she will be away from us for a relatively short time, less than the time she often spends at the cattery.

Medication costs around £30 a month and the cost of surgery has been estimated at £800 to £900. Considering that medication would continue throughout Freya’s life, its cost would soon catch up with, and then exceed, the once-only cost of surgery. Freya does have health insurance which will pay some of the cost though there is, as usual, an “excess”, meaning that I have to pay a proportion myself. As far as I am concerned, if treatment deals with the problem and procures Freya a few more years of happy life, then I consider it money well spent.

In between writing this, I phoned the vet and made the appointment. It is for next Tuesday. Freya, of course, is blissfully unaware of what lies ahead but I am not. I shall be in a nervous state until things return to normal, assuming that they do. Freya is family, we love her and we want her to be well and happy.

Copyright © 2014 SilverTiger, http://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

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Visiting the Tate Liverpool

Saturday, October 4th 2014

Liverpool Lime Street Station
Liverpool Lime Street Station

Here we are arriving at Liverpool’s Lime Street railway station. The journey from London’s Euston Station takes about two and a half hours so the journey there and back takes a chunk out of your day but this doesn’t matter too much if the goal is worthwhile and we expected that it would be.

Tate Liverpool
Tate Liverpool

In the interests of saving time and our feet (we knew we were going to do a lot of walking) we took a cab to our first destination, the Tate Liverpool art gallery.

The Albert Dock, Liverpool
The Albert Dock, Liverpool

The Tate Liverpool is picturesquely situated in the old Albert Dock, a place that is worth visiting on its own account.

We had come to see an exhibition here entitled Mondrian and his Studios. I have to say that the typical works of Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), all horizontal and vertical black lines with rectangular fillings in primary colours, don’t do a lot for me but Tigger finds him interesting and wanted to see this exhibition which included a mock-up of one of his studios. Mondrian lived and worked in his studio and decorated it with coloured rectangles of the sort that appear in his paintings to create an environment in which he could work. He felt that the studio played an important part in the creation of his paintings. If you are not familiar with Mondrian there is a short biography and some examples of his works on this Tate Web page.

A view of the Mersey
A view of the Mersey
Seen through a window in the Tate

Unsurprisingly, we were not allowed to take photos of any part of the exhibition but there were notices positively encouraging us to take photos of the views through the gallery windows. These certainly were spectacular. In some ways, I liked them better than the Mondrians inside…

The windows were covered with a bluish filter to protect the art works from the sunlight and this coloured the photos. I have corrected for this to a certain extent.

One of the galleries
One of the galleries

After visiting the Mondrian exhibition, including the studio mock-up, we took a tour of the other galleries. In the general galleries, photography was allowed. There was plenty to see, of course, and I can only show a few samples.

Lady in Niche
Lady in Niche
Ivor Abrahams, 1963

I’m not sure what to make of Lady in Niche. Does it perhaps represent a shrine carved out in the face of a rock?

This semi-abstract painting (below), based on architecture (you can probably make out parts of an arch and a stair)…

Side Entrance
Side Entrance
Lucy McKenzie, 2011

…inspired me to make my own architecture-based “painting” of a doorway:

Art Gallery Doorway
Art Gallery Doorway
SilverTiger, 2014

Maybe there’s also a touch of Mondrian in there too…

Albert Dock
Albert Dock
Gallery window view

While much of the art was abstract, there was the occasional figurative work to act as a relief,

Return from the Market (Retour du Marché)
Return from the Market (Retour du Marché)
André Fougeron, 1953

such as this striking piece, Return from the Market, by André Fougeron.

Infinite Structure
Infinite Structure
Saloua Raouda Choucair, 1963-5
Click for slideshow

There were sculptures as well as paintings, of course, such as this one, Infinite Structure, by Saloua Raouda Choucair, made of tufa stone. I was able to walk around it (one of the things I enjoy about sculpture) and photograph it from different angles. Click to see more pictures of it.

View across the docks into town
View across the docks into town

The weather was cloudy with sunny intervals and pictures taken through the windows of the Tate had wonderfully dramatic cloudscapes.

Inversions
Inversions
Mary Martin, 1966

This sculpture, Inversions by Mary Martin, intrigued me. For one thing, it’s 24 feet (7.3 m) long. It is made largely of aluminium and the various surfaces reflect the scene but break it up and reassemble it somewhat like a Cubist painting.

