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The Golden Hall, Stockholm

The Golden Hall, Stockholm

When the Queen of the Mälaren was unveiled in 1923, the critic for Stockholm Dagblad, the conservative morning newspaper, described her as an unseemly joke,  like a Chinese-Indian-Byzantine Medusa,  of “grotesque wildness” and “snake-like locks of hair”.     Her eyes were a particular source of consternation. The Queen of the Mälaren is an old […]

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The Pop Culture Mosaic

The Pop Culture Mosaic

Freddy Mercury, E.T., Mickey Mouse, et al – the framed mosaics, niftily hung on temporary frames, were the chosen subjects of people who visit Tessa Hunkin’s studio to make their own mosaics, and work with her on larger projects. Hunkin may be Britain’s leading modern mosaicist.  Her work features in several posts on the  Spitalfields […]

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Last Supper in Pompeii

Last Supper in Pompeii

The last day, of the Last Supper in Pompeii, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.  A mosaic-related foray, but much, much, more. This small but exquisitely formed show closed on the 12th January, so little to add beyond a few haphazard thoughts.   Paul Roberts, the curator of the show and head of the antiquities department, […]

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Castle Builders:  The Dreamwork of Isaiah Zagar

Castle Builders: The Dreamwork of Isaiah Zagar

Late in the Edinburgh Festival of 2016 the founder of the Summerhall venue, Robert McDowell, introduced me  to a minor work of show-business magic.      The Castle Builder was one of those Fringe shows where you spend the first several minutes in your seat wondering what  am I doing here, and why is this […]

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Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a place of edifices, of great architecture domestic and imperial in scale, from “Second Empire” to neo-classical of the grandest style.   It’s also a place of quotations; the place is littered with sayings by Benjamin Franklin, inventor, revolutionary, founder of the University of Pennsylvania, coiner of meaningful admonitions. Franklin was also one […]

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The mosaic displays of the Zeugma and Bardo Museums

The mosaic displays of the Zeugma and Bardo Museums

This blog may be a practise run, or an ongoing assemblage of observations, for a minor paper I hope to submit comparing the display of mosaics at two  museums:  the Zeugma Mosaic Museum, in Gaziantep, Turkey, and the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia. I came across the Gaziantep museum by chance in 2013, in the […]

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The Unswept Floor

The Unswept Floor

For the mosaic class assignment at the London School of Mosaic this week we’ve been asked to produce our own responses to the Unswept Floor. For the uninitiated, such as me, the Unswept Floor is arguably the most famous mosaic of the ancient world.   Why?  First, it was described by Pliny, who uniquely also […]

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Mosiacism

Mosiacism

Where do you begin with mosaics?   Impossible.   But perhaps at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gazientep, Turkey.   The stunning, purpose-built museum displays the mosaics dramatically rescued from a huge Roman site being flooded by the rising  waters of a dam. The museum took the so-called Gipsy Girl as it’s figurehead.   The […]

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Miniature Mosaic

Miniature Mosaic

Browsing the stands at the Winter Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia in November I came across this magnificent Italian marble table at Burton Antiques.    The fine variety  of the cut marble with geometric black inlay lines is combined with a mesmerising  set of micro mosaics.   The centre piece shows St Peter’s Square, […]

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Friend of Peter:  Andrew Cranston

Friend of Peter: Andrew Cranston

The Hawick painter Andrew Cranston, 50, was for twenty years a lecturer at Gray’s art college in Aberdeen, until 2017.    Three or four years ago dealer Richard Ingleby visited his Glasgow studio and was stunned by what he found.     A book on him has got glowing words from Peter Doig, the Scots […]

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Double Uppers  on the Fringe

Double Uppers on the Fringe

Leafing through the Edinburgh Fringe programme as one does I got interested by the numbers of performers  running two or even more shows in the festival – comedians, in particular. One develops a nerdy appetite for possible phenomena like these – are there more of these double-uppers?  Is it something forced on performers by rising […]

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Black Burns

Black Burns

It is the premise of conceptual art, presumably, that artists conceive of a project they can then get others to do. Looking across the Great Hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery at John Flaxman’s white marbled statue of Scotland’s bard, glorifying Robert Burns as something heroic and pure, one feels Douglas Gordon’s vision of […]

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London Art Fair

London Art Fair

IF ART sales need confident buyers it was not the most auspicious week for the London Art Fair.    Theresa May’s Brexit speech was reverberating during the VIP opening while Friday brings the strange new world of President Donald Trump. Soaring  rents and rates in central London have seen two important  venues for Scottish art close their doors in the past year, amid […]

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Fly 2016 – Visual Art Scotland

Fly 2016 – Visual Art Scotland

There is no longer an art college in Scotland that teaches a dedicated ceramics degree.   Which  makes the ceramics on show at this year’s Visual Art Scotland winter exhibition more emphatically interesting. Susan O’Byrne graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in design and applied art in 1999.   Her wall of fantastical animal heads in the […]

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