Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Friday, 27 July 2012

{London calling...2012}

{via glitterguide}

It's not very often that it's 30 degrees and sunny in London. But when it happens, Londoners take advantage of the gorgeous weather and they're out. Out in full force. The parks are crowded with bathing beauties, the streets & pavement are full of people overspilling from the pubs, and the outdoor cafes are packed. It's a lovely feeling.
This past week I ventured into London a couple of times to get some work done at the Warburg and pick up some images from the British Library for my latest article. I also spent one day strolling through my favourite haunts: the V&A, HarrodsLiberty, etc... The train I take from my cousins' outside London passes through Stratford, where you can catch glimpses of the Olympic park and the Orbit. London is teeming with excitement, but I've actually avoided going in today because of the travel disruptions predicted.

Here are a few shots of one of my favourite cities in the world...

{lunch at the V&A, Morris Rooms}

{sunshine is out in the courtyard at the V&A}

{Food Hall, Harrods}

{stroll through Hyde Park}

{Liberty's interiors are just amazing!}

{I think this is too cute!}

{more lovely displays at Liberty}

{Liberty fabric}

{Soho was packed with people drinking in the streets}

{as was Covent Garden}

{I love Pimm's!}
{at home in my room at the country estate}
Tomorrow I'm off to Warwickshire & then on to my mini-break at the cottage in County Durham, & hopefully I'll force myself to take a break & be offline, so until I return...

{European Sojourn--Prague}

Those of you who have been following my blog, know that I was in Germany last week for a conference. After the conference, CIHA organised weekend tours and I opted for Prague. It's only about a 3 hour drive from Nuremberg, and with a very early start, after a very late night, I slept most of the way there, although from the brief glimpses I got in between naps, the landscape was gorgeous.
Our first day we were taken to the National Gallery of Prague, and were led through the modern collections by the former director of the museum, Tomas Vlcek. He was an extremely enthusiastic guide, and who knew there were so many Picassos & Georges Braques, among other famous paintings here?
{Prague National Museum. The building was pretty fantastic as well}
From the museum we went to Prague cathedral where we had a great guide who provided us with a good history of the cathedral, AND she held the keys to special chapels, the sacristy, and the crypt, all of which are usually closed to general access.
{St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle}

From there we visited the castle, with beautiful vaulted ceilings and ventured down to the Romanesque foundations.
The next day we travelled to Karlstejn Castle, where we had another great tour guide, Prof. Tomas Durdik (& the director of the Germanisches nationalmuseum, Prof. Ulrich Grossman also accompanied us and provided useful information). The castle is stunning, made even more impressive by the long walk up. The castle was built for Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, and held his precious collection of relics as well as coronation jewels. Building began in 1348 and there are still fourteenth-century paintings preserved on its walls.
{the long walk to the castle (some tourists opted for an easier ride by horse)}

{our wonderful guides, with frescoes dating from the 1350s}

{The absolutely stunning chapel of the Holy Cross, only open for special viewing because of the materials' sensitivity to exposure. The bottom of the walls are lined with iron spikes, that were meant to hold candles. The space is already very bright with the gold and the hardstones that line the ceiling and walls but the candlelight must have evoked the New Jerusalem as described in the Book of Revelations, a common motif employed in medieval chapels/churches.}
I am now in Blighty and am headed to Warwickshire this weekend and then onto County Durham for a cottage mini-break. I've spent the last couple of days in & around London, where excitement is mounting for the Olympics. Will try to blog again soon!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

{European Sojourn: Germany (Nuremberg & Bamberg)}

Hi all,
It feels like it's been weeks since I posted last, but I think time feels like it has been extended since I've packed a year's worth of stuff into one mere week! I'm writing from the UK, where I arrived late Sunday from Germany. The conference I attended in Nuremberg was fantastic. Very very busy, full of events, special museum visits as well as giving a talk and listening to incredible and famous art historians from around the world. I hardly know how to sum it all up into one blog post. The days were extremely long: 8am (or earlier)-11pm (or later), and I feel over-stimulated with information, visual images, and bratwurst!
But let me mention some of the highlights:
-attending the CIHA conference enabled me to meet art historians from all around the world, working on a number of subjects, across geographical and chronological boundaries, and not to mention speaking 101 languages. It was academically challenging, inspiring, and stimulating. Look out for the publication coming out in the next year!
-Nuremberg is a beautiful city full of great things to see. Visiting Durer's house and having special access to the Germanisches National Museum was especially memorable. Since our conference was hosted by the museum, they had a special late opening to CIHA participants for the Early Durer exhibition. There's normally a long queue, but we were able to peruse the show in a less-crowded atmosphere amongst like-minded academics. Truly special. Also, the final reception was held in the cloister courtyard of the museum, which was fantastic.
-On Wednesday, the conference organised a trip to Bamberg. We visited Bamberg Cathedral, had lunch in an amazing rose garden near the palace, and visited the former abbey of St. Michelsberg.
I'll post a few pictures below, as I think they capture more than I can in a few words.
Post-conference we travelled to Prague, but I'll blog about that in another post!
{Nuremberg street scene}



{taking photos. photo courtesy of Taisuke}

{the lovely rosengarten (rose garden) where we had lunch}

{gorgeous Rosengarten}

{the New Residence was beautiful, down to the elegant heaters}

{New Residence, Bamberg}

{enjoying dinner & drinks in Nuremberg along the river}

{the palace in Nuremberg}


{the final reception at the  Germanisches National Museum}