For the love of God

Our final coach trip recently was to the little town of Gandia, further north again so through the same wonderful mountains as the trip to Javea, and a little inland.

We went to see the Ducal Palace, which dates from the mid 1300s and is very closely linked with the Jesuit order of monks and with one of its most famous Dukes, Francis de Borja, in the mid 1500s. Francis wanted to become a monk but had instead to take up his family inheritance. After the death of his wife he joined the church.

The palace is spectacular and has some amazing tiles. Much of the artwork relates to the story of Francis Borja and his family. The family were related to the infamous Borgias, and the notorious Rodrigo Borgia who was a pope in the 1400s. There were some great inspirations for crafting patterns in the tiles and woodwork as well, that window shutter has a fantastic quilt block design on it!

There was also a little bit of textile interest from the 1500s, the family crest and a priest’s robe.

The ceramics were of many different styles and this painted panel had some wonderful detail, I assume the striped flowers are tulips which I know were very popular from the 18th century.

My favourite room was the wonderful Neo-Gothic chapel, the artwork in there was just stunning. It reminded me of the decoration of Cardiff Castle and Castle Coch, which is decorated in a very similar style. The ceiling was amazing, I do love a starry ceiling!

This was one of my favourite paintings, I do love representations of nuns and she looks so peaceful.

The altar was beautiful as well, the painting around the cross was so delicate.

Such a beautiful place, I could have stayed there for hours looking at all the detail.

The later part of the tour covered the later baroque style rooms, wonderful ornate wood and plaster work and some very impressive ceilings. The guide explained that they were actually painted canvases rather than some Sistine Chapel style mammoth ceiling artwork.

This picture was so sweet and I love the ornate frame. Something like this would be great for blackwork!

The palace went into decline as the family in Spain died out and in the late 1800s it was bought by the Jesuits and restored. It has been a national monument since 1964 and is well worth a visit.

We had time to have a very nice lunch in the old town and admire the cathedral and the town hall.

We also made a quick visit to the museum, which was based in the old nunnery and hospital. There were some beautiful pieces of medieval art there as well that had been collected by the order.

I am very tempted to try and link this order, which unfortunately I forgot to record the name of, with life in medieval England as I would love to add a flower head dress to my nun’s outfit.

Although I love the paintings themselves, it is the detail in the backgrounds that is the most interesting part for me, such gorgeous architecture and landscapes.

There were also some musical angels, I really love these depictions and have only seen them here in Spain.

These were a group of interesting and very unusual reliquary heads, there were about 10 in total.

I am very much enjoying being able to explore much more of Spain, this is such a fascinating country and I am planning to read much more of its history over the coming months. I have read quite a lot about the civil war period, but less about the 1400 – 1600s so will be concentrating on that next. The history is very interesting in comparison to that of the UK, in terms of the many separate kingdoms that existed. The relationship between Spain and its empire is also something that I would like to read more about.

It is lovely to go out and practise my Spanish as well. I am still studying every day and when we go on trips get lots of opportunity to use it. One of the things that I am finding is that I can now understand a lot more. I listen to what people are saying around me and it is starting to slowly make sense which is brilliant and makes me feel as if I am making real progress.

It has been unseasonably hot here, 33 degrees earlier this week, which is more like July weather, so I have been to the pool three times this week. Between 5 and 7 they have half price rates and it is virtually empty so I have the whole pool to myself to swim. So far this week I have done 150 lengths which I am very pleased with. I have been able to take my bike out as well and have been doing some more off road exploring.

I have also been busy with my writing, I am half way through a new writing course with the WEA which is centred on Place and Identity. I am finding the exercises that we do really helpful in stimulating different aspects of the novel writing. I start another creative writing course with them in a couple of weeks, with the same tutor I had in January.

I am so, so happy that I spend my time at the computer doing fun things now, in previous years May and June was all about marking thousands of words of dissertations and essays. I still can’t believe I never have to do that ever again 🙂

I hope you are enjoying life wherever you are, I will be back soon to share some more crafting with you, I have been doing a little bit in between all the adventuring 😉 In the meantime, have fun, take care , stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Finding my people

Long time, no blog! I hope you have all been having fun while I have been away. I had a wonderful time at the Leeds International Medieval Congress, both in the sessions and in meeting wonderful people and socialising. It was so lovely to meet people who were interested in the same things that I am. I made some very useful contacts including some people who sent me their research which was very kind of them. It is brilliant to know that there are people out there interested in the same things that I am and I came home very enthused about my doctorate.

It was wonderful to be in such a lovely environment. I stayed in student halls which took me back a bit, though they were much more sophisticated than in my day, more like Travelodge rooms. Leeds University campus is very similar to ours with a mix of different period buildings and these were my favourite ones. Quite fitting given my interest in textiles as they were the Clothworkers’ Court.

