Words about pictures, and other things, too.

Read on!

  • Van Gogh’s Tarascon Diligence at the Ashmolean

    Treasures from the Henry and Rose Pearlman collection Last week I went to Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum to see treasures from the Henry and Rose Pearlman collection in a show entitled Cezanne and the Modern.  The meat and potatoes of the show were a goodly number of watercolours by Paul Cézanne. There were fine paintings and sculptures by Toulouse-Lautrec, Manet, Degas

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    The Art of Jane Tomlinson
  • Birding in The Gambia

    170 different species in just 10 days! Last week, just as the birds fly south to escape the British winter, so did we… to The Gambia. As well as lots of sunshine, we saw more than 170 species of birds (not being ‘listers’, we lost count after that)! Shockingly, Jane even enjoyed the walking! The trip was pretty exclusively to

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  • Squonk

    Side 1 track 3 of Genesis’ 1977 album Trick of the Tail tells the tale of the squonk, a mythical creature from American folklore. Listen here and read the lyrics. Legend has it that the creature is so ashamed of its hideous appearance, it hides deep in the forest and spends much of its time weeping. Hunters report that when

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  • Mohamed Bouazizi

    The self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi – 17 December 2010

    What a magic carpet ride it was for our brothers and sisters in North Africa and the Middle East. Egypt’s Mubarak-led police state deposed, Libya’s mad dog Gaddafi fittingly gunned down in a sewer. And the struggle continues for reform in Bahrain, Yemenis fight for their rights, and brave and bullied Syrians continue to rise up against the barbarism of

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  • greenham common women

    Greenham Common Peace Women ‘Embrace the Base’

    A cold day in the Cold War The 12th December 1982 was cold. Not really the kind of day to be hanging about outside unless there is something you really have to do. But there was something that I and thousands of other women really, really had to do. In 1981, the world was in the grip of the Cold

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  • The death of Hernán Cortés – 2 December 1547

    “He came dancing across the water with his galleons and guns, Looking for the new world in that palace in the sun”- from Cortez the Killer by Neil Young Hernán (Hernando) Cortés was a glory-seeking, ruthless murderer capable of barbaric cruelty, who more or less single-handedly destroyed the ancient Aztec culture. Using terror tactics, guns and horses he ‘conquered’ Mexico

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  • Genesis revisited revisited

    For the army of Genesis fans out there who crave to hear live once again the glorious symphonic songs of the pioneering progsters, until this year, the nearest thing you got was hearing guitarist Steve Hackett revisiting a Genesis tune or two. Hackett-era Genesis (from 1971 to 1976) forms a huge part of the soundtrack to my early life, and

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  • Acapulco teapot

    Magic portal teapot

    A visit to the Santiago house of poet Pablo Neruda. Known as the Chilean ‘Shakespeare’ and revered as that nation’s conscience, Neruda was a collector of really interesting stuff, which is on display in his former home, now a museum, in Chile’s capital city Santiago, which we visited in 2011. Guided from room to room, we admired the eclectic architecture,

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  • Antony Gormley – Another Place

    We happened to be driving from Cumbria to North Wales yesterday and it occurred to me that it would a good chance to swing by to see Antony Gormley’s sculptural installation ‘Another Place’. Gormley’s work features 100 life size cast iron sculptures of his own body which have been installed on a 2 mile stretch of the wide sandy beach

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  • To Kill A Mockingbird

    Harper Lee publishes To Kill A Mockingbird – 11 July 1960

    “…Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing … but sing their hearts out

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  • Emma's tattoo

    Skin deep

    My paintings have, quite literally, been getting under the skin of two admirers of my work. I was sent photos by two young women who had, quite independently of each other, had my paintings tattooed on their bodies! Emma from Oxford who has recently completed a natural sciences degree was drawn to my painting of starlings in flight called ‘Murmuration’.

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  • Edward Lear – bird artist

    Today we visited the Happy Birthday Edward Lear exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford. Edward Lear is best known for his nonsense verse, (who hasn’t heard of the Owl and the Pussycat?) and although this is quite brilliantly original and what he’s best remembered for, I especially wanted to see his paintings of birds. Woo! They didn’t disappoint! His exquisite

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  • A visit to Hockney’s East Yorkshire

    Did you see the exhibition of David Hockney’s paintings at the Royal Academy earlier this year? Many of the pictures were of the landscape of East Yorkshire wolds near Bridlington where he lives. If you have never been to East Yorkshire you won’t know that it is probably the best kept secret in England. The coastal cliffs are alive with

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  • Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

    Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and the first photograph

     Look at the camera and say ‘cheese’ and ‘thank you’ to Joseph Nicéphore Niépce who died on this day in 1833, for it was Niépce who changed the way we view the world. Born in France 1765 into a middle-class family Niépce was well-educated and comfortably off and from 1801 ran the family estate. He became a ‘gentleman of science’

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  • The extinction of the Great Auk – 3 July 1844

    The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) was once a common and magnificent sight in the sparkling waters of the North Atlantic. About 30 inches (80cm) tall and weighing in at a whopping 11lbs (5kgs), this handsome bird was the northern equivalent of the penguin. Its closest living relative is the razorbill which has a similar range to the Great Auk. The

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  • Dr John Alexander Tomlinson: obituary

    Plant pathologist, virologist, saviour of the British watercress industry, BSc, MSc, PhD, DSc My father, who died on Tuesday 12 June 2012, was born into a working class family in Birmingham in 1927. What he lacked materially in early life was made up for in brains, courage and determination. He was the son of Ellen Mary Mackie, from Worcester, and

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