Peace at Last! by Kate Davis

July 12th, 2011
A response by Kate Davis to Glasgow Museums' Collection

A response by Kate Davis to Glasgow Museums' Collection

I have just been to the preview of Kate Davis’ new exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow.   It was created specially for GoMA by Kate and is her personal response to Glasgow Museums’ collection.

It’s an interesting exhibition with a mix of Kate’s own work alongside work by Goya, Jo Spence and Terry Dennett among others and has a particular emphasis on feminist art and the women’s suffrage movement. 

I particularly liked the the pamphlet, given extra gravitas by its storage in a glass case, which has a transcript of a speech by Christabel Pankhurst in 1908 outlining the need for a militant approach to securing the women’s right to vote.  The cover of the pamphlet shows a portrait of Christabel which at some time had been defaced and her features almost entirely eradicated and Kate has reproduced the cover of the pamphlet in an enlarged form which heightens the impact of the damage.  She has then reclaimed Pankhurst’s face by drawing in the detail which is missing.  It really makes you stop to think.  There is also a postcard from the early 20th century, called Peace at last!, which has a caricature of a woman’s head with her tongue nailed to a table .. a quite shocking image in 2011.   By the time you reach the Pankhurst pamphlet at the far end of the exhibition you began to understand the need for militant action.

The Goya prints are strange and beautiful and it’s fantastic to have an opportunity to see them close up.  As Goya didn’t leave much information about these prints, there is little knowledge about their intended titles or the sequences in which they should be viewed, and Kate’s interpretation of them, and their role in representing the past, really brings them to life.

There are also video works, which I will go back to the exhibition to take some time to listen to, and the very emotional and moving photographs of Jo Spence taken by Terry Dennet and an intepretation of some of Jo Spence’s photography by Kate in which she considers how the artist addressed the question of who owned the images, especially images of the body.

A very thought provoking exhibition and one which I hope to return to many times during its run.

Peace at last! runs from 13 July to 16 October in the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow

Intermezzo offer private evening tours of exhibitions for corporate, luxury travel and conference groups.  For more information contact us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at

Captain Cook Museum

July 11th, 2011
Image courtesy of Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Image Courtesy of Captain Cook Memorial Museum

Intermezzo are very pleased to be taking part in the Adopt A Museum project in conjunction with Museum140.  Our chosen Museum is the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby in Yorkshire.  The Museum was opened in 1987 and houses a fantastic collection associated with Cook including original letters, paintings, maps, and Pacific artefacts

The Museum is in Grape Lane, Whitby, in the 17th century Grade I listed house owned by the ship owners Captains Henry and John Walker, to which Cook came as a young man to be apprenticed to the younger brother, John, in 1746.

Cook’s success with a varied diet meant he did not lose a single man to scurvy on all his voyages, contrasting with disastrous losses on earlier sea journeys.

The Museum was the winner of Welcome to Yorkshire’s White Rose Award in 2005 and a finalist again in 2008 and is accredited under the UK’s Museums, Libraries and Archives accreditation scheme.

We look forward to providing many more tales from the Museum and would encourage you to a visit a fascinating Museum telling the story of an influential man in British history.

To talk about the Adopt A Museum project on Twitter use the hash tag #adoptamuseum

Hidden Treasures

May 4th, 2011

Salvador DaliOur man, The Chimney, has been out and about and has come across a couple of little treasures…. 

Those of you in the Glasgow area will know that Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross has been rehung upstairs in Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum – it now has its own space and this is one painting exhibition that works very well.  In the new space you’ll find more detailed information about the work as well as additional information and a piece of film about Dali. Have a look at our previous blogs on this work and let me know what you think of the new space.

Many of you probably think that you’ve seen everything upstairs in Kelvingrove.  Well here is another treasure.  Just off the French Room are three paintings, again in their own space.  They are by Arthur Melville and, if you visited the Glasgow Boys exhibition, you will remember how wonderful his watercolours can be.

You don’t have to pick the best, you don’t have to nominate a second choice, you don’t even have to list them in order of preference.  You just go along and enjoy them.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Pissarro’s Chimney – May 2011

French Drawings – Poussin to Seurat – Edinburgh

April 18th, 2011

We at Intermezzo have decided to introduce an occasional blog which will cover exhibitions and assorted arts matters presented with integrity and independence, was well as clarity, insight and good English.  We will send our own incognito and opinionated man, who will report without too much pretension, and who will be pleased to receive your comments.

My first foray into the Exhibition world for the readers of the Intermezzo blog ….

French Drawings – Poussin to Seraut

National Gallery Complex Edinburgh (admission free- showing until 1 May 2011)

In three rooms on the Upper Level South of the Gallery, this consists of a selection of the hundreds of French drawings the gallery has assembled to complement its French paintings.  As well as the headliners, artists include Boucher, Ingres and Corot.   Despite the large number of visitors and the occasional tutorial in front of the works, this is a fine intimate show. 

