Thursday, 23 August 2012

Favourite Galleries - MOMA

One gallery has the greatest collection of modern art in the world - MOMA (the New York Museum of Modern Art). Fabulous paintings can be found in every room, though the highlight for me is the Jackson Pollock above

MOMA - Van Gogh's Starry Night
For more great paintings click here  

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Favourite Gardens - Dean House

Click here for more photos from this lovely garden in Kilmeston, Hampshire

The Curse of Road Noise

Looking south on the M3 at Winchester on an uncharacteristically quiet morning. It normally carries some 130,000 vehicles a day.
Excessive road nose is a curse, and at high levels can contribute to ill health and even heart attacks.
Nevertheless some towns and cities are blighted by almost constant road noise from busy main roads and motorways. For example the noise from the M3 motorway intrudes over much of the lovely city of Winchester and dominates villages bordering it, such as Shawford - hardly surprising considering that it carries some 130,000 vehicles a day.

The gash cut though the back of St Catherine's Hill in 1995, which still hasn't been 'healed' by plant growth almost twenty years later.
It's useless to rehearse the long-running debate over the siting of the motorway, which led to the road planners cutting an appalling gash through the back of St Catherine's Hill instead of making a tunnel through the chalk. This video will remind you of the battles that took place to try and stop it.
St Catherine's Hill from St Cross.  The M3 runs in a deep cutting on the far side. One can no longer hear birdsong when walking on the hill; surely the acid test of whether an area is polluted by noise
But what is indefensible today is that that road nose from the surface of the road is much higher than it needs to be. One has only to drive on the A34 Newbury by-pass to find a road surface that is much quieter - and that road runs through farmland and woodland with the town some distance away.

PS: In February 2015, the Highways Agency and/ or the Hampshire County Council have finally resurfaced the M3 around Winchester, with the result that the noise from the motorway obtrudes far less on the City and the surrounding villages. What took them so long?

Monday, 6 August 2012

Rediscovering Coventry's Medieval Stained Glass

Dr Heather Gilderdale Scott of Lincoln University, the authority on medieval stained glass and Dr Jonathan Foyle of the World Monuments Fund at the Paul Mellon Lecture in Coventry on 19th June 2012
The story of the destruction of Coventry Cathedral on the night of 14th/15th November 1940 is well known, as is the building of the new Cathedral designed by Sir Basil Spence and consecrated in 1962. Less well known is the fact that the medieval stained glass from the old Cathedral was removed on the outbreak of war and safely stored so that it survived the destruction.

The World Monuments Fund as just begun a project to restore and display the old stained glass, which is thought to have been the work of John Thornton, who also created the great stained glass of York Minster.

The stained glass will be restored by specialists working at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
Click here for a BBC report on the project.

Click here for details of the World Monuments Fund's programme, which includes work to stabilise the ruins of the old Cathedral. And here for their fundraising site.

Click here for a link to the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Consecration of the new Cathedral

December 2012: From the Friends of Coventry Cathedral Newsletter

St Michael’s Glass on show in the Soane Museum

This Summer’s conservation work, by Crick-Smith, of more than 7,000 fragments of stained glass
from St Michael’s, Coventry (the largest collection of loose medieval glass in the Britain), has now
been completed. Several fine examples of the salvaged glass have pride of place in the current
World Monument Fund Britain exhibition in the Sir John Soane’s Museum, Lincoln’s Inn Fields,
London WC2A. The Exhibition runs until 26 January 2013 (Tuesday - Saturday 10.00 - 17.00

If you are unable to visit the exhibition, here’s link to a 12 minute film featuring Kevin McCloud’s
‘take’ on the Coventry glass

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Battle Proms at Highclere Castle

The Battle Proms have been held at castles and stately homes across Southern England for the last 15 years and have become extremely popular. Over 9000 people came to the event at Highclere Castle on 4th August to hear classical pieces like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with live cannon fire, inspired by Napoleon's famous retreat from Moscow, and the celebratory piece of music that gives the Battle Proms its name: Beethoven’s 'Wellington’s Victory', more commonly known as the ‘Battle Symphony’, performed with 193 cannons, musket fire and fireworks. Click here for a rather quieter Irish air. 

The highlight of the show as always is the aerial display by a WWII Spitfire