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Haddon Hall - A Glorious Country Manor House

Visiting historic houses is one of my favorite things to do in England and Derbyshire is a county that  offers an  extraordinary triumvirate of sites; Hardwick's Elizabethan glamour, the palatial splendors of Chatsworth and Haddon Hall, described by Simon Jenkins as "the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages."  The joy of a visit to Derbyshire is that in visiting all three you can see the English country house through a variety of lenses and periods. 
In his definitive tome, England's1000 Best Houses Jenkins goes on to say of Haddon, "It has none of Hardwick's promiscuity or Chatsworth's bombast. It has not changed because it never needed to change". 
Indeed the house has remains in the hands of the Manners family since 1563 and is currently occupied by the Duke of Rutland's brother and his family. As they say on the website it has avoided, " fire; warfare;  family misfortune and changing fashions" and as such provid…

Musée Bourdelle

I'm just back from a lovely visit to the Musée Bourdelle over in the Fifteenth Arrondissement. I'm slowly making my way through the smaller museums in Paris and I've also been working my way through the free museums operated by the city, of which this is one. Here security guard corrected my non existent French and explained that the museum is "gratuit" (gratis) not "libre" (free) and interesting distinction to an English speaker. As someone on a language forum mentioned it's the difference between "free beer and free speech"!
Anyway, this is meant to be about the museum isn't it? So, Bourdelle - about whom I knew nothing- was an assistant to Rodin and later a teacher of Giacametti. Much of his work was done on a monumental scale including sculptures of horses and large friezes.  The poor chap caught in my picture below gives you a sense of the size of these works which needed an enormous space to be properly displayed.
The museum is well laid out with sculptures displayed outdoors and in well lit galleries. Additionally you can see his studio (photos below) and a comfortable living area which have the sense that someone just popped out to buy a packet of biscuits!
 As you can see he worked in a variety of medium including stone, wood and metal.
There's also room dedicated to the work of his students including the fascinating  aviator, athlete and sculptress Madeline Charnaux, below.
I particularly liked the friezes some of which have a gravity and solidity like the two below done to commemorate a mining disaster and the 1914-1918 war respectively.
While others, designed for a theatre, have a whimsical fluidity that invokes energy, passion and art.
There were a large number of busts of Bourdelle's contemporaries including a series of Beethoven and this one of Gustav Eiffel.
I enjoyed my visit and would return. I recommend it if you've seen the Rodin Museum and would like to explore a different part of town.
Tip: The museum is very close to the Tour Montparnasse where you can go to Ciel on the 56th floor for a fabulous view over Paris. I've blogged about it here. 6:50 euro buys you a pot of tea and a seat at the window. It's a far better deal than paying to see the view from the terrace, highly recommended when you're done with the museum. Below, on the left, you can see exactly how close the Tour Montparnasse is!

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