IMC Buildings 1

IMC Buildings 2

IMC Buildings 7

In the lobby there was a display of dyeing samples. I can just imagine the workers in the local textile industry coming to have lectures all about the different processes.

I went to quite a few really interesting presentations on textiles as well as ones on pilgrim badges and manuscripts. In total I attended about 36 separate presentations so I had a very busy week.

One of the most fascinating was about how they make facsimile manuscripts. There was a presentation and display by a company based in Germany, Zeireis Facsimiles,  where they showed the very complex process which was really amazing. They had some gorgeous reproductions including one of Mary Stuart’s book of hours below in the velvet cover.

IMC 6 Manuscript

IMC 1 Manuscript

IMC 3 Manuscript

IMC 2 Manuscript

There were also displays every lunchtime from the Brotherton Library, which is based at Leeds University. Those were fascinating, though some were not as ornate as others, but just amazing that they have survived this long.

IMC 10 Manuscript

IMC 9 Manuscript

I would love to go over and look at some of the manuscripts there so will try and factor that in to some free time after completing the doctorate.One other interesting thing was that they hold the collection of drawings from one of the major sources we use for costume research for re-enactment, by Herbert Norris, so I would love to look at those.

On the last day there was a medieval market with displays and stalls including one of my favourite textile people, Tanya Bentham from Threads of Time. She has the most amazing embroidery on her blog, Opus Anglicanum.

IMC Market 10

I also saw the lovely Jim of Trinity Court Potteries who I buy all my medieval ware from as well as one of my favourite thread suppliers, the Mulberry Dyer, who were doing a rope making demonstration. There was also book binding and falconry, it was just like being at a re-enactment event!

IMC Market 9

IMC Market 1

IMC Market 8

The combat displays were done by a very good group called Three Swords, you might recognise the heraldry on this shield as Jamie in our group also portrays De Warrene.

IMC Market 6

IMC Market 7

I loved the outfits that the Eran ud Turan group were wearing, such amazing fabric! They have a blog here which I am going to devote some time to as they have information about all the wonderful places that I want to travel to when I retire.

I have had a busy week since getting back from the conference, I made a shirt for Jamie as well as doing lots of sorting out and catching up from being away for nearly three weeks and then was off to the wonderful Tewkesbury event for last weekend. I will post about that next time as I need to collect some more pictures of the event first.

In other news the boiler has been poorly, it is nearly fixed but it is going to be quite expensive so I am glad that I have not got much else planned to do this summer. Jake is off in London today sorting out his visa for Japan which is very exciting, fingers crossed all will go well and he can start getting the final arrangements made.

I hope you all have a good week ahead, I shall be mainly working on the doctorate with a bit of work admin thrown in but plan to have some time at the weekend to craft. I seem to have quite a long to do list and really need to decide on an outfit for Lincoln at the end of August.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Art in the Prado

Hello everyone, hope that you have been having a lovely week. I have which was very nice, it is always sad having to go back to work after a great holiday but I have had a really good few days.

I have had fun times with the trainees that came to our Spring Conference, presented at our own Research Conference and then went to see a brilliant Bluegrass band last night.

The sun is shining and washing is on the line! What could be better? Oh and I have the weekend free to craft. An excellent life indeed.

I wanted to share with you some of my favourite paintings from the Prado, photos were not allowed so all of these have come from web sources, one of my favourite sources is the Web Gallery of Art which I use a lot for costume research.

While we were in Florence a couple of years ago we saw some of the work of one of my favourite artists Fra Angelico and there were two more of his works in the Prado.

The Annunciation is stunning, there are many similar paintings which are equally lovely but the detail on this one is so wonderful, the millefiori (million flowers) on the grass outside, the starry ceiling and the gold of the halos and beam just amaze me.

Prado - Annunciation 1

There is a close up here which shows the detail of the beam of light and halos.

Prado - Annunciation 2 detail

The Prado Museum had recently acquired another of his works, ‘The Virgin and the Pomegranate’. This had only arrived in January and you can read the history of the painting at this link here , so we were very lucky in the timing of our visit.

Prado - Virgin 1

I love the look on Jesus’s face reaching for the pomegranate seeds as if he a little unsure what they will be like.

Prado - Virgin detail

One of our favourite pieces was this enormous painting by Bartholomeus Strobel. He was a German painter who was painting in the early 1600s and this is entitled, ‘The Beheading of John the Baptist’.

˜d

Again the detail in this is fantastic, the painting is about 10 metres long and every person is painted with such care, the amount of work that has gone into this is staggering and the costumes are wonderful to look at.

Strobel painting detail 1

˜d

˜d ˜

There were also these pieces by Reubens and Brueghel  – The Five Senses

These were painted between 1617 and 1618 and not only are the stunning in the wealth of detail in them but the backgrounds are so beautiful.

