Thursday, January 29, 2009

Where I'd rather be...

Gosh, it has been a little too long between updates. I blame the hot weather here in Melbourne, 43 degrees. I often think that the heat bothers me more in Melbourne, in part because we don't get that much of it, but also because it seems we rarely build for it. I lived in a little hot box in the city for a few years, with air conditioning, but nonetheless a stuffy and uncomfortable existence. Here is a design to cool us all down.
A summer house by by Corona and P. Amaral Arquitectos. Image from CarolaVannini Architecture blog.
The use of wood is soothing and the straight lines seem to echo the straight lines of the horizon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snapshot, Abbotsford.



I noticed this building on my very hot walk through Abbotsford yesterday, initially because of the lovely cool breeze that blew out the windows, but then because it is actually a rather fine building designed by William Pitt. I particularly like the fine brickwork that accentuates the regular articulation of the facade. It was built in the late nineteenth century and the Heritage Databse describes it thus:

The Denton Hat Mills is one of a number of significant large factory complexes designed by Pitt. It is thought to represent some of his earliest extant factory designs, predating his 1890s work at Foy and Gibson and the Victoria Brewery and his 1909 work at Bryant and May.

The Denton Hat Mills complex is of scientific significance because it was Australia's first steam-powered hat factory and one of only ten percent of all Victorian clothing factories of the 1880s which boasted powered/mechanized plant.


See the full Victorian Heritage Database entry here.
Walking Melbourne entry here.
It is now being renovated, not sure on the details but this suggests it is apartments and shops.
It is tucked away in the inner suburban streets at 49-60 Nicholson St, Abbotsford.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What I'm working on...

Currently doing some reading, and re-reading on William Kent whilst revising an upcoming article on him. I had never really intended to work on English gardens but Kent came up in reference to my studies on early eighteenth-century Rome. He lived and worked in Italy between 1709 and 1719, a long time, and his work in England often has clear links with the art and architecture he saw in Italy. This has only recently become a popular topic of study, John Dixon Hunt has described how throughout the 19th century the English were keen to perpetuate the assertions of Horace Walpole (amongst others), who "sets up a new modern, natural and above all English garden against the horrid artificialities of French and Dutch design from the 17th century onwards." - John Dixon Hunt, The Picturesque Garden in Europe, p.35.


William Kent, 'A view in Pope's Garden at Twickenham with the Shell Temple', c. 1736. Image from the British Museum.

William Kent, Stowe House, Buckinghamshire, The Temple of Ancient Virtue, 1730-1740. Image from the British Museum.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Some Reading

A piece from The New Criterion on the art market - The art market bubble: On the folly of speculating on contemporary art.

An article by Norman Rosenthal from The Art Newspaper suggesting on the restitution of works of art looted by the Nazis - The time has come for a statute of limititaions.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Daylesford Snapshots

The Rex Theatre.


Uniting Church, Central Springs Rd.


Anglican Church, Central Springs Rd.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all, I am hoping to make this blog a bit more regular this year, but I am also hoping to finish my PhD so we shall see how it goes. I am back at my desk after a very lazy week off, I have a plan for a chapter for an exhibition catalogue due on Monday and I am also chasing down some images and publication rights for another article and this prompted me to list some of my favourite galleries, museums and organisations that provide excellent online image databases. The online image database has really come into its own in the last couple of years with more collections online and also with more gallleries and museums attempting to put a comprehensive cataliogue of most obhjects in their collections rather than just a highlights pacakage.
Some galleries are also making it possible for researchers to download high quality images for personal research or scholarly publication free of charge.
Here are a couple I have been using regularly or have recently discovered.

The British Museum
main website - search the collections
This is a huge database with over 1 million images catalogued and over 200 000 of these have accompanying images. The record for each item gives the full title, author, materials, date, school/style, culture, dimensions and inscriptions, a short description, bibliographic details and provenance.
My most recent download was this image by 18th century artist/architect and landscape designer William Kent, see the full record here.

The Victoria and Albert Museum
main website - search collections
Another very big database, with around 30 000 works. I find the search function a bit odd, I sometimes have trouble relocating works I know I have seen on the database and a recent search with the keyword 'photo' only brought up 12 results and I get frustrated that none of the works I am currently studying are online! When you do find the record though you get a high quality image in two sizes, author, date, title, place dimensions and good descriptions and like the BM they allow downloads of high quality images for scholarly and non-profit use. I recently downloaded this image of an 18th century bed curtain - see the full record here.

Catena Digital Archive
main site here
This site was created by the Bard Graduate Center through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Catena. It is described as "part of a larger, typologically organized archive of digital images with accompanying educational materials." The database provides high quality images which include modern and historical photos of gardens as well as images of prints or rare books. You can either search or browse. At the moment the focus is mainly upon Italian gardens but it also has some images of other European gardens and a couple of American ones. You need to register and use specific software to download images.

Other image databases I use regularly include
RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).
State Library of Victoria and the Australian National Library.
Web Gallery of Art.

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