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)

woollens

Until now I have done very little season shopping: I don’t think there is much that I really need and in general I love buying presents that will have some practical use.

On Sunday I visited the Old Spitalfields market with the idea of finding some presents… Sadly, I failed to find anything suitable. The market itself was nice to visit, but I was a bit disappointed that many stalls didn’t sell items of own production.

There were a few stalls with woollens and I didn’t resist the sheepy temptation for long! I went home with a woolly booty:

as well as some soap bars by All Natural Soap Co (handcrafted soaps, 100% palm oil free, made with olive oil and wild shea butter).

And this is a hand-knitted present (a self-aid charity put my commission through to a skilled knitter who made it). My friend will have a beautiful neck warmer and a knitter will have had work. The (free) pattern is Braidheart by Rose Anne.

After the failed attempt at the market, I resorted to the net, where I found some useful presents:

Fire Log Carrier Bag

A fire log carrier bag

gooseberry-large

Kneeler cushion for gardening

GYO-PLAB-Seed-Labels-LARGE

Seedling labels

GSC_TWINE50_lg

Striped twine assortment

GYO_TWGREEN-large

Twine in a tin

GHV_BOUQ-large

reusable muslin bags

(all but the first one were purchased from Burgon and Ball, an old British company based in Sheffield, England)

[disclaimer: as usual, I have no agreement and receive no compensation for mentioning items or brands]

Little Christmas markets

Image

some of today's purchases

some of today’s purchases…

[Edit: this is a post from last week that was held in my drafts for want of pictures]

With Christmas almost around the corner, there have been a few local markets taking place. Originally we only knew of one of them, but walking up to the venue, we discovered another one on the way – so we had to check it as well 🙂

The “mystery” market was inside St. Stephen’s Church, Rosslyn Hill, a beautiful 19th century old parish church located not far away from Hampstead, London. As I was in a hurry to check out the stalls, I forgot to take any pictures… doh! Anyway, you can see some lovely & happy shots showing this beautiful church in this photojournalist article on a Scottish wedding in London (I think the photographer made a great job! do have a look at the link).

St Stephen's Church, source: St Stephen's Trust

St Stephen’s Church, source: St Stephen’s Trust

This unplanned visit turned out to be the deal of the day: the Christmas Fair hosted yummy food stalls of many types, many crafts (including knitted items), some assorted and vintage products, and even had a stall dedicated to pensioners (they could get a product pack at a very advantaged price), which was fairly crowded. The fair was lively and well attended, well worth the visit!

They had many nice things on sale, so there was constant temptation… In the end I purchased quite a few items, mostly those that had a practical use. To make up for the lack of pictures from the fair, I will show the purchases I made 🙂

♥ baby bed set

♥ baby bed set

This is a baby bed set, probably home made (it had no labels) and unused (mint condition): there is a duvet cover, a sheet and two mini pillow cases. For £6 it was an absolute deal. I’m planning to reuse the fabric, as I have no kids. Look at the stunning fabric pattern…. ♥

cute motifs

...more details...

…more details…

could I let the sheep go? clearly not

could I let the sheep go? clearly not

Short after, I spotted a table with really nice home products… I took an organic bubble bath for a new-born baby, scents for the house and assorted soap bars:

Organic baby bubble bath and house scents

Organic baby bubble bath and house scents

Sheep soap bar... how could I leave this?

Sheep soap bar… how could I leave this?

I have a weak spot for nice soap bars

I have a weak spot for nice soap bars

Apparently, there is a Christmas Vintage Fair coming up on 8th December, so if you’re nearby, you may want to pop in for a quick browse. More details on Pop Up Vintage Fairs webpage.

The other fair, which was the one we originally went out for, was taking place at the Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Church. A brief history of the pretty building courtesy of Wikipedia:

The chapel, which stands on Rosslyn Hill, was at first a simple wooden structure. Said to have been built in 1692 by Isaac Honeywood who lived in the adjoining mansion, the Red Lion Hill meeting house was first replaced in 1736 and then, having become unsafe, rebuilt in brick on roughly the same site in 1828. The current building (using the old brick chapel as its hall) was built from 1862 to 1885 in the Neo Gothic style. Two of the building’s stained-glass windows are by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris and another is by Henry Holiday. […] Its stone arches and pointed ceiling vault give it an excellent acoustic, making it a popular recording venue.

The Hampstead Christmas Market hosted many crafts products and largely locally or UK made. They were beautiful but (understandably so) the price tag was more substantial and many were of little practical use to me (i.e. I hardly wear any jewellery). I remember a stall that had woollen traditional fabric capes made in the UK – absolutely gorgeous items at a reasonable price, but I would have no use for them; though, the brand name was a bit unfortunate: Moth (WTH???!). For the life of me I couldn’t find any online reference to the brand. There were many other lovely items, from customised paper, cards, sewn stuff to knit and decorations. But by that point most of my budget was depleted – I did buy one thing though, and gathered quite a few business cards for later 🙂

lavender bags make kit by Little Hands Design

lavender bags make kit by Little Hands Design

Lavender bag kits by Little Hands Design

This is a kit by Little Hands Design to make three cute lavender bags. I was impressed by the decorated fabric, so although I could have easily made some myself without purchasing the kit, I wanted that particular one 🙂 Plus, the kit includes all necessary bits and accessories in one neat pack for an affordable price and I can support a local business. Checking out their website, I noticed that they also offer sewing and crafts classes in London and may attend some when my budget is in a healthier state.

the embroidered fabric is really sweet

the embroidered fabric is really sweet

Ideas for the finished items, but each kit is different

Ideas for the finished items, but each kit is different

After the markets I still wanted to visit a last spot: there is a small bric-a-brac seller in Hampstead who usually has some interesting things at reasonable prices (that’s were the tartan blanket from my previous post comes from). I found some more bargains…

a bit of haberdashery for my stash

a bit of haberdashery for my stash

A very last info:

If you’re around London and love animals (sheep in particular), there is a festive event on the 15th December – Christmas Fayre at the Farm. At the last local fair they brought farm animals and I was able to pet a sheep or two for quite some time; this is the farm who provided the creatures. Kentish Town City Farm was founded over 40 years ago… obviously, I’ll be going! I can’t wait!!

Kentish Town City Farm - herdsman sheep

Herdsman and sheep, picture by Kentish Town City Farm

A history of London in pictures: the Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath, also locally known as The Heath, is an ancient natural park situated in North London, not very far from the Camden Town area. While Camden has a rather alternative flavour, the area of Hampstead Village is on the posh side. On one side of the heath, there is Hampstead Village, which has a long history and beautiful old houses. On the other side, there is Highgate Village, with its beautiful historic cemeteries (Karl Marx lies there).

The Heath has a gracious mix of various landscapes and landmarks: it includes beautiful woods, grassy hilly areas with breathtaking views on London, ponds, swimming ponds, bird areas, Kenwood House, a lido and some playgrounds.

Here it follows a gallery of views and places in the Heath and its surroundings (the photos are taken with my iPhone, so the quality is not the highest really!)

The area is really extensive and there is another set of photos taken in the surroundings of the Heath, including the Pergola, Whitestone, the Observatory and Hampstead Village… but that will have to be another post!