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Saturday, 30 March 2013


Monograph by James Steele
Published by Academy Editions/St. Martin's Press [1988]
Hassan Fathy was an Egyptian architect, a practitioner of vernacular architecture in a contemporary world.  I fear that much that he built has been sadly neglected...

Thursday, 28 March 2013

FILM: The Tourist

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck - quite a mouthful - the Director of the masterpiece The Lives of Others also made The Tourist. I watched it recently - not the greatest movie but rolicking FUN!  And Venice a joy! Angelina Jolie has a perfect English accent and oddball Johnny Depp is good!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

FOOD: Farmer's Market, Pimlico Road

Every other Saturday the best oysters ever from Essex are sold in this market by Richard Haward - like a stage set.....up go the stalls at 9am and all disappears at 1pm ...........a boon to the neighbourhood. 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

PEOPLE: Cecil Beaton & David Hockney

David Hockney with Cecil Beaton [known in the 1970's as Rip van With-It] in his Wiltshire conservatory.

Saturday, 16 March 2013




PERSONAGE [1925]                                                           PAINTING [1927]  

Monday, 11 March 2013

POETRY: William Butler Yeats

Before the World was made

If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And the lips more scarlet,
Or ask is all be right
From mirror after mirror.
No vanity's displayed:
I'm looking for the face I had
Before the world was made.

What if I look upon a man
As though on my beloved,
And my blood be cold the while
And my heart unmoved?
Why should he think me cruel
Or that he is betrayed?
I'd have him love the thing that was
Before the world was made.

Sunday, 10 March 2013


Three prototype John Stefanidis handles
Note: Charles Edwards have a very good selection
 of glass, wood and crustaceans! 

Friday, 8 March 2013

MUSIC: In the Swiss Alps

March 2, 2013 - In the church at Saanen, the Menhuin Festival held a concert with the celebrated Cecilia Bartoli singing Baroque songs by Ferdinando Orlandi, Stefano Benedetto Pallavicino and Ortensia Mauro, directed by Diego Fasoli - I Barocchisti of Lugano - famous for playing with period instruments - a perfect accompaniment to La Bartoli's matchless, rich coloraturo mezzo-soprano voice.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

TRAVEL: India Part V

Raghurajpur is a crafts village in Orissa.

Here live and work the Chitrakara, a caste of craftsmen who have been in Orissa since the mid-16th Century.

Thanks to the State Government, there has been revival of traditional mural paintings, the colourful Pattachitra paintings, palm-leaf engraving and painting and exuberant papier mache toys.  The village is a tranquil place and its people charming.

Washing drying on the river bank close to Raghurajpur

Tribals in Orissa are ten percent of the population of over forty million. In the state capital, Bhubaneswar, there is a Tribal Museum [Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute].  The Government has schemes to preserve and improve the lives of some sixty tribes, each with different traditions and forms of worship - they have names like BONDA, KADHA, CHUKTIA BHUNJIA, LANJA SAORA, LODHA DIDAYN, JUANG AND SAORA.

At Bhubaneswar in Orissa [Odisha] is the ancient tank [pond] of the Lingaraj Temple, known as Bindusagar, on whose West bank has been created a remarkable garden with all the plants and trees mentioned in Indian mythology which are, to this day, used in ayurvedic medicine.  It is called the Ekamravan Medicinal Plant Garden and is the brain child of my friend, the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.  All the plants are aromatic, all the paths and walls are made of laterite and sandstone - both local stones - and there are inset carvings of great refinement. It is a place of enchantment.  The path edging the water is to be extended all around the tank, making a unique promenade with views of the temples - lucky Orissians.

The 13th Century Konark Sun Temple, Orissa

Orissa papier mâché…. a leopard and  a tiger have entered my London house

A shawl from Orissa , India

Sunday, 3 March 2013


by Rene Gardi, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company [1973]

In danger of Fundamentalist fervour, some of these buildings have been destroyed.....alas.

Upper Volta - Large round house of a Peulh family, with woven straw walls and a double roof.

Imposing facade of a town house in Djenne on the Upper Niger, Mali. The windows betry Moorish influence

Rows of columns create aisles in mosque interiors: Dosso, Niger.

The mosque of Mopti, Mali, now unfortunately hemmed in by modern buildings.