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Walking Over Haddon in The Peak District

I confess I'm a fair weather walker, which means I often want to walk on our holidays, but whether we go is always dependent on the weather. I have a Goretex jacket but it's like a talisman. I own it, but I don't want to wear it and I hope vainly that just by having spent so much on it an schlepping it with me that it's going to ward off the rain! As you can see my travel planning involves a good deal of "magical thinking!" In California our cultural exuberance (paired with low standards) means we shamelessly call anything a "hike"  - as if we've scaled Everest in an afternoon. Here in England I'm not sure I even qualify as a "walker" because that denotes a level of seriousness I've failed at previously. Minimally it means you're wearing boots  and have an Ordnance Survey map (and possibly a compass) in your back pocket. I guess I'm more of stroller to be honest and I've blogged about my strolls all over the world; m…

Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

I've been meaning to visit Dulwich for ages as I'd heard about the collection of Old Masters and I was particularly interested in its architect,  Sir John Soane. Opened in 1817, this  was the first custom built public gallery spaces in England and it has shaped  the ways in which we display art ever since.  The skylights  were an innovation when the gallery opened and they still provide wonderful light for the main galleries as you can see below. 

However, with all the subsequent additions to the building it was disappointing not to be able to get a good view of the original form, this view is the best I could do and it's taken  from the back of the building. 
We were here because  my friend A. really wanted to see the Ravilious exhibit which runs till the end of August (2015). Although I was happy to see it , the  exhibit spoke to her much more than it did to me. I like  some of his stylized representations, but the works felt rather too nostalgic to me and a quick look around at the audience suggested this was the way it was being 'read". However, as an exhibit it's an interesting historical piece and good for anyone who is interested in Ravilious,  public art, the 1930s and the war years in Britian.

I was however, very please to see the permanent collection which is small but very impressive, with several Rembrandts, Rubens, Gainsborough, Claude Lorraine, Poussin and lots of others including quite a number of lovely Dutch works. 
There are a number of French works including several allegorical pieces by Poussin. I have a much better appreciation for his work after exploring French masterpieces at the Louvre during our stay in Paris a few years ago.
There was also work by Claude Lorrain, another important French painter in Rome.
However, you know you are in an English gallery when you see the Gainsboroughs and I do love them. I particularly liked Mrs. Elizabeth Moody with her sons below. There were a number of  portraits of the Moody family.
 What a handsome young man!
There's a lot to admire here, including works by Rubens, Tiepolo and Rembrandt, as well as a lovely collection of Dutch interiors.
Unfortunately my photos of the Rembrandts weren't very good.


This is a small, satisfying and very manageable art collection. After exploring the gallery we  sat on wooden chairs on the lawns and ate cake. Apparently, sugar is the key component in my nostalgia for England and a necessary component of all cultural expeditions!!

Unfortunately I couldn't take pictures in the temporary exhibition but this will give anyone who is interested an idea about Ravilious' work...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-features/10580059/Eric-Ravilious-The-artist-who-made-the-pastoral-political.html

Practicalities - it was an easy jaunt out to Dulwich on the train from Victoria, you can use your Oyster card for these short train trips which makes it all very simple. It's a short walk out to the museum. 
On the way there we took the main road (all very well signposted) but on the way back we walked through I lovely park which was extremely attractive as you can see above.

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