Rubens’ landscapes exhibition and The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection museum in London, in cooperation with The National Gallery, organised a temporary exhibition with two Rubens’ landscape paintings from his mature period: Rubens: Reuniting the Great Landscapes(Wallace Collection’s webpage on the exhibition).

For the first time in over two centuries, this exhibition reunited The Rainbow Landscape and A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning. Both companion paintings depict the slightly idealised landscape around Het Steen, Ruben’s countryside manor, where he retired in his later years with his young family.

A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning
The Rainbow Landscape

The countryside depicted is rich and warm, projecting an impression of abundance and happiness. I believe this was a reflection of his inner happiness, in a time where he was free to paint for his own enjoyment rather than for commission, living the good life together with his young wife and newly-born children. On the contrary, his homeland itself was going through a period of conflict and war.

The Wallace Collection is a national museum which displays the art collections brought together by the first four marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the likely illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess. These outstanding collections were bequeathed to the British nation by Lady Wallace, Sir Richard’s widow, in 1897. The museum hosts 18th century French art, many important 17th and 19th century paintings, medieval and Renaissance works of art and one of the finest collections of princely arms and armour in Britain.

We booked the entrance for the opening time and walked from home to the museum, then leisurely visited the rooms, including a nice break at their cafeteria where I enjoyed an exquisite green tea.

We started with Rubens’ exhibition, which was closing today, and then proceeded to the rooms hosting the permanent collections.

There is a lot to see, with many masterpieces and collections of various interests, as well as the house itself with many of its original interiors. We enjoyed it very much and will visit again to learn more about the artefacts.

If you happen to be in London, I warmly recommend a visit to The Wallace Collection, and a break at their cafeteria to enjoy some good food or a drink.

(disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post)

Frantisek Vizner’s whirlpool vases

Some time ago I acquired two vintage paintings depicting studies of blue vases.

Blue vase studies

The varied shades of blue, teal, green and browns in the pictures were attractive, and so were the blue shell in one and the blue swirly glass in the other. Their different shapes and perspectives were intriguing.

I had no background history about the artwork and online there were sparse details about the artist. Nevertheless, I thought they would look great in modern or contemporary interiors.

Some months passed and I posted them on Facebook. One evening a collector of art glass vases kindly offered a lead to the objects depicted in the painting shown on the right. They were the sought-after “whirlpool” vases, the work of famous Czech artist Frantisek Vizner, from around 1968.

It’s likely that the other painting also portraits a well known piece. I’d be grateful for any information or thoughts you could share.

František Vízner and the whirlpool vase

Vizner trained at famous glassmaking schools and subsequently graduated from the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague. He then went on to work as glass designer for the Czechoslovak glass industry, until 1975, when he made his own steps as independent artist. Vizner’s studio glass works are represented in museums such as the Museum of Applied Art and Craft in Prague, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris, among others.

Czechoslovakia has had a long tradition of creating glass artefacts and hosted some of European major centres of glass works.

Below are some examples of the “whirlpool” design (source: Pinterest).

These paintings are now available in my Etsy shop, or can be acquired directly.

Whirlpool vase study by Don Micklethwaite

My collection of art from 18th, 19th and 20th century is ever growing. I’m sharing some of it, to find new appreciative homes for the artworks.

I have more exciting pieces of fine art, of which I’m still researching the background history, including a painting of a famous Swiss artist and a mystery set of WWI portraits.

Should you have knowledge of WWI uniforms, please do get in touch.

Warm greetings, until next time

Letting it go

I’ve been steadily going through my belongings and sorting out my collections and generally “my stuff”.

This was prompted by wanting to “put some order” and moving some things into storage. I own quite a few beloved collections and finally decided to let part of these go.

Some items have been donated and others have been listed already, which feels good!

Here a few that have been or are looking for a new loving owner..

Original vintage sewing bust mannequin SUPAFIT Made in England with adjustable sizing. The vintage picture in the background is also being listed. (sold)

 

Beautiful flowerspray in white & blue jug still life composition

Lovely flowers and shades, from a Russian painter

The hues and motif is cheerful and peaceful, so I’m enjoying it on my wall until a new loving owner is found.

 

This antique 1930s British BSA bicycle has found a new home with a dad and son working on a restore project. They came all the way from a rather distant city to collect it! I would have loved to restore it, but enough time was not at hand….

After going through various thoughts and feelings, I am now ready to share the love – I will part with a sizeable part of my collections. It’s time to travel a bit lighter.

There will be:

  • extensive collection of old patterns and magazines (knitting, crochet, sewing and crafts), antique cards & ephemera
  • vintage jewellery
  • antique books
  • old items in silver and gold (flatware, home decor, table dressing, jewellery)
  • vintage and antique paintings, china, tins and boxes
  • quirk finds

I’m currently organising the items and this will take time. More beloved finds will be slowly listed over the coming months. It takes time to take photos and write descriptions 😉

Please get in touch should you be interested in some of these, I can provide details in advance, as well as quotes. I can ship to the UK and internationally.

My current listings can be seen here:

 

Our English Coasts

At a charity shop I found an old art magazine by The National Art Collections Fund, containing articles about Botticelli and the Pre-Raphaelites, among other interesting ones. Skimming through the pages, my attention was drawn to a picture: it was familiar but at the same time not really. It was familiar in that its object was known, but the painting itself was until now unknown to me.

It’s a natural view of some English coast… but you may recognise a special element in it. Look at the following picture, aren’t those woolly creatures just beautiful?

Our English Coasts ('Strayed Sheep'), William Holman Hunt, 1852Our English Coasts (‘Strayed Sheep’), William Holman Hunt, 1852

Digressing from the woolly theme, I’d like to briefly present another work associated with the Pre-Raphaelites. A later follower of their style, John William Waterhouse painted Ophelia in 1910, after some preparatory studies. I like those colours, the line and decorative elements of the dress, its beautiful corset and gown and the simple flowers. Ophelia and her tragic fate and unfortunate love was the object of many of his paintings.

Ophelia, John William Waterhouse, 1910             Ophelia, John William Waterhouse, 1910 (source: Wikipedia page)