Monday, 31 January 2011

Purpose built

Designed by Lord Snowdon for the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969.

Some 4,500 odd were produced for the event with invited guests being given first refusal of purchase.

Now playing - The Smiths - This Charming Man

Friday, 28 January 2011

Uncommon talents

HRH The Princess Margaret
photographed by Cecil Beaton on her 21st birthday

"PM spoke of the Royal Family with expectable reverence not unmixed with humour and the occasional surrealist note: "The Queen is uncommonly talented in ways that you might not suspect," she proclaimed. Suspecting nothing, I asked, "In what way?" "Well, she can put on a very heavy tiara while hurrying down a flight of stairs with no mirror." - extract from Point to Point Navigation: A Memoir by Gore Vidal

Now playing: The Smiths -  There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Monday, 24 January 2011

Imminent Spring

Blossom with Bird, 2009
 Drawing on paper

Blossom with Bird, 2009
Linocut on kezo paper
133.5 x 97.4 cm

Quince Blossom, 2007
 Linocut on Somerset paper
76 x 56 cm Signed and editioned (Edition of 30)


Robin Duttson


Tag Fine Arts

Now playing: Air - Space Maker

Sunday, 23 January 2011

As it is meant to be

Now Playing: Marlene Dietrich - Live in London 1972, The Laziest Gal In Town

Friday, 21 January 2011

From a different time

Kerry Blue Terrier

Natural blue mink

1965 Lincoln convertible with suicide doors

Pierre Balmain's Jolie Madame by René Gruau

Now playing: Frank Sinatra - Summer Wind

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Obssesion renewed

Ambiance, Cool Water and Amnesia roses with camellia leaves

Amnesia and Cool Water roses being a current obsession. Current, not new. Since first encountering  Sterling Silver in a florist's shop in San Francisco, some 30 years ago, I  have had a thing for mauve coloured roses. They hark back to a different time. A time when  blue mink and Kerry Blue Terriers were fashionable, and cars had suicide doors.

Scene from Vertigo 
Interior shot of  Podesta Baldocchi on Grant Avenue. It was a magical place, especially at Christmas.

Little Silver Spray, Cool Water and Amnesia roses with acacia, magnolia leaves, pinus and willow
Christmas 2010

Now playing: Hercules and Love Affair - Iris

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Mantle so green

Vine Effect with Dutchman's Pipe and Clematis paniculata


by John Kirkegaard

Now playing:

Christian Ferras - Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47: II. Adagio di molto     
Zubin Mehta, conducting

Monday, 17 January 2011

The ordinary made extraordinary

5-7 Blyth Grove

This typical three-storey, semi detached house (No. 7 is to the right in the image above) which belonged to the Straw family remained unaltered for some 60 years. After their parents died in the 1930s, brothers William and Walter Straw remained in the house without altering any of its inter-war interior.

Today it is part of the National Trust and is open to the public as a museum dedicated to  inter-war life.

William senior, wife Florence and son Walter moved into Blyth Grove, built in 1905.

Florence decorated it in the style of the day, dark and heavy wallpaper, patterned carpets, dado rails holding portraits and paintings in ornate wooden frames.

They lived a quiet, well-ordered life until the day in 1932 when Walter's father died suddenly at the age of 68. In their grief, the family decided nothing would be changed. 

Bygones: Mr Straw's House Frozen In Time In 1932  by Dlowe

Now playing: America - Tin Man

Sunday, 16 January 2011


An art form in itself.  And, something which the British are particularly adept.

Cockney saying: Mate. You've got two hopes. Bob Hope and no hope. 

Camellia japonica Bob Hope

Large, very dark, semi double flowers on a neatly compact plant approximately 5'

Now playing: Billie Holiday - A Foggy Day

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Worthy of admiration

Isle of Bute, Scotland

Like its creator, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, this sandstone palace is profoundly 
inspired by history, astrology, art and mythology.

The ever enchanting Lucinda Lambton conducts a tour of the astonishing
Victorian Gothic palace Mount Stuart.

Now playing: Aztec Camera - All I Need Is Everything

Friday, 14 January 2011

Past the Ernst and right at the Arp

Salvador Dali, 1936
Oil on wood, 222 x 267 mm

Dalí’s disturbing, imaginary landscapes often contain references to his own life. Forgotten Horizon is a typical example, drawing upon memories of childhood holidays on the beach at Rosas on the Costa Brava. The striding woman in the distance is his cousin, Carolinetta, while the dancing figures in the foreground were inspired by a picture on a postcard. Dalí intended the effect to be hallucinatory, with the figures appearing as if projected onto a prepared background or theatrical set. - from Tate Modern

Now playing: Harold Budd/Brian Eno - Against the Sky

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Egyptian revival

Could this have really ended any other way?

I think not.

Elizabeth Taylor in the title role of Cleopatra (1963)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Egyptian revival

Always Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign, never The Mummy's Curse.

A mid 19th Century French ormolu-mounted mahogany, ebony and ebonised bureau-plat 
by J. Muller of Paris


An ormolu-mounted, ivory and ebony inlaid mahogany and fruitwood console
Late 19th/ early 20th Century

Egyptian Avenue, Highgate Cemetary

 Egyptian Halls, Glasgow

Now playing: The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian

Monday, 10 January 2011

Egyptian revival

Sophia Loren as Aida

Aida, the 1953 Italian film adaptation of Verdi's opera directed by Clemente Fracassi starred Sophia Loren in the title role. Her vocals were provided by the great lyric soprano Renata Tebaldi. Lois Maxwell (later known for her role as Miss Moneypenny in the Bond films) appeared opposite Loren in the role of Amneris, with her vocals provided by mezzo-soprano Ebe Stignani. 

Aida opening sequence

O patria mia aria from Act III

Aida is torn between her loyalty to her country and her love for Radames, longing for her homeland and afraid that she may never see it again.

Aida, closing sequence

Sentenced to death for treason,  Radames (played by Luciano Della Marra and sung by Giuseppe Campora) has been entombed alive in the Temple of Vulcan's vault. Thinking that he is alone, he hears a sigh and then he sees her. Aida has hidden herself in the vault to die with him. They accept their fate and bid farewell to earthly sorrows. Above, in the Temple of Vulcan, Amneris prays to the goddess Ftha. Below, in the vault, Aida dies in Radames' arms.

Sunday, 9 January 2011


While Madame Ganna Walska rather famously said, I am an enemy of the average

She also opined, More is better.

''More is better,'' she said, and where traditionally one or two plants would do, Madame, in signature profusion, would place a hundred of the same species. She loved minerals. She adorned herself with jewels and her garden with amethyst crystals, lava rocks and seashells. Her sense of romance (it's hard to imagine being married six times without having some sense of the romantic) comes alive in her unique Blue Garden, which shimmers under a full moon. - Sean K. MacPherson 

Enemy Of The Average
April 14, 2002
The New York Times

Her legacy Lotusland,  beautifully captured by  Karl Gercens (via, is  living testament to her unique expression of spirit and perspective.

Now playing: Dead Can Dance - Toward the Within

Saturday, 8 January 2011

at Home

Person to Person  developed out of Edward R. Murrow's belief that human beings are innately curious. That curiosity was intense regarding the private lives of public people, or visiting the extraordinary in the most ordinary environment - the home. 

Some of the original at home interviews available on YouTube:

Edward R. Murrow - The Best of Person to Person (1953)

Now playing:  Billie Holiday - Moonglow