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!