Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Ashmolean

This is a tale of two halves really.  One planned in detail, but sadly not so much fun, but the other totally unexpected and really interesting.  Don't you often find that is the way though.  Something that you really look forward to and have built up expectations of, doesn't meet up to what you hope it will be, but if you have no expectations, things turn out to be really good.  I guess that is why you should always have an open mind!

On Valentines Day hubby and I went to Oxford to go to an exhibition about William Morris and - strangely - Andy Warhol.  It was at Modern Art Oxford.  However, this post isn't about that at all.

I will explain why.  We did go to the exhibition and saw some lovely things by William Morris and some things by Warhol too - although they were not up my street I have to say.  On arrival we were presented with 18 pages of A4 paper, each absolutely covered in very very small typed words all about the works we were to see.

It was very dark, no natural light, very hot and there was very little to see.  No pictures were allowed - that is why I have none to share.  It was however, free to enter.

For those with a great academic interest in either Morris or Warhol and the inclination to stand up and read those 18 pages, I am sure that it was very interesting.  For us though, not so much.

The pieces by Morris were wonderful and I would have loved to have seen more of them and if I have the chance to see another exhibition in another location of just his work, I would certainly go and have a look.

So we decided to leave and went instead to the Ashmolean Museum.  We hadn't planned to go there at all.  Our visit was not a complete one by any means and there was more to see that we did not visit.  However, it was a delight to go there and somewhere that I would be willing to return to.  Photographs were allowed - or certainly not stopped - so I have lots to share with you.  This post is therefore split in two with part two coming next week.


One of the most interesting rooms was a quite small space dedicated to the Pre Raphaelite artists.  It was quite busy, so I don't have any pictures of the paintings, but I can recommend going to look at them as there were some incredible works.


I did though get some pictures of this wonderful carved statue.  The detail was incredible and exquisite in its workmanship.  Really so beautiful and finely detailed.  The piece was between 18 and 24 inches high I would guess.  Sadly I forgot to capture any details of the artist or the title of the work.  That alone though is a good reason for a return visit, to get the information!



There were also some stunning works by 19th Century Artists.  I took pictures of these two works especially because I am always telling visitors at work about one owner of the house who collected works by Constable and Turner at the time these works were actually being produced.

Above is Willy Lotts House From The Stour by John Constable.  Painted in approximately 1816-1818.  The house stood just behind the mill which featured in Constable's most famous work, The Haywain.

Below is The Devil's Bridge, St Gotthard Pass by JMW Turner.  Probably painted between 1803 and 1804.

Both works were stunning to look at up close and in person.  Hubby is a real admirer of Turner's works and always takes great interest in studying them.



We also spent some time looking at the works of the Pissarro family.  I chose these two to share with you as they were ones that I particularly liked and show two very different styles of work.

The work above is by Camille Pissarro, and was painted in 1876.  It is titled Farm at Montfoucalt : Snow Effect. 

Below is Eragny Church, painted by Lucien Pissarro, the son of Camille.  It was painted in 1886 and followed his fathers examples of work in the Pointillism style.  If you look closely you can see how the different dots of colour that are seemingly unrelated make a different colour when viewed together from a distance.



This carved wooden panel dates from between 1600 and 1650, and comes from Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire.  Originally the leaves - oak and beech - would have been painted and some paint apparently still survives.

The piece below is an Archangel, dating from approximately 1450 and comes from Ewelme Church in Oxfordshire.  Again this would have been painted originally and had between four and six wings, rather than just the two which remain today.



There was so much to see, so I am just leaving you with a couple more things today.

This is some of the Cuerdale Hoard.  It was found in 1840, but dates from about 905 - yes, 905, over a thousand years ago!  It was made up of 8500 pieces of silver, weighing about 40 kilos.  Most of it is in the British Museum, but there are a small selection of items as you can see above at the Ashmolean.  The picture below is of a picture of more of the hoard.



Just another couple of random things!  Some wonderful embroidery and a great chandelier!


Also, a close up of the frieze which goes around the top of a very grand staircase.


In part two I will have some ceramics and silver pieces to share with you.

Although I could not share William Morris, I hope that you enjoyed this visit, as we certainly did!

Amy

38 comments:

  1. Glad to read you had a good day in the end. Have you ever been to Petworth House (a National Trust property)? They have quite a lot of Turner art, and there is an exhibition on at the moment following the film. xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice to see that from something not so good that you manage to find this little oasis. The photographs are lovely and I am with you on the statue it is magnificent. I hope you get to go back soon so that you can share lots more loveliness. Look forward to part two.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm glad you enjoyed your day, I often find that I enjoy places so much more if I go with an open mind. It looks really interesting with some beautiful things to see.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the Ashmolean and often go in when I am in Oxford. We are so lucky in this country to be able to pop into museums and not have to pay; all that beauty for free.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Exquisite artwork. Such amazing detail!! Thank you, Amy. And, I am lovin' your dish towel art, too!! blessings ~ tanna

