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George and Mary Watts: Arts and Crafts in Surrey

I can recognise George Frederic Watts’ (1817–1904) paintings fairly easily, especially as his goal was to represent human emotions in a universal symbolic language. I don’t think it was possible to make emotions universal, but I admired his attempts. Show More Summary

Northern Landscapes, Northern Lights - Peder Balke

In collaboration with the Northern Norway Art Museum in Tromsø, The National Gallery in London has opened a Peder Balke exhibition that will continue until mid April 2015. They are displaying 50+ paintings from private and public collections across Europe. Show More Summary

Australian and Israeli science - eucalyptus trees, bush fires, honey and swamps.

When you travel in Israel nowadays, it is difficult to believe that 150 years ago the south was total desert (60% of Israel’s land surface). Only a small number of trees grew in the south; the trees that had once grown were either taken for wood, eaten by sheep and goats, or died in the droughts. Show More Summary

World War One cinema - propaganda or reality?

I have examined the art and architecture of World War One in lect­ures and in this blog, with a focus on all the art forms that were so evocative of the tragedy of war – posters, shrines, cemeteries, portraits, war landscape paintings, sculpture, trench art objects and even royal gifts to the soldiers. Show More Summary

“Starf@#king”?: Björk at the MoMA

It’s hard to remember a major show at a major American museum generating so much angst as Björk at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Some arts sites quickly began aggregating art critics’ aggravation over almost every detail of the show. Show More Summary

Isle of Wight - Alfred Lord Tennyson and John Grimshaw

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) reached the peak of his career in 1850 when he was appointed Poet Laureate. But he was finding celebrity dif­f­icult to cope with in London, so he sought a quiet location where he could remain undisturbed..except for invited guests. Show More Summary

Can the ex-industrial city of Geelong have an art and tourist revival?

(72) The Financial Review in Feb 2014 wrote that Ford was was closing its Geelong manufacturing works, ending 300 jobs by June and the remaining 210 by 2016. Alcoa reported that its ageing aluminium smelter at Point Henry would close in August, along with a rolling mill, at a cost of 800 jobs. Show More Summary

An exhibition of Elioth Gruner's landscapes: master of the light

The son of a Norwegian father, Elioth Gruner ( 1882-1939) was born in New Zealand and moved to Sydney with his family while still in nappies. Although Gruner received his first art lessons from Julian Rossi Ashton at the NSW Art Society part time, for many years the young man could dedicate little time to art. Show More Summary

Haberfield: a VERY early Garden City in Sydney (1901)

From my books on Arts and Crafts, I was fascinated with the new movement in architecture and design that was being pro­m­oted by John Ruskin and William Morris as early as 1885-9. At that very early stage, Ruskin seemed to have predicted...Show More Summary

An 18th century desk - for work or for drinking pleasure?

In the later C18th, when the object called a sideboard was transforming into a large and important piece of furniture, the cellaret was merely a detached receptacle. The cellaret was an elegant piece of mahogany furniture, almost always designed in the neo-classicist style, that could be octagonal, circular or oval. Show More Summary

Andy Warhol’s Masturbation Metaphor

In a 1977 interview with Glenn O’Brien for the marijuana lifestyle magazine High Times, O’Brien asked Andy Warhol if his teachers recognized his early “natural talent.” “Something like that,” Warhol responded with his characteristicShow More Summary

The Sweet, Happy Side of Philip Larkin, the Sour, Sad Poet

“They fk you up, your mum and dad,” poet Philip Larkin wrote in the late work “This Be the Verse.” “They may not mean to, but they do./ They fill you with the faults they had/ And add some extra, just for you.” Larkin kidded that those lines would be his best remembered, a guess not too far off 30 years after his death. Show More Summary

From Aleppo to Jerusalem: saving synagogue art and architecture

The main synagogue in Aleppo Syria was built in the Byzantine period. Damaged in the Mongol sack of Aleppo in 1400, it was later expanded and modernised. With the arrival of the Sephardi Jews in Aleppo in the C16th, a wing on the eastern side of the main courtyard was built, facing Jerusalem. Show More Summary

Unlocking the Mystery of Japan through the Art of the Kano

Ever since American Commodore Matthew C. Perry sailed into Uraga Harbor near Edo (the earlier name for Tokyo) on July 8, 1853, ending the isolationist policy of sakoku and “opening” (willingly or not) Japan to the West, “the Land of the Rising Sun” and its culture have fascinated Westerners. Show More Summary

Piero di Cosimo: Renaissance “Madman” for the Modern Age

Half a millennium later, you would think the Italian Renaissance could hold no more secrets from us, no “codes” to decipher. And, yet, secrets hiding in plain sight continue to startle modern audiences with the depth and breadth of that amazing era. Show More Summary

Is the Future of Museums Really Online?

In a world where the future of seemingly everything is online, museums — those repositories of the past — seem to resist the internet’s full digital embrace. It’s a question that’s increasingly crossed my mind thanks to a series of unrelated...Show More Summary

Elegant Shopping IV: London's Royal Exchange

I visited the Royal Exchange building in the City of London and it reminded me of the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney: a large number of classy shops under one roof. But the dates of the two buildings were different and the shapesShow More Summary

Why execute a middle aged nurse, a Christian woman of healing? Edith Cavell.

Edith Cavell (1865-1915) was the daughter of a parson in Norfolk. After inheriting some money in 1895, she spent several weeks touring Austria and Bavaria and accidentally discovered a free hospital run by Dr Wolfenberg in Bavaria. Cavell was very impressed.Edith returned to her childhood home in 1895 to nurse her sick father. Show More Summary

In honour of my late mother: the Courage to Care Programme

My beautiful mother Thelma Webberley passed away a week ago. Her professional life was in journalism, and her private passions were classical music, European and Australian literature, overseas travel, feminism and community development. Show More Summary

The Ways Affairs Can Help Your Relationship

While the Internet is filled with online affair tips, generally they are going to focus on not getting caught and avoiding the downsides to sneaking around with another woman. We looked at this and thought, what about the positives?Show More Summary

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