If you haven’t seen it before, Etiennne Jeraut’s Family in an Interior is well worth the effort of negotiating the still ongoing tram works on Princes Street.

Sometimes drawings relate to paintings in the collection.  For example, Pissarro is represented with a charcoal work entitled “Figures at the Banks of the Marne near Chennevieres”   If you then stand back from this you can see into another room, where directly opposite you, is his large painting “The Marne at Chennevieres”.   A finished drawing and a preparatory sketch.

Seraut’s work is wholly self evident – always something to do with bathing!  Poussin’s life cycle “A Dance to the Music of Time” is a pen, ink and wash on paper – so good you can buy the postcard…

There is a mixture of finished drawings and sketches, so you might not be moved by much but my goodness you will, dear reader, marvel at the artistic skill on display and revel in the wonderful draughtsmanship.  Enjoy.

For more information on this Exhibition click here

Pissarro’s Chimney – April 2011

Gallery of Modern Art #museumfact

December 6th, 2010
Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow

Gallery of Modern Art - Glasgow

The Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow is housed in a neo-classical building in Royal Exchange Square in Glasgow.  It was built in 1778 as the town house of William Cunninghame, a wealthy Glasgow tobacco baron, and went on to be used as a bank, a business exchange, a telephone exchange and a library before being transformed in 1996 into a gallery housing the City’s contemporary art collection.

 Many famous people signed the visitors’ book in this building including

Robert Peel – who gave his famous address in a marquee outside the building, built to house a dinner to honour him after he was installed as Rector of the University of Glasgow in 1837.

Napoleon III of France – who visited the City in 1839 for the Eglinton tournament.  This was a re-enactment of a medieval joust held in Kilwinning in Ayrshire.

Josiah Henson – an author, abolitionist and Methodist minister.  He was born into slavery in America but escaped and founded a settlement for fugitive slaves in Canada.  He inspired the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  He spoke at the City Halls and Kibble Palace in Glasgow to huge crowds.

If anyone knows of other famous visitors to this magnificent building please let us know.

Intermezzo provide guided tours and private viewings of Glasgow Museums and work with Museums, Galleries and Heritage Properties to increase revenue streams.  For more information contact us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at

The Hireling Shepherd 1852

October 6th, 2010

The Hireling Shepherd 1851

On the surface this is a Pre-Raphaelite painting by the artist William Holman Hunt (1827-1910) of a shepherd and shepherdess in the vivid colours of an English landscape.  However, it has many different layers of meaning and a fascinating history.  Here are just some of them and we’ll return to this painting in a future blog.

Landscapes in art had regularly used images of shepherds and shepherdesses but always in an artificial and beautiful manner.  Holman Hunt however favoured what he called ‘social realism’ and wanted to paint real people which led to his critics commenting that his models looked “…ill-fed, ill-favoured, ill-washed…”.  This was a shocking portrayal to many in the art world.

One of the meanings of the painting comes from the debates of the time between the Catholic Church and the Church of England and Hunt asserted that he intended the couple to symbolise the pointless theological debates which occupied Christian churchmen while their “flock” went astray due to a lack of proper moral guidance.

 The are many details within the painting.  The sheep wander off into a neighbouring cornfield or are asleep, having over-eaten.  The lamb on the lap of the shepherdess eats on unripe apple and the shepherd shows a Death’s Head moth to his companion.

 This painting was much admired by Salvador Dali and and it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1852.

 You can view this painting in Manchester City Gallery in Room 3 on the first floor.  Visit the Manchester City Art Galleries’ website for more information at

Intermezzo offer assistance with income generation and sponsorship to Museums, Art Galleries and Heritage Properties. For more information contact us at or on 0141 636 6929

Sarcophagus of Pabasa 656-640BC #museumfact

October 4th, 2010

Sarcophagus of Pabasa 656-640BC

Pabasa was the most powerful male official of his day in Upper Egypt.  Pharoah Psamtek I appointed him as Great Steward to his virgin daughter Nitocris who ruled Upper Egypt on the pharaoh’s behalf.   The shape is that of the mummified Osiris, god of the dead, with whom Pabasa wishes to be identified.  Figures of the sisters of Osiris, Isis and Nephthys and the goddesses Neith and Serket are shown at the foot and head of the trough.  On the side of the trough are Thoth (the ibis-headed man who records the judgement of the heart), Imsety (the human headed son of Horus who protects the liver), Anubis (the jackal-headed man who is god of embalming, and Duamutef (the jackal-headed son of Horus who protects the stomach).