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lasttime I went it was to an exhibition and we had to pay and no photos. Seeing the angel makes me want to pop back and take some more photos round Ewelme church it is quite stunning.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As you know I love visiting museums and am also more than happy to go on a virtual tour via your blog. Thankyou for taking us. Very excitied about the Cuerdale Hoard. I've blogged about the rest of it (or perhaps some of the rest of it) here.
    http://artefactsobjects.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/viking-change.html
    at the British museum. It never occurred to me that I wasn't looking at it in its entirety and it might have been shared with other museums. this has got me thinking what else may have been divided between museums.
    Also have learnt that there was a father & son Pissarro. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm glad you had a good day out in the end, lovely photos as always xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit Amy, I love the paintings. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I adore William Morris, Amy. How I wish I could have joined you on this wonderful day out! When doing Art A Level (many years ago now!) I wanted to visit the Ashmolean as I studied the Pre-Raphaelites but alas it wasn't possible at the time. What wonderful embroideries, and such fascinating collections you saw. I've never heard of the Cuerdale hoard-wow! Lovely day, so glad you enjoyed it and thank you for sharing xx

    ReplyDelete
  11. Have never visited the Ashmolean, but it's been on our list for a while. I like the work of William Morris a lot, Andy Warhol not at all, what a joke.
    Camille Pissarro has been one of my favorite painters for years, didn't realize he had a son who painted too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You have so many museums and historical sites near you. This is another interesting place. I enjoyed my tour today!

    ReplyDelete
  13. How wonderful! The art is fun to see and the history associated with it so interesting! And all that silver jewellery! Amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. The detail on the small carved statue is exquisite - I think I would have spent a lot of tme looking at it! A good selection of paintings - and my favourite, the jewellery!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am a huge fan of Pointilism, I find them so fascinating and I sort of go into a trance when looking at them, I think I go a bit like you do when you look at those Magic Eye pictures lol

    ReplyDelete
  16. You've given me another reason to travel back to England and to Oxford...
    http://happywonderer.com/

    ReplyDelete
  17. The day was definitely saved, beautiful photos xx

    ReplyDelete
  18. We went to the Ashmolean last summer and had a lovely time. It is light and spacious and full of wonderful things that would interest anyone, even two small girls. We'd love to visit again someday. Thanks sharing with us your visit there. Your photos are fantastic. X

    ReplyDelete
  19. As you know I'm a big fan of Museums so I've really enjoyed your post. It is such a long time since we visited the Oxford Museums - must have been mid/late 1980s so it was good to catch up some of the changes. I love the Turner (have you seen the film Mr Turner?) and both Pissarros also like William Morris so would have loved to see the exhibition although it does sound quite a tiring one to visit. Glad you found some lovely things at the Ashmolean:)

    ReplyDelete
  20. What an interesting day out - sometimes the best laid plans are the ones that happen to us spontaneously, I always think!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Glorious! What lovely things. I adore the painting of the farm in the snow. I'm going to Oxford this week too xx

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's so fun when you go somewhere that you didn't expect and it surprises you with it's wonderfulness ( a word I made up). Lol But not so much when you go somewhere with high expectations and it lets you down.

    Beautiful art work and photos my Dear! One of my favorite things about my trip to Europe, long ago now. was the access to seeing such amazing and beautiful history and art! love love love xo

    ReplyDelete
  23. Very interesting and some lovely things to see - I love the painting of the farm in the snow too.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you so much, Amy! This post was a real treat.
    "Willy Lott's House from the Stour" is so beautiful. (I think it was acquired very recently.)
    And then you travelled backward in time... and we were able to admire some truly fascinating pieces!
    Looking forward to the second part!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Viewing great art and work is so enjoyable - thank you for sharing.
    As for the William Morris and Warhol exhibit - well, at least you got to enjoy it in person. I don't always understand why photography is permitted in certain exhibits and not in others. I was stopped once while trying to take a photo in a special exhibit. While I understood, I was disappointed.
    Looking forward to seeing the other artwork.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thanks for the virtual visit - beautiful art!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I never realised there were two Pissaro's! I need to go Googling them now!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Amy, thanks for taking us along on your walk through the art museum, and there were some great works. I love sculpture and am fascinated with the detail in some of them...true artistry.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I often find that the unplanned things work out better than the planned things. Fab photos. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you for taking us along on your visit. William Morris - yes, Andy Warhol - no. Wonder who came up with that pairing?
    The Ashmolean was a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
  31. It is quite a luxury that so many of your musea are free of entrance fee ! Over here on the continent, as soon as there is an interesting exhibit, you have to pay...
    Lovely virtual tour Amy, thank you !!

    ReplyDelete
  32. That would be an interesting place and some of the artwork you photographed is lovely. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  33. From your photos I'm guessing the Ashmoleon is rather like the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge, although I'm ashamed to admit I have never even been to Oxford!

    ReplyDelete
  34. The Ashmolean is a special place for me, but I find I have to concentrate on small areas at a time as there is just so much to see. Did you see my favourite item? - The Alfred Jewel, I always have to pay a quick visit to the room where it is held.

    ReplyDelete
  35. We had a flying visit to Oxford just before Christmas and unfortunately ran out of time which was a real shame as the Ashmolean was one of the places I'd been looking forward to visiting. We'll just have to go back.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. We have not visited Oxford in a long while, the museum looks interesting. That sculpture at the top is really lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I have been there, an amazing place. I adored the Cabinet of Curiosities and so much beside. You brought back excellent memories!
    Amalia

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so very much for stopping by to visit and for leaving a comment, I love hearing what you have to say and I read all of your messages.

All comments are moderated, so it might take a little while for your comment to appear, but it will once I have read it!

Thank you again for visiting!

Amy xx