‘Sight’, shows an archway to a town, wouldn’t you just love to step into the painting and out that arch and explore?

Prado - Five senses - Touch

This is part of the detail from ,’Hearing’, the same castle appears in the background of a couple of the paintings and it looks very similar to the ones we visited in Denmark last year as they had green roofs.

Prado - Five senses - Hearing - detail

Prado - Five senses - sight

This one above, ‘Sight and Smell’,  was also by Brueghel and is a copy of the original done shortly after as the original was destroyed in a fire in the 1700s.

I just love that little glimpse through the doorway and all the landscapes propped up on the floor.

My research paper was on masters and their apprentices and I mentioned the role of the ,’masterpiece’, in that process.

These truly are masterpieces and I am so lucky to have seen them. I would love to go back to the Prado on my next visit to Madrid, so much more to see and wonders to see again.

I hope you have enjoyed your little virtual tour, I am off for a bit of a garden tidy up now since it is still sunny and then an afternoon and knitting and embroidery 🙂

Have fun whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

 

 

More medieval art – and this time it gets to live with me!

Hello everyone

Am posting this from my bedroom while watching the mist roll in over the moors – don’t you just love July in England lol!

The weather has been pretty variable here lately but I have been spending most of my free time making medieval costume for friends so it has not been a problem.

I realised after I had posted the pictures from Florence that I had not yet shown you my latest wonderful art from my friend Pat of Buckles Medieval Art.

These were my Christmas presents (and a wonderful house-warming present from Pat who is lovely as well as superbly talented!)

I have previously posted about the art I already have from Buckles and these beautiful pieces are now in my bedroom and lounge to add to my collection.

An early style of tryptich – Byzantine Art influenced, very much like the Baptistry in Florence.

Buckles new art 4

A later style Madonna triptych, there were so many like this in the Uffuzi Gallery in Florence.

Buckles new art 3

Buckles new art 1

My house-warming gift, a painting of me in lady’s costume to complete my set of me in different roles – I also have an embroiderer and a nun.

Buckles new art 2

It is so lovely to be able to own these pieces, thank you Pat and Clive for all your hard work!

When we were at Tatton recently we took some pictures of their stall – look at all this wonderful work.

Buckles Stall

Buckles 2

Buckles 3

Buckles 5

Buckles 4

Please go and visit their web site as well.

Work is still busy, busy so am enjoying my R and R with some simple garment making – shirts, brais, hose and coifs for friends. Nice hand finishing while watching fairly mindless TV of an evening.

I have also been enjoying the White Queen on BBC 1 – spending time fabric spotting to see if I own any of the stuff they have used 🙂

Take care, have a good week and thanks for visiting.

Medieval art anyone?

Well the trip to Florence with my lovely mother was fantastic!

I think this has to be my favourite city so far – the churches and palaces full of frescos and medieval art, the Uffizi Gallery with even more medieval art, the beautiful buildings and views over the Tuscan hills and the gorgeous food.

View from the Ponte Vecchio looking at the Arno River.

View from bridge

Some of the 80 ice cream flavours to choose from in the shop near our hotel.

Ice cream

I loved the display at this shop in one of the side streets, We came back with pasta, herbs and oils, yum, yum!

Fruit and veg

And there are also lovely shops if you are into that, personally I am not going to pay 10 times the price I can here for a pair of designer sandals but we did a little window shopping and marvelled at what some of the so-called fashions were priced at.

We stayed at the Albergo Firenze, another one of my fantastic finds from Expedia. Although it was rated only 2 star it was a gorgeous room, really good value for money and the location is excellent – 5 mins walk either way from the Palazzo Vecchio and the cathedral so exactly where you want to be.

Hotel

I have put a tiny selection of pics here, as there was so much to see.

Angel mosaics in the Baptistry.

Baptistry 8

Detail from one of the Madonnas in the Palazzo Vecchio.

Palazzo Madonna 2

Detail from one of the Annunciation frescos in the Santa Maria Novella church.

SMN angel detail

One of the chapel paintings from the same church.

SMN chapel with polyptych

We also saw some beautiful silver and goldwork, this was an altar piece frontal in the museum of the Santa Lorenzo church dating from the late 1700s.

Goldwork at St Lorenzo

Goldwork 2

Goldwork 3

Goldwork 4

Goldwork 5

I also loved this ceiling painting from the Plazzo Vecchio with its depiction of women spinning, weaving and sewing.

Palazzo ceiling crafts

Palazzo ceiling crafts 2

I had seen some of the fresco paintings from the churches before as many are in medieval costume books – look at these two beautiful gowns from frescos in the Santa Croche church.

SC Fresco - gown detail

SC Fresco - gown detail 2

I have come back with loads of prints and a new icon with one of my favourite Madonnas by Filippo Lippi so have put up some new art in my bedroom to remind me of the trip!

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.