The New Sackler Extension Courtyard and Cafe
On Friday last week I spent the afternoon at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington. I managed to fit in two small and one blockbuster exhibitions. I was meeting my friend Julie to see the Ocean Liners: Speed and Style major exhibition. (Julie and I have booked a cruise next year – more details later.) But I arrived a couple of hours ahead of time because I wanted to see the photographic exhibition : Into the Woods. I discovered on arrival that Folio Books are 70 years old and there was an engaging small display on an upper floor which extended into the National Art Library Reading Room.
At the end of last year I read a book review in Country Life Magazine of the book Silent Witnesses: trees in British art, 1760-1870; by Christina Payne. In a note at the end the reviewer mentioned an exhibition which was being hosted by The Higgins in Bedford. The exhibition finishes tomorrow [25 February 2018] but I was able to get to see it on Tuesday as Bedford is about a 50 minute drive down the A1 from Alwalton.
The best thing about visiting Woolsthorpe Manor was to see the actual tree from which the apple fell which inspired Sir Isaac Newton to discover the theory of gravitation. The story was recorded by William Stukeley who wrote :
The evening of Wednesday 21st June 2017 found us in Rügen’s tree tops eating and drinking our way up, up up and along to view the midsummer sunset at the “Natur erbe Zentrum” [natural heritage centre of Rügen]. It was an evening to remember although sadly the sunset was overshadowed by cloud.
The offices and start point for walking in the tree tops
It’s interesting that just as I was about to write this post I read an article in the Weekend Financial Times entitled “Golden Sylva“. Basically, it’s about an architect in Germany using his own woodland to build his own low-energy house. The woodland has been owned by his family for centuries … “Frey is not alone in Germany with his love of woods. The citizens of Europe’s leading industrial economy are deeply attached to their trees. About 2 million people in a population of 80 million possess at least a patch of woodland, often no larger than a copse but nonetheless a personal treasure … in German culture, the tree is uniquely significant. As Hans-Peter Friedrich, a former agriculture minister, says : “You find woods in every German story”.”
The article goes on to explain what Mr Frey is doing and how he is going about the construction etc. but later it reverts back to the tree-related roots of Germany’s founding myth and the importance of woods in German art, music and literature.
Earlier this week I spent a few days in North Wales with two friends. We stayed in a lovely old Landmark Trust property, Dolbelydr, near Trefnant in Denbighshire.
Here’s an extract from the Landmark Trust website about Dolbelydr :
“Meadow of the Rays of the Sun
Jacaranda Tree in Palm Mar
During my week on the Canary Island of Tenerife I was intrigued by the vegetation supported on the scrubby landscape and within the towns and villages, in particular the trees that grow to such a great height and those that I had heard of but never actually seen, for real.