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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…

Dubuffet Foundation, Paris

Paris is a great place to see the work of artist and sculpture Jean Dubuffet. I must admit I wasn't familiar with him until I met D. and his father who had been fans for years. I'm not really sure using the word "fan" has enough artistic gravitas but lets go with it anyway! On a previous visit we'd seen the gallery of Dubuffet's work at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs and on this trip we revisited a room featuring his work at the Pompidou.
I particularly liked the juxtaposition of  his graphic style with this fish sculpture by another artist at the Pompidou (see below). There's something complimentary about the disruptive textures in both pieces.
Once you know his work, these pieces with their heavy outline and chaotic energy are immediately recognizable as Dubuffet. There were also lots of kids jumping around in one of his installations -a sort of contemporary art cave on the fourth floor of the Pompidou.
After visiting the Pompidou we were inspired to see where else we could go to see his work and we discovered the Foundation Dubuffet at 137 Rue de Sevres in the sixth arrondissement. What a fascinating place, set at the back of an interior courtyard it is marked by a small brass plaque on the outside door, you have to ring the bell and they let you in. The opening photo above is the courtyard outside the Foundation and the one below comes from one of the scrolls on display. 
Set up to allow public access to Dubuffet's personal collection, the Foundation puts on a number of different exhibits each year rather than hosting a single permanent exhibition. The show we saw focused on Dubuffet's graphic style and writing (including scrolls, books and pamphlets) though I found the English translations rather too dense to follow. Enough of this, I think I'll let the images speak for themselves.



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