Inversions
Inversions
Detail

This close-up of a part of it shows something of how it is constructed.

Reclining Figure
Reclining Figure
Henry Moore, 1939

My last example from inside the gallery is by that stalwart of galleries, campuses and sculpture parks, Henry Moore. He returned ever and again to representations of reclining figures but this early one, it seems to me, is more delicately styled than his later more massy productions.

Another view of the docks
Another view of the docks

We left the Tate and had a look around the docks area. A couple of items particularly caught my attention.

Waiting
Waiting
Judy Boyt, unveiled 2010

The first was the fine naturalistic sculpture of a carthorse by Judy Boyt, erected as a monument commemorating 250 years of service of Liverpool’s working horses. It is such a beautiful piece of work and a fitting memorial to those patient animals who spent their lives working to supply the needs of the city and the wider community.

Dazzle Ship
Dazzle Ship
Carlos Cruz-Diez

The second was Liverpool’s ‘Dazzle Ship’. I wrote about ‘dazzle ships’ in Blackfriars dozen where I showed a photo of the London one. “Dazzling” was an innovative scheme of camouflage for ships intended, not to make them invisible, but to make it difficult to determine their distance and speed. As part of the commemoration of the First World War, two ships have been “dazzled” by artists Tobias Rehberger (the London ship) and Carlos Cruz-Diez (the Liverpool ship). For more information, see here. Owing to the dock being closed off, I couldn’t obtain and side-on view of the ship and had to be content with this angle.

The Three Graces
The Three Graces

We walked a little way along the Mersey in an area known as Pier Head. It is here that are to be  found a trio of buildings now collectively known by the poetic epithet the Three Graces. Despite being considered a group, they were built at different times.

Port of Liverpool Building
Port of Liverpool Building, 1907

The first to appear was the one on the right in 1907. This Italianate and domed structure was the head office of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, now renamed the Port of Liverpool Building. On its left is the last to be built, the Cunard Building of 1916.

The Royal Liver Building The Royal Liver Building
The Royal Liver Building, 1911
A symbol of Liverpool

The youngest, though most famous, member of the group is the Royal Liver Building of 1911. For a while the tallest building in Europe, it was built for the Royal Liver Assurance Group and carries on its roof two 18-foot bronze figures, the iconic Liver Birds (‘liver’ is pronounced to rhyme with ‘driver’). According to some, these are stylized cormorants but according to others, they are mythical birds, the very symbol of the city whose loss would cause the city to fail. (Every city must have its myths and its tall tales.)

Monument to Sir Alfred Lewis Jones
Monument to Sir Alfred Lewis Jones, 1913
Ship owner and
founder of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Near here stands a monument where there occurred an amusing incident as we were photographing it. Erected in 1913, the memorial commemorates Sir Alfred Lewis Jones, ship owner, philanthropist and founder of the Liverpool School of Tropical medicine.

Figure representing Research
Figure representing Research

The monument carries a plaque with a profile of Sir Alfred. On top is a crowned female figure holding a ship and on the sides two allegorical figures representing the Fruits of Commerce and Research, respectively. Research is shown above. The incident concerned two youths who were using the monument to practise their skateboarding techniques. As is often the case with public sculptures and monuments, we had to work around them to secure our pictures. As I was about to leave, I heard the elder youth, who had watched us at work, say to his companion

“I don’t think we should be doing this here.”

“Why not?” asked the other but received no answer. However, the two moved off and found another spot with enough walls and steps to serve as a practice ground. I say the incident is amusing, which it is, but it is also promising as it shows that at least some young people take note of what is happening in the environment and are thoughtful about their own relationship to it.

George's Dock Ventilation and Central Station of the Mersey Road Tunnel 1931-1934
George’s Dock Ventilation and
Central Station of the Mersey Road Tunnel 1931-1934

This Art Deco building  comprises a ventilation shaft for the Mersey Road Tunnel with offices around the base. Its design was influenced by contemporary archaeological discoveries in Egypt but also includes futuristic stylized figures in Art Deco style.

Former North Western Hotel
Former North Western Hotel
Alfred Waterhouse, 1871

On returning to Lime Street Station, we admired the splendid French Renaissance style old North Western Hotel built in 1871 by Alfred Waterhouse for the North Western Railway Company. I was, however looking forward to photographing another piece of work, this time a sculpture.

