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13 August 2010 @ 01:34 pm
Museum Day!  
J took the day off yesterday, so that we could go visit a museum :) We decided on the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and actually managed to get ourselves up & out the house briskly enough to be in Cam before lunchtime! Before having our lunch we had a bit of a wander round the market (looking for a record stall J remembered from years ago, which seems to be no more) and also had a look round the music shop we bought our bass guitar from several years ago. Mostly so J could lust after the electronic drumkits - which do look neat, but I'm not quite sure where we'd fit it into the house, it'd need a fairly major re-organisation of upstairs, I think. Or a bigger house, but if we have a bigger house then there might be space far enough from sharing walls with a neighbour for a real kit ;) And then off to have lunch - I decided we'd go to the Eagle, coz I thought I remembered being unable to get a meal there last time we tried coz it was too busy, but I think I'd mixed it up with last time we tried to get food in the Eagle & Child in Oxford ... Still, twas tasty food (I had fish & chips, obviously, it's the one true pub meal) :)

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the museum. Started off in the Egyptian collection, of course :) It's been a while since last time we visited it, so whilst I remembered the sorts of things they have it was nice to see them again. I think my favourite things were a small statue of Thoth as an ibis* and some of the stelae from the Middle Kingdom. It was interesting to note that the hieroglyphs on the Middle Kingdom coffins etc were all much more distinct than the New Kingdom stuff. I think J was most struck by the sarcophagus lid of Ramesses III which is truly huge & imposing. It's sat on end in the middle of one of the rooms & is about 9 foot tall, with a great sense of power about it.

We took a break for coffee & cake (coffee & walnut cake! my favourite!) around about the time when I was done with the Egyptian rooms, and when J went back to look at more Egyptian stuff I headed off upstairs to see what was up there. Room after room of paintings, it seems! I started in a room of still lives (called "Flower Paintings Room" which just doesn't convey the right impression to me, particularly as there was a lot of fruit as well as flowers). I did look for peeled lemons, but there seemed to be none.** Then I moved on to the two rooms full of Italian paintings - covering the 14th to 18th centuries - where I spent the rest of the afternoon. This fit in well with the programme we watched Weds night on the Medici & art in Renaissance Florence (which I haven't written up yet, I'll probably talk about Wednesday's TV tomorrow). Normally I'm most fond of paintings from the earlier end of that era, but my absolute favourite in those two galleries was L'Umana Fragilita painted by Salvador Rosa, which I thought was haunting & I could've looked at it for ages.

All in all a good museum visit :) I did think the Museum was a bit let down by the quality of their labels though, in the Egyptian galleries there'd be a paragraph or two of very generic "stuff in this case" chat, then the individual labels often didn't really give you any info you couldn't see by the naked eye. Like it'd say "clay pot" ... thanks Captain Obvious. And there wasn't much consistency - for instance dates were sometimes given just in years and sometimes which Dynasty or which era (ie Old or Middle Kingdom), and the latter are more useful for context. I guess I wanted more information between the level for people who didn't know anything about Ancient Egypt and the level where you're supposed to know what you're looking at already.

To finish up our day out we drove back into Ipswich via the Next Home store and looked at the mock-ups of rooms & contemplated furniture and what we might do about our living room. Nearly bought a couple of cushions for the sofa, but didn't in the end coz we really should decide on the next colour scheme before we buy stuff that should last past the transition (this is the re-decoration we've been talking about ever since we moved in 8 years ago...). And then we got takeaway from the place that used to be our local chinese takeaway, which is much better than the other ones in Ipswich but doesn't deliver so we don't often get food from there.




*All links go to the Fitz website, coz they don't let you take photos in there :/

**When I was a kid and visiting art galleries with my parents we played a game of spot the peeled lemon - I think it's the Ashmolean Museum that has a lot of still lives with peeled lemons in, Dutch painters I think (maybe?).
 
 
Current Mood: enthralledinterested
Current Music: Various "Unbelievable (CD1)"
 
 
 
Hapi vace! Hapi vace!keirf on August 13th, 2010 01:09 pm (UTC)
I used to love the Fitzwilliam museum. It's surprisingly large...

Margaretpling on August 13th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
:o
Hapi vace! Hapi vace!keirf on August 13th, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC)
I think the peeled lemons are common in still life "vanitas" paintings by Dutch masters - the paintings were meant to represent the transience of life, and the lemons symbolise that life can look attractive but is ultimately sour and bitter.
Sienamystic: brainysienamystic on August 13th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to remember if it's lemons that are sometimes a symbol of lost virginity - so many of the stuff in still lifes have references to Dutch proverbs of the time, and I'd swear that I remember one that cautioned "You can't put the peel back on the lemon" or something like that. Ah, well, maybe it was a different fruit.
Margaretpling on August 13th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
Ooh, two meanings for lemons I didn't know, then. I think I read somewhere (sometime?, maybe?) that it was to show off how good painters they were - you've got the shiny yellow outside of the peel, the matte pith inside the peel and the translucent flesh of the lemon itself.
contents under pressure / handle with care: home - DIYgraphxgrrl on August 13th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
Will this finally mean the end of crazy wall/ceiling textures?! ;)
Margaretpling on August 13th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
Only if we get round to doing anything about it - we've got as far as talking about it oh so many times before ;)

Ceiling will likely stay artexed, we're not bothered by that, but the wall artex must die!
Aidan O'Harealtoclef on August 13th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
I remember that record stall! It used to be on the corner furthest away from Petty Cury. Most disappointing to hear of its demise :(
John: thoughtfuljarel on August 13th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
It might just have been not there that day ... hopefully!