In The Bleak Midwinter


A bright window packed with small beauties for these dark days, a fast-moving festive feast for the eyes. As works sell they will be replaced by more in an ongoing ever-changing pageant of delights.  Read more

Frames of reference

The Sound Of Falling Leaves

The plan was for a quick walk around the Lost Pond then back home again. But by the time we got to Epping Forest the low November sun was so bright that we got hijacked by the light and followed its trail through the trees along the Green Ride past the pond and beyond to parts of the forest we’d never been before. The light was exceptional, extra special. It was an ordinary Sunday that had suddenly become graced with a new radiance. I can’t remember a day in the forest like it, and the more I hear about climate change the more days like these become precious and poignant and we must catch them while we can. And all the while there was a gentle flutter and rustle of falling leaves. Read more

Frames of reference

Anni Albers

The Anni Albers exhibition at Tate Modern begins with a handloom. It is a wooden instrument made of frames and strings and pedals, with a stool for its operator to sit on. Threads pass rhythmically to and fro, writing the score of warp and weft. It might be likened to a piano whose musical offerings are captured for posterity in recordings of woven textiles. Read more

Frames of reference

Refuge – The Stone Garden At Weston

‘Refuge – The Stone Garden at Weston’ by Clare Dearnaley is a 20 minute film about the art collector Ronnie Duncan’s love for stone and his philosophy on life and of ‘living through his eyes’. Shot over one year it is led by capturing light passing across the stones, which appears to animate them and by an absorbing conversation with Ronnie. The film gently examines stories; the creation of an environment, the nature of possessions and the reclaiming and reusing of materials. It seeks to capture the possible transience of the Stone Garden as much as the semi-permanence of the stones themselves.

Weston is a 17th century cottage in Otley, North Yorkshire, home to Ronnie Duncan, who has over the last 60 years quietly furnished it with a remarkable collection of paintings and sculptures. This film looks at the stones in the garden; for more on the contents of the house please see the earlier blogpost – More Love Than Money.

There is also a lovely book by Polly Feversham and Diane Howse – Weston, a necessary dream.

Frames of reference

A Wildlife Window

This month our window is home to a gathering of wildlife. There were just a few creatures here to begin with, but as the days go by and word spreads, more and more are turning up to congregate and bear witness and share the spotlight of our communal window. It’s become a wildlife refuge. Read more

Frames of reference

Rompo I Lacci

Here’s a lovely thing. A video by Tilda Swinton featuring her dogs, five Springer Spaniels, Rosy, Dora, Louis, Dot and Snowbear, frolicking on a Scottish beach, set to an aria by George Frideric Handel sung beautifully by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. Six minutes of pure joy.

Frames of reference

Noto Antica

The original city of Noto was 12km further up the valley of the Asinaro River from where present day Noto now stands. It was relocated after the devastating earthquake of 1693. The original site is now an overgrown ruin, reclaimed by nature and slowly sinking back into the earth. There were buildings here from the 17th century and all down the ages back to Greek antiquity, but now they’re mostly just stones in the undergrowth, but for one or two exceptional and magnificent survivors. Read more

Frames of reference

Noto

Noto is perhaps the most interesting of the 18th-century Baroque towns of Sicily. It was built after the earthquake of 1693 when the former town (now known as Noto Antica) was abandoned. An excellent example of 18th-century town planning, the local limestone has been burnt gold by the sun. The inhabitants call their city ‘il giardino di pietra’, the garden of stone.  Read more

Frames of reference

Le Quattro Volte

Six years ago I posted a trailer on Frames of Reference for this magical film by Michelangelo Frammartino, Le Quattro Volte (The Four Times). Now, at last, here’s the whole thing. It’s a film unlike any other. Time passes slowly from one to another. These are some words from the trailer…

We each have four successive lives within ourselves; each one contained within the others. We are mineral; we are made of salt, water and organic matter. We are vegetable; like plants we breathe, reproduce and nourish ourselves. We are animal; we have imagination, memory and knowledge of the outside world. In the end we are rational beings; we possess will and reason. We each have four distinct lives within ourselves… and so we must discover ourselves four times.

Frames of reference

A Walk In The New Forest

The other side of this sign warns WATCH OUT Day and Night and it’s just where five donkeys came out of the darkness into our headlights as we arrived the night before. We saw the donkeys but didn’t see the sign. But that’s not why I took the photograph. I was curious about the holly, at first sight it’s a tree but then higher up it’s more like a vine reaching for the branches of the oak tree. High risk root. Read more

Frames of reference