Liverpool Resurgent Liverpool Resurgent
Liverpool Resurgent
Jacob Epstein, 1956

When the rebuilding of Liverpool began after the Second World War, Lewis’s created a new department store and commissioned Jacob Epstein to provide a sculpture for it and some relief panels. The result was the figure Liverpool Resurgent, an exultant nude male standing in the prow of a ship, and a set of panels in a rather more “domestic” mood. Epstein is now regarded as a revolutionary figure in 20th-century sculpture and like all innovators, was at first attacked and his works sometimes mutilated in the name of “good taste”. In this sculpture, I think we see both Liverpool and Epstein triumphing at last.

Relief panel

Relief panel

Relief panel
Panels by Jacob Epstein for Lewis’s Department Store

Jacob Epstein is something of a hero of mine and visiting this work of his that stands as a monument to the city and its re-emergence from the horrors of war and as a monument to the artist himself, was a fitting end to our trip to Liverpool and a reminder of the treasures that it offers to visitors. This is by no means are last visit!

Copyright © 2014 SilverTiger, http://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

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A town of sculptures, Harlow

Saturday, September 27th 2014

The name ‘Harlow’ has come down from ancient times but when it is mentioned today, people usually think of Harlow New Town in Essex. There is also a Harlow Old Town, but that doesn’t enter into the present narrative. It was the New Town (“new” in the sense of having been built from scratch after the Second World War) that we had come to see.

Domesday Book refers to Herlaua and mentions an Abbey of St Edmunds and two or three farm properties. Where the name comes from is uncertain and while there are theories, there are no hard facts to go by.

Harlow Station (1960)
Harlow Station (1960)
Replaced an earlier one called Burnt Mill

I said we had come to see Harlow New Town but that is not quite correct. We had come to see some things that are in the town. When Harlow started collecting pieces of sculpture by important sculptors, I think this was largely fortuitous but then the collecting gathered momentum and the town today possesses an impressive set of works, many of them by prestigious artists. Sculptures adorn the squares and parks and are accessible by all as everyday life proceeds around them. Harlow has rebranded itself as ‘Harlow Sculpture Town’.

There are reckoned to be over one hundred sculptures on view, far more than one can comfortably visit, let along photograph, on one short visit. Not all are easy to photograph, depending on location and the state of the light – low sun interfered in a few cases. What follows below is a selection of those I photographed during our tour.

Walking to the town centre
Walking to the town centre
Fifth Avenue or Allende Avenue?

We arrived at Harlow Station (see above) which, like all things in Harlow, was built as part of the development of this new town. Completed in 1960, it replaced an earlier 1842 station called Burnt Mill. I was surprised to discover that this station is Grade II listed, as it didn’t seem anything special to me. We set off on foot for the town’s centre and found ourselves walking along a broad carriageway which seems to possess two names, Fifth Avenue and Allende Avenue, respectively. I don’t think we chose the optimum way to reach the centre but it did at least lead us to our first sculpture.

Ports of Call
Ports of Call
Jonathan Clarke
Click for slide show

Sculpture is the art of objects that occupy space, either alone or in groups. You can walk around a sculpture, interact with it and see it from different angles and in different conditions. Whereas a painting contains its environment within it, a sculpture exists in the environment where it is placed and you cannot see it without also seeing its surroundings. I like to photograph a sculpture from several different angles because no one single viewpoint can adequately defines it. When we look at a sculpture, the brain fuses the many views into a composite impression. The camera, of course, cannot do that. All it can do is show different views of the sculpture and leave us to integrate them as best we can. Where I have been able to take several photos, I have arranged them as a slide show which you can see by clicking on the still image.

Harlow Market
Harlow Market

Tigger’s “inner pigeon” seemed not to be its usual efficient self at this point and I was beginning to think that we were lost and going in the wrong direction but, happily, we eventually arrived at a large open space surrounded by shops and partially occupied by market stalls. I believe this square is called Harlow Market. Here we found our next sculpture which I immediately recognized.

