Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Own work: Life Drawing XXXX

I've been very tardy of late with posting things.  Here are a couple of life drawings I did, I'm ashamed to admit, three weeks ago.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Church Crawl

My friend A came down from Lincoln yesterday and we went on a church crawl in the soft undulating country of south Kesteven.  We did six in all: Edenham, Irnham, Corby Glen, Swinstead, Careby and Carlby - three open and three locked.  It was a glorious day, the weather just right, the countryside lovely, the villages with their stone built houses were a delight.  I have known this part of the country all my life but had forgotten how deeply and satisfyingly beautiful it is. Hard to think that it was all barely a hundred miles from London.  In all an aesthetically and spiritually refreshing day.

Edenham.  Unfortunately the church, which stands on an ancient, perhaps pre-historic, mound in the midst of the valley of the Eden, was closed.  For repairs I think.  It is the main church of the Grimsthorpe Estate.  You can find out more about both Edenham and Grimsthorpe Castle on my earlier posts.

Irnham is a complete delight and, like Edenham, is an estate village, with any number of charming stone built cottages and a few larger houses such as the Baroque Newton House.  The church, beautiful and very atmospheric, stands cheek by jowl with the medieval Irnham Hall.  Perhaps our favourite.

Corby Glen is a former market town. It has its small Market place, and continues to hold an annual sheep fair in the Autumn. The large parish church stands above the village next to the Manor House, which, I think, is now the vicarage.  It retains some of its original Medieval wall paintings, some more legible than others.  We also visited the Willoughby Memorial Library and Art Gallery.  It is a little marvel.  A building of the utmost charm, built as a the village Grammar school in 1691 by Charles Reed it is surrounded by a fabulous garden - long herbaceous border and lines of pleached limes.  Perfect.  We were both taken by the Oeil-de-Boeuf window in the porch.  Fabulous.

On to Swinstead and back to the Grimsthorpe estate.  Like Edenham it is the burial place of the Willoughby d'Eresbys.  The most important monument here is to the 5th, and final, Duke of Ancaster, by Westmacott.

Careby church, in the water meadows of the river Glen.  Alas it was locked.

Finally Carlby.  High above the Glen and on the very border of Lincolnshire and Rutland.  It too was locked.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Spalding II: from the Town Bridge south

I was back in Spalding yesterday.  It was market day and the place was busy with shoppers.  Apart from a few bargains I was in search of architecture, Georgian architecture to be precise and Spalding is not a place to disappoint even if its charms are not at all apparent.  Persevere.  The river Welland flows through down and both sides of the river are lined with Georgian houses and, below the Town Bridge, warehouses.  There is a lot to see, so I have divided the town into two.   This post concentrates on what is above the Town Bridge with the exception of Ayscoughfee Hall which deserves a post of its own.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Own work: Life Drawing XXXVIII

Life drawing classes resumed last Thursday after the Easter holiday.  I've continued with using watercolour.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Own Work: St Firmin, Thurlby

A sketch I did the other week, and which I feel vaguely pleased with.....

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Back in Birmingham II

Domesticity dominated the second half of our day in Birmingham.
Just down the road from the Barber is Winterbourne House, also owned by the University.  This as an Arts and Crafts House dating from 1903 built by the local architect Joseph Lancaster Ball (1852-1929) for the Nettlefold family - Birmingham manufacturers and Unitarians. It too is very good.  Bequeathed to the University in 1944 the garden which is vast, with formal and informal sections, subsequently became the University Botanic Garden, and the house a museum and conference venue. In the outbuildings are a gallery, second hand bookshop and press.  The garden shelter looks as though it was influenced by the Elizabethan bell cage at East Bergholt. A gate in the garden fence lead to a most miraculous place: a great lake with views across to Edgebaston Golf Club.  Lucky golfers.  Hard to image we were in the midst of the vast West Midlands conurbation.

Mid afternoon and we were on Hurst St heading for the Gay Village when we suddenly came across a group of Georgian Houses, their good proportions deeply striking in what is, it has to be said, a street of very vulgar buildings.  It took us a few seconds to work out that this was the 'Back-to-Backs' owned by the National Trust.  Back-to-Back housing was a feature of working class housing in the great cities of Industrial Revolution England.  Most now have been replaced.  While in cities such as Leeds they formed uniform terraces, in Birmingham they formed courts, with the houses divided along their spine walls to form two dwellings only one room deep looking out either inwards on to the court or outwards on to the street but sharing common sanitary provision in the court.  As now conserved the 'exterior' houses have been turned into holiday lets, while the 'interior' ones have been furnished as they would at various stages of their occupation, based on information gleaned from contemporary sources such as the Census.  Fascinating they are too.  Squalid they are not, though cramped and unsanitary, for they were occupied by skilled artisans.  The kitchen/parlours actually had a lot of charm, far removed from the rather self-concious life at Winterbourne.  The bedrooms at the top of the each house were, however, not places to linger.  Over time many of the houses ceased to be residential and industrial/artisanal use took over. One house is presented in this way; a tailor's shop that continued in use, I think, until the 1980s.  The owner had come from the West Indies in the 1950s/1960s and had established a successful business by a lot of hard and work and shear will power.  In all it was quite touching.  Guided tours only.
The evening was spent in the Jewellry Quarter; pre-dinner drinks at the quirky 'Ana Rocha Bar and Restaurant' on Frederick St., and dinner itself at 'The Viceroy', a rather stylish Indian restaurant on Iknield St.  The Murogh Chicken Livers were fabulous!