Posts Tagged ‘Museum’

Bowes Museum

Monday, February 16th, 2015
Bowes Museum

Bowes Museum

I visited this Museum in Barnard Castle in County Durham for the first time this weekend after discovering it through social media.  What a unique and fantastic venue.  The building stands out in the market town of County Durham as it is built in the style of a French Chateau!  Helpful staff show you how to access the building and we started with a background to the Museum and its creators.  Appropriate for Valentine’s weekend, this is a story of the love of a couple and their combined love of the arts and collecting.  The Museum was built by them with the intention of housing their collection for the public to visit.  A very philanthropic project.


The art within the building is outstanding and some of my favourites included El Greco’s The Tears of St Peter; a classic blustery Boudin called Beach Scene at Low Tide; the portrait of Olive Boteler Porter which was recently discovered to be a genuine van Dyck panting; and a small atmospheric Goya titled Interior of a Prison.  The breadth of work is impressive, collected during John and Josephine’s time in Paris, and you gain a real understanding of the way in which  French art evolved to become to be a dominant force.  Although many of the art works are hung very high on the walls of the galleries, there are labels with images for each painting which means you don’t miss a thing.  As well as art there are galleries housing silver and metals, archaeological objects, toys, ceramics, furniture and textiles.  I really liked the recreations of the rooms as dining rooms, bedrooms and sitting rooms with the most fantastic items of French furniture.  Their fashion and textile collections are world renowned which his why you will find so many fashion exhibitions are held there.  Having supported their crowd funding project to restore their fifteenth century altarpiece I can now keep up to date with its progress on their blog.


As well as the main gallery spaces there are several temporary exhibition spaces.  These currently include the Birds of Paradise: Plumes and Feathers in Fashion exhibition which showcases breath-taking haute couture gowns including an amazing outfit by Thierry Mugler which greets you as you enter.  Another exhibition was Confected, Borrowed and Blue where artist Paul Scott has decorated familiar crockery and dinner ware with contemporary stories which include the Cockle Pickers Tea Service alongside plates with images of Gaza. You will also see work by Julian Opie scattered around the building including a walking woman who doesn’t seem to get very far and his cheeky version of the Manneken Pis as you enter! It is well worth the entry fee as you can spend the whole day here, stopping for lunch or afternoon tea in the café.  With an Yves Saint Laurent exhibition arriving in July this Museum is a must for fashionistas as well as art and museum lovers.  I definitely intend to return soon.

Lord Sandwich

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

John Mantagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792)  The 4th Earl of Sandwich waLord Sandwich by Thomas Gainsboroughs a man of ambition who combined a political career with a life-long interest in the Navy and all things maritime.  First Lord of the Admiralty on three occasions, reformer of naval dockyards and supporter of voyages of discovery,  Lord Sandwich was friend and patron of Captain James Cook.

Having completed his education and the customary Grand Tour of Europe, Sandwich took his seat in the House of Lords in 1744, joining the Board of Admiralty in 1744.  Becoming First Lord of the Admiralty in 1748, he worked closely with Admiral George Anson to tackle the state of the naval dockyards.  Sandwich was the first head of the Admiralty to actually visit the dockyards in nearly a century.

Losing his office in 1751 due to shifting political alliances, Sandwich was reinstated in 1771 and remained until 1782.  He was in office when Cook returned from his first voyage aboard the Endeavour (1769-72).  Impressed by Cook’s achievements, the 4th Earl was one of the few people to recognise Cook as the true leader of the expedition, rather than the publicity-hungry botanist Joseph Banks.  Sandwich backed Cook’s proposal of embarking on a second voyage – this time to seek out the Great Southern Continent.   Cook always acknowledged his debt to the Earl, asserting that without Sandwich’s action and support, the second voyage would never have taken place.

When Cook returned from his second voyage, Sandwich saw that he was justly rewarded by promoting him to the rank of Captain.  He then spent considerable time overseeing the publication of the official accounts of Cook’s voyages.  A man of huge charm, Sandwich was happy mixing with the company of all sorts of men, and was particularly willing to promote men of humble origin or obscure background, to back their professional expertise against better-born but not technically expert superiors.

Nevertheless, the 4th Earl has sometimes been represented as a man of colourful reputation,  described as a rake and gambler by Victorian historians.  Whilst Sandwich certainly gambled, this was unavoidable in polite society at the time, and the Earl appears to have been restrained in the sums he bet.  The Earl’s fondness for gambling has given rise to an interesting creation story for the infamous household snack which shares his name.  The Earl apparently invented the ‘sandwich’ due to his reluctance to quit the gambling table for dinner!  Whilst there is no evidence to prove this,  the common sandwich is certainly named after the 4th Earl,  who most likely ate slices of cold salt-beef between toasted bread at his writing-desk whilst spending long hours on correspondence!

This portrait of Lord Sandwich, painted by Thomas Gainsborough, can be viewed at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Grape Lane, Whitby.  For this year’s commemoration of the 4th Earl why not knit  a sandwich and enter the Captain Cook Museum competition.  Details and knitting patterns can be found on their blog

Riverside Museum

Monday, September 13th, 2010

The second most visited Museum of Transport in the UK was Glasgow’s Museum of Transport in the City’s West End.  It closed in April 2010 and will move to its new home, the Riverside Museum, on the banks of the Clyde in Spring 2011.

The Riverside Museum was designed by Zaha Hadid CBE, a leading, award-winning architect whose spectacular designs can be seen in cultural buildings all over the world.  Born in Iraq, she now lives and works in London and was the first female to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Displays in the new Museum include trams, steam trains, cycles, cars, ships and motorbikes which will all be housed in unique and innovative exhibitions.

To view short films on the current progress of the Museum visit

To support the Riverside go to

Intermezzo are currently providing Hard Hat Tours for businesses interested in supporting the Museum.  For more information on this unique opportunity to see a work in progress please contact us on 0141 636 6929 or email us at

Salvador Dali – Christ of St John of the Cross

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Image courtesy of Glasgow MuseumsDali’s painting will be leaving Kelvingrove in August for a trip abroad so take the time to see it before it goes. It was purchased by Glasgow Museums in 1952 and is an iconic image. The model for the figure of Christ was Russell Saunders a Canadian born Hollywood stuntman who was Gene Kelly’s body double in Singin’ in the Rain. He was chosen by Dali for his perfect physique.

There are no nails, no crown of thorns, nor other signs of physical torment because, Dali said, “My principal preoccupation was that my Christ would be as beautiful as the God that he is.” This is why he chose the 32 year old stuntman.

More interesting facts about this painting to follow…..