Meat Porters
Meat Porters
Ralph Brown
Click for slideshow

I said I recognized Meat Porters by Ralph Brown, though that is not quite accurate. My first encounter with it was at King’s Place in London, a visit that I described in a post entitled Meeting the Irish. When I saw it then, I did not know its title or the name of the artist but have now added an update to that post. It seems that the original sculpture is this one in Harlow and that the near-lookalike at King’s Place was a copy reworked by the sculptor. How it differs, I do not know – see if you can spot any differences.

Street scene in Harlow
Street scene in Harlow

I don’t wish to be rude about Harlow and, for all I know, perhaps it is a place “where time is pleasant”, as is claimed for Christchurch (see “Where time is pleasant”). We did speak to one inhabitant who said he liked living in Harlow so it obviously has its fans. To me, though, it seemed a pretty ordinary sort of place, like so many others that have been built or rebuilt in the latter part of the 20th century, much of a muchness. It no doubt has everything that you need in a town but were it not for the sculpture, I don’t think it would occur to me to come here. I do have one complaint that I will come to at the end. I will say no more about the town and concentrate on the sculpture and a visit that we made to a church. If you think I am being unfair to Harlow, feel free to take me to task and tell me about its delights.

Monument to the building of the New Town
Monument to the building of the New Town

Not a sculpture in the accepted sense, this obelisk has an importance of its own.  It was erected by Harlow Development Corporation to commemorate the building of the New Town 1947-80. I don’t know whether the similarity to an Ancient Egyptian stela is deliberate but it is fitting in that it too is seen as recording deeds of historic importance, albeit carried out by a corporation rather than by a pharaoh.

Vertex
Vertex
Paul Mason, 1979
Click for slideshow

This piece in the Broad Walk is made of grey Bardolino marble from Carrara and the sculptor is Paul Mason. Some of Harlow’s sculptures are old and have found their way here as gifts or purchases but this one was, I believe, specially commissioned.

Trigon
Trigon
Lynn Chadwick, 1961
Click for slideshow

Also in the Broad Walk is this bronze entitled Trigon by Lynn Chadwick. He seems to be quite a popular artist and I have discovered several works by him around London, for example see West India Quay Plus 1 and Sculpture in the City 2014 (Part 1). Other sculptures of his that I have seen have a figurative element to them but this one is abstract.

Returning from Work
Returning from Work
Carl Heinz Müller (date unknown)

On the outside wall of the library is a sculpture that is ascribed to Carl Heinz Müller. If you have never heard of this sculptor, then neither have I, nor can I find out anything about him. The date of the work is unknown and the piece is only “assumed” to be by him, providing us with a nice little mystery for further investigation. The sculpture, though outside, is in a covered area and is not very well lit – hence the shadows. (I could have used flash but using flash with sculpture usually produces poor results as well as adding shadows of its own.)

Cat
Cat
Malcolm Woodward
Click for slideshow

This intriguing piece of sculpture is inside the Central Library and is indicated as being on loan from Harlow Arts Council. If you come to it face on (see slideshow), it’s hard to tell what it might represent. It looks purely abstract. When it is seen from the side, however, its title, Cat, suddenly makes sense! According to the plate beside it, the sculptor is Malcolm Woodward (1943-2014). However, I have also seen this work ascribed to Henry Moore. The reason for this may be that Woodward worked for a number of years as Moore’s assistant and helped prepare and finish many of his works. Personally, I think this amusing and unusual figure properly belongs to Woodward.

St Paul's Church
St Paul’s Church

We were passing St Paul’s Church, of which I took the above panoramic view, and Tigger suggested taking a look inside. When we arrived at the door, they were just closing up but the vicar invited us in. Tigger and he were soon in conversation about this 1950s church and churches in general while I rudely left them to it and went off to take photos. So, by way of a distraction from the main topic, here are some views inside St Paul’s.

Looking down the main aisle to the altar
St Paul’s
Looking down the main aisle to the altar

The design of this church shouts “1950s!” at you. This is Festival of Britain vintage, the era of angular-shaped furniture painted in primary colours and evincing an almost painful yen to be different. On the plus side, the interior of this church is certainly light and airy.

Plenty of windows
Plenty of windows

This is why the church is so light, at least during daylight hours: the upper two thirds of the walls are all windows.