This sarcophagus was acquired by Alexander, the 10th Duke of Hamilton, who was an early Victorian collector and eccentric, and he placed it in the Egyptian Hall of Hamilton Palace.  His wish was to be mummified on his death and to this end he acquired another sarcophagus for himself which was to be placed in the family mausoleum.  Unfortunately he purchased a female sarcophagus which was not big enough for him and after his death his feet had to be broken so that he would fit inside.

You can view this sarcophagus in the Egyptian Room on the ground floor of Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow.

Intermezzo organise private viewings of Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and offer assistance with income generation and sponsorship to Museums, Art Galleries and Heritage Properties. For more information contact us at or on 0141 636 6929

The Honourable Mrs Graham by Thomas Gainsborough

September 29th, 2010

Mary Cathcart (1757-1792) was born to the 9th Earl of Cathcart who was ambassador to Catherine the Great in Russia. Brought up in Russia she returned to England when she was 17 and married Thomas Graham, a Scottish aristocrat.  Very much in love with Mary there is a story that when she forgot her jewellery on the way to a ball, Thomas made a 90 mile round trip on horseback to fetch it for her.  She was considered a beauty of her day and was befriended by Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire, while on holiday in Brighton. 

 She died young, at the age of 35, from tuberculosis and her husband was so grief-stricken that he had her portrait covered with a cloth and then gave it to her sister, as he could no longer bear to look at it.  Mary is buried in the churchyard at Methven in Perthshire.  This painting is considered to be one of Thomas Gainsborough’s finest full-length portraits and it was bequeathed to the National Galleries in Edinburgh on the understanding that it never leaves Scotland.

Thomas Gainsborough was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. The son of a weaver, his artistic skills were recognised early and he left to study art in London at the age of 13.  His skills as a portrait artist moved him from Sudbury to Ipswich and then to Bath where his sitters were now authors, actors and members of high society. 

In 1768 he was elected a founder member of the Royal Academy of Arts and moved to Pall Mall in London.  He was a favourite of King George III and his wife Charlotte and was commissioned to paint their portrait.  He had an uneasy relationship with the Royal Academy and eventually withdrew from them, preferring to hang his paintings in his own studio.  Although he preferred to paint landscapes it is for his portraits that he is remembered including Mr and Mrs Andrews, Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire and of course the Honourable Mrs Graham.

You will find this portrait in Room X in the National Gallery of Edinburgh.

Intermezzo offer assistance with income generation and sponsorship to Museums, Art Galleries and Heritage Properties and provide unique access and private viewings in venues across Scotland. For more information contact us at or on 0141 636 6929

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum – #museumfact

September 27th, 2010


It is a popular myth that the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow was built the wrong way round and that the Architect, upon realising this, jumped to his death from one of the towers!  The myth arose because what is considered to be Kelvingrove’s main entrance looks into Kelvingrove Park rather than out onto Argyle Street, which is the main street.  Today most visitors enter from Argyle Street on public transport however, in 1901, visitors would have entered through the park and it was always intended that this should be its main entrance.

There were in fact two architects – John Simpson and Milner Allen – and they were both very happy with the building when it was completed!  They were chosen from a competition in 1892 and the Art Gallery & Museum was completed and opened in 1901.

The Grand frontage and towers were inspired by those of the great Sppanish pilgrimage church of Santiago de Compostela and the interior was based on an Italian Renaissance palace.  Kelvingrove was paid for with profits from the 1888 International Exhibition and public subscription.

Intermezzo organise private viewings of Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and offer assistance with income generation and sponsorship to Museums, Art Galleries and Heritage Properties. For more information contact us at or on 0141 636 6929

The Light of the World 1851-60

September 15th, 2010

The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt 1851-60

William Holman Hunt was a founder member of the Pre-Raphaelites, a group of artists formed in 1848, along with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais.  Their intention was to take art back to the time before Raphael, hence their name, as they believed that subsequent artists who had copied Raphael’s work had created a mannered and over-stylised method of painting which had been adopted by the Royal Academy and which did not allow for freedom and creativity.

 The painting symbolises Christ travelling through the night to knock at the door of the human soul and was painted at night in a hut especially built by the artist.  The door in the painting has no handle and therefore can only be opened from the inside and was based on a door in an old railway station building.   

 There are three versions of this painting – one in Keble College, Oxford, a life-size version in St Paul’s Cathedral in London and this smaller version which is in the Manchester City Art Galleries.   All three paintings toured extensively and this is Holman Hunt’s most famous and well-known image.  Van Gogh considered it to be a supreme example of the power of Christ.

This is a wonderful painting and is currently on show in the Manchester City Art Galleries and you will find it in Gallery 5.  The lantern was made to Holman Hunt’s specifications to incorporate the ideas of Christian symbolism and this original lantern is also on show next to the painting. Visit the Manchester City Art Galleries’ website for more information at

 Intermezzo offer assistance with income generation and sponsorship to Museums, Art Galleries and Heritage Properties. For more information contact us at or on 0141 636 6929