Friday, August 29, 2014

The National Portrait Gallery, London, England

Living in Bellingham on the West Coast of the United States I don't often get to see old masterpieces. So when I travel to the great cities of the world I love to take some time and spend it in their museums.   

 London is no exception. One of my favorite museums in London is The National Portrait Gallery.

 This is a fun place to visit if you're into English history, or if you are a painter interested in learning more about painting. 

 Other great reasons to go to this museum are if you enjoy fashion history it's fun to look at the clothes through the ages.

  If you love a good story there are plenty of those. Where there's a great scandal there's a great portrait . Here are some of my favorites.

                 Here's the story behind this painting. What a brave soul in so many ways.

Born in France, The Chevalier Deon (Charles Genevieve Louise Auguste Andre Timothee Deo De Beaumont)  had a successful career as a soldier, diplomat and spy before publicly changing gender. He first came to London in 1763 to negotiate peace for France at the end of the Seven Year War. Ordered to return to France Deon refused and blackmailed the French court with his knowledge of secret invasion plans against England. Rumors spread that Deon was a woman in disguise. These rumors were encouraged by Deon and spread from 1771 on wards and were widely believed.  In 1777 the French offered Deon an income if he henceforth exclusively wore women's clothing. Dion accepted and returned home. He came back to England in 1785 and had a successful career as a celebrity female fencer.

Painting is by Thomas Stewart 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Harrods of London

 Harrods of London

 What can you say about Harrods?  It's like being a kid in a candy shop it's so much fun. 

The Candy and coffee Room, Harrods of London

 I can't really afford to shop there.  But boy! do I enjoy looking. 

The Candy and coffee Room, Harrods of London

The Candy and coffee Room, Harrods of London

 Besides having some of the most wonderful things for sale.
 It's an old-fashioned department store. 

Teapots on Display, Harrods of London

     It  has Egyptian styled escalators which are hilarious and beautiful at the same time.

Egyptian Style Escalators, Harrods of London

It also has ornately tiled rooms with different themes and beautiful 
chandeliers that carry the theme forward.

Seafood Area, Harrods of London

Fruits and Vegetables, Harrods of London

 The displays are quite spectacular.

Fun Displays, Harrods of London

The whole experience is just fun. 

Harrods of London

So if you've never seen Harrods the next time you're in London definitely take an hour to visit.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Historical Fashion at The Victoria and Albert Museum

In London I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum. I was lucky enough to see an exhibit that was showing on Wedding Gowns. I couldn't take any pictures. But you can see some of them on the Museums Blog:

Corset, The Victoria and Albert Museum

 I did take some pictures of their permanent fashion exhibit which was also quite wonderful. Here's some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them.

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Men's over coat, The Victoria and Albert Museum

Shoes, The Victoria and Albert Museum

Lace Collar, The Victoria and Albert Museum

Lace Dress, The Victoria and Albert Museum

Flappers Dress, The Victoria and Albert Museum

Christian Dior, The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Sixties Fashion, The Victoria and Albert Museum

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teatime in England

Me with my tea buddies

England is a country where teatime was developed. Teatime is credited to the 7th duchess of Bedford.  Her name was Anna. Anna would get a "sinking feeling in the afternoon".  In England at that time they only served breakfast and dinner. Dinner was usually around 8 o'clock at night. The duchess started having a light snack with a cup of tea in the afternoon.  She soon started inviting her friends for tea and a walk in the fields. It quickly picked up in practice and became respectable. Then it was moved from her boudoir into the drawing room. Before long fashionable Society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon.

I love the tradition of tea I find it very relaxing in the afternoon so I thought I would share some pictures of the teas I had along my journey. 

Ely, England

Even the most simple tea is time to sit and contemplate.

Anna's in Cambridge, England
  These were the best scones I've ever had.
Ely, England

Tea at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge

Tea in London

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cam River,Cambridge,England

Cam River, Cambridge, England,

There are many fun things to do in Cambridge including punting which I have only seen on the Cam River. Punting is riding on a low to the water squarish boat with a person balancing upright on the back while steering with a large pole.

Punting on the Cam River, Cambridge, England,

My Son :)

This takes a lot more talent than it looks. My son took us punting which was a lot of fun and plenty of laughs since he has not punted much before. We went round in circles a few times, crashed into several boats and he almost fell off the boat twice.

About to hit our first boat. LOL

Punting Boats

 Cam River, Cambridge, England,

                                            It’s also fun to walk along this beautiful river.

House Boats on the Cam River, Cambridge

Row teams practicing on the Cam River

 I would suggest that you ask someone when the rowing teams are practicing because the river just comes alive. Team after team row by while their coaches ride their bikes along the path dodging walkers while yelling instructions from their megaphones, it’s quite the sight. 

Row teams practicing on the Cam River, Cambridge

Another fun thing about the Cam River are the house boats.  They are anchored to the edge and also travel up and down it. It looks like a fun lifestyle.

House Boats on the Cam River, Cambridge

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Wonder of Stain Glass

I love stain glass it is such a beautiful art. Stain glass was used to tell stories when people were mostly illiterate. It was also used to honor those who gave money to install them, you may find their crests or sometimes their images are depicted in them. 

Here you see a crest and a hat worn by church leaders which represents the power of the church.

These show the land owners power over their serfs.

This one show the priest power over the people and the two main faces are probably the donors.

When Large windows are filled with stain glass it is magical.

This represents one of the kings that built this Chapel.

Rebuilt stain glass
 These two examples of rebuilt stain glass windows are beautiful. There was a lot of reasons windows got broken:  war, storms, a change in the religion of the church. In England the change of religions went on for quite a few years so a lot of amazing things were destroyed.

Rebuilt stain glass

Medieval Stain Glass

Stain Glass Telling Stories

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