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Friday, 3 August 2012

TRAVEL: July Contrasts

CONTRASTS are the spices needed in the ragout of life...

From the wilds of the west coast of Scotland and the stags who waited patiently for my return, to the pleasing comfort and luxury of Robin Birley's new club 5 Hertford Street, London W1 ,which has the prettiest of rooms to eat in - light and airy - and a sensational shell-work bar, fish on silver wallpaper, flowers and charming pictures, a courtyard where you can SMOKE and in the basement, the most beguiling, exotic nightclub LouLou's, named after Robin's first cousin, Lou Lou de la Falaise.  The club, designed by Rifat Ozbek of fashion fame, is a WOW - original, stunning and luxurious - all a Cosmopolitan could wish for... a new jewel in the capital's weighty crown.

Contrasts with Constable country in East Anglia and Ely Cathedral... 

In Cambridgeshire, I visited the august Ely Cathedral [The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Ely]. The first Christian building on the site was a monastery founded by St Æthelthryth [Romanised as 'Ethelreda'] in 673 AD.  A new Benedictine monastery was built in 970AD and became a cathedral in the same year.  The building of the present cathedral, in Romanesque style was started, and continued, throughout the 12th century.  The magnificent lantern dates from the 14th century and was followed by a proliferation of gothic style.  On the day I visited this magnificent and inspiring building it was being prepared for a 'happy clappy' youth festival which I trust will make good Christians of the jeunesse dorée of The Fens - the notices, psychedelic lights, ribbons strewn on monuments and all the accompanying brouhaha did nothing to respect the awesome holiness of this great cathedral.  I trust the Acting Dean, Canon David Pritchard is aware of what appears to the visitor to be mild desecration!  

And on to an eightieth birthday party at Holkham Hall in Norfolk.  The park, with its majestic Ilex trees, and the house a triumph of 18th century  neo-Classicism.
                       then Canada for work...

Apollo Belvedere from Liebieghaus
Frankfurt am Main. C.1490
New York, New York, very quiet in high summer but vibrant and metropolitan nevertheless....A wonderful show of Renaissance sculpture at the most agreeable of museums, The Frick, 1st E. 70th Streetthe Russell Page gardens have now reached maturity.
Antico: the Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes, to paraphrase the Director's Foreword: the Renaissance passion for the revival of antiquity is superbly exemplified in the work in the work of Mantuan court sculptor Pier Jacapo Alari Bonacolsi, aptly nicknames "Antico".  The bronzes are perfectly shown and it is he that pioneered and developed ground-breaking technology.
Left: Hercules and the Nemean Lion, and Right:  Hercules and the Lernaen Hydra, c. 1496, Bargello, Florence

For the first time in many years I did not stay at The Carlyle Hotel on 76th Street [of John and Jackie Kennedy fame], but with my friend-------  Carolina Herrera
[keep tabs on her new store in Mount Street, London, W1 and new shop soon to open at Brompton Cross, London SW3 in October 2012]. 

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