Pulpit Bishop's Chair
Furnishings
Pulpit or lectern and Bishop’s Chair

The fixtures and fittings are as “modern” (to the 1950s) as the general design. The bishop’s chair or throne looks uncomfortable – imagine sitting through a service on that. I also noticed that the pews have been cleverly designed with a ridge running along the top so that if you lean back in your seat, it digs into your back. Sit up straight and pay attention, eh?

Virgin and Child
Virgin and Child
Age and provenance unknown

Something that is definitely not of the 1950s is this intriguing sculpture of the Virgin and Child. It looks old but there is something odd about it which leaves its origin and date in doubt. I think I can do no better than quote the church’s own history page:

The statue on the wall of the Baptistery is believed to be either an inaccurate 18th century reproduction, of Michaelangelo’s Virgin of Bruge (1501) or it is suggested by some authorities that it is a 16th century sculpture from Northern Italy but due to a stylistic discrepancy between the head of the child and the rest of the work it is thought that the head is an English 18th century replacement for the original.

Either way, it makes an interesting contrast with the styling of the rest of the church and takes us nicely back to the sculptures.

The Philosopher
The Philosopher
Keith Goodwin, 1961-2

At a quick glance you might think this sculpture was carved in stone but it is in fact made of fibreglass. It’s also in a bad state and it unless repaired I think it will be lost. It is called The Philosopher and is by Keith Goodwin. The subject looks as if something has just startled him and he is about to jump out of his chair. Is this work meant to be an imitation of Classical sculpture or a parody of it?

Harlow Family Group
Harlow Family Group
Henry Moore, 1954

This sculpture currently resides inside the Civic Centre which is closed on Sundays and so I had to take the photo through the glass wall. Considering that, it hasn’t come out too badly. The Harlow Family Group is so called because it was specially commissioned by Harlow Art Trust. It is an early work by Henry Moore and unusually figurative for that artist.

Upright Motive No 2: Bronze Cross
Upright Motive No 2: Bronze Cross
Henry Moore, 1955-6
Click for slideshow

This work stands in the Water Garden and rejoices in the name Upright Motive No 2: Bronze Cross. This is more like the Henry Moore we know and love (or not). The two sculptures by Moore (Family Group and this one) are within sight of one another, allowing a comparison to be made, if you are so minded.

Unknown title
Unknown title
Unknown artist and date
Click for slideshow

At the other end of the Water Garden stands another upright bronze sculpture. Is this also by Moore or is it by some other artist? I don’t know. There was no plaque and I can find no mention of it in Harlow’s various information sources on its sculpture. According to the map of the Sculpture Trail, this should be Eve by Auguste Rodin, but it obviously is not that work because Eve looks like this. Information on the sculpture’s identity will no doubt emerge in due course.

Relief
Relief
William Mitchell, 1963

Contradicting what I said above, not all sculptures can be walked around. Some are flat and stuck to the wall of an ASDA supermarket, as is Relief by William Mitchell. We spent some time looking for this one and when we found it I wasn’t convinced that it was an actual sculpture but it is.

We have obviously seen only a small fraction of the sculptures that Harlow has on display. Seeing the others is the one thing that might tempt me to come back to Harlow. We now decided to return to the station and take a train home. This is where things became difficult.

Harlow Bus Station
Harlow Bus Station
Try getting a bus to the station. One second thoughts, don’t

We had walked into town from the station and after traipsing around town for several hours looking at sculpture, thought it would be a good idea to get a bus back. So we went to the town bus station.

You would think that from the town’s bus station you could get a bus to the town’s railway station, wouldn’t you? The bus timetables affixed to the walls said you could and when we asked a member of staff, we were directed to a bus stand where there would be a bus to take us there. Unfortunately, the bus that we had been told would stop here to take us to the station didn’t stop here but kept speeding past. When a bus did stop the driver said no, he didn’t go to the station, and sent us to another stand. We waited a long time but the supposed station bus didn’t come. When a bus did come, the driver said no, he didn’t go to the station and sent us to another stand. (Do you see a pattern forming here?) We waited there for a bus; waited a little longer; then waited some more. No bus.

Do buses ever go from the bus station to the railway station and, if so, are passengers ever allowed to know from which stand they depart? I cannot say because we gave up on the buses and took a taxi – a damp squib of an end to an otherwise interesting trip.

Copyright © 2014 SilverTiger, http://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

Posted in Out and About | Tagged | 4 Comments