Chicago : High Rise and After the Fall


First View of Chicago from the Chicago Skyway is always exciting

The final 3 days of our recent US trip we spent in Chicago. It’s a great a city; always one of the highlights. It never fails to please/absorb/interest. Over the years I’ve just about ‘done’ all the main tourist attractions: ascended the Sears (now, Willis) Tower and the Hancock; shopped on the Magnificent Mile; eaten ribs, burgers, pizza; toured The Robie and other Frank Lloyd Wright houses; taken a trip out to Wright’s and Hemingway’s Oak Park; admired all the treasures at the Art Institute; strained my neck  to see the skyscrapers on the famous Architecture Cruise; cycled down the length of Lake Michigan from Lincoln Park to Grant Park, including forays into Olive Park and Navy Pier and so much more. I think this was our 8th visit and a few days in Chicago always fits in so well with the weeks in the backwoods near a rural Lake Michigan.


Rural Lake Michigan

On this visit we revisited The Art Institute and repeated The Architecture Cruise. We were thrilled to have the company of two special friends who had travelled there all the way by train from Santa Fe in New Mexico. Sarah posts a comment here occasionally.


The Willis Tower from the Chicago River at Sunset

I also walked from our hotel off Michigan Avenue to Oak Beach and on down to Navy Pier and back.


I didn’t walk all 11.5 miles


Oak Street Beach Deserted after Labour Day


Swimmers Ignore the Warning Signs!


Navy Pier from The Trail


Arriving at The Navy Pier


Chicago from The Pier


From the Sublime to the Ridiculous?

At the Art Institute we all visited the major exhibition “America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s“. It’s coming to Royal Academy next year brining with it the famous Grant Wood painting “American Gothic”; quite a coup as I don’t think it has left the US before.


America After The Fall and The Chicago Art Institute

Here is part of the description from the Art Institute website.

“What is American art? That is a question the country’s artists asked and answered in myriad ways during the decade spanning the economic crash of 1929 through America’s entry into World War II. With economic downturn at home and the rising threat of fascism abroad, artists of the time applied their individualized visions of the nation to rethinking modernism. This exhibition brings together 50 works by some of the foremost artists of the era—including Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Grant Wood—to examine the landscape of the United States during the Great Depression and the many avenues artists explored as they sought to forge a new national art and identity.”

Besides this special exhibition we visited various rooms throughout including the beautiful Singer Sargents; Mary Cassatts and I came across some of my favourite Chardins (and here) and Liotards just as we were leaving.

Thank you Sarah and Vince for your wonderful company – we had a great time in Chicago with you!





Noble Prospects : Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape

Can I really have been have jotting down notes about my travels and interspersing the notes with my photos for five years already? I’ve just been looking back at my post about Capability Brown at Harewood and am amazed to see that the date was October 2011. My first post was dated 20 August 2011. And I’m stunned to see that that was five years ago to the day! Well I never.


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‘That House of Art’ : Petworth House

On Sunday last week I took one of my American friends (and fellow book group member) to Petworth House in West Sussex. I’d picked her up the day before from a Charlotte Bronte Conference at Chawton House Library near Alton in Hampshire; taken her back to Godalming where we walked with Oliver Pug to Munstead Wood (just a glimpse) and dropped her at her Ewhurst B&B after a pub supper nearby.

Alton Church

Alton Church

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CoCA : Centre of Ceramic Art, York

Last week was a very arty/gallery week for me what with the Whitworth on Tuesday and a re-visit to York City Art Gallery on Thursday. Back in April I first visited the recently re-opened Art Gallery in York with the local Art Fund.

Centre of Ceramic Art, CoCA.
York City Art Gallery
11am, Friday 1st April 2016
York’s wondrously refurbished Art Gallery is now host to the new Centre of Ceramic Art, a splendid addition to the Museum’s collection. On show are the collections of three major 20th century collectors of contemporary pottery in a display which rivals the works themselves. Helen Walsh, Curator of Ceramics, will talk about the bringing together of the collection before showing us round. In addition, a guided session on handling pots will give you a chance to learn much more about the making processes and understand the unique appeal of the items in the York collection.
This display of ceramics is a real eye-opener. 
Own transport starting in foyer at 11 am
Light Refreshments are available in the café of the gallery but space is limited. There are
numerous cafes adjacent to the gallery.

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Glasgow Weekend : The Remains

In addition to all the Mackintosh connections in Glasgow we found time to explore the permanent collections at both the Hunterian and the Kelvingrove Galleries; to visit Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis and enjoy a session at Glasgow’s Annual Book Festival “Aye Write“. The festival takes place in the beautiful Mitchell Library, one of Europe’s largest public libraries, which has been one of Glasgow’s iconic landmarks since it opened in 1911.


Waterstones Pop-up Shop at The Mitchell Library

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