Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snapshots, Cranbourne

The Australian Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne.
Website here.

I hope to write a more comprehensive review of this garden in the next few weeks. So watch this space.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Snapshot, Melbourne.

The Century Building, designed by Marcus Barlow, 1938-1940.
Covered in Wunderlich Granitex tiles.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jorn Utzon dies.

Jorn Utzon, architect of the Sydney Opera House has died aged 90.

The Danish architect of the iconic Sydney Opera House, Jorn Utzon, has died at the age of 90, after suffering a heart attack.

Mr Utzon, an award-winning architect, put "Denmark on the world map with his great talent," said Danish Culture Minister Carina Christensen. ...

The Sydney Opera House planned to dim the lights on the sail-shaped roof on Sunday to mark Mr Utzon's death.

The chairman of Sydney Opera House Trust, Kim Williams, said: "Jorn Utzon was an architectural and creative genius who gave Australia and the world a great gift.

from the BBC

Some images courtesy of the National Library of Australia catalogue.

Jorn Utzon, Artists' model for the geometry of the Sydeny Opera House, 1961.

Wolfgang Sievers, Sydney Opera House under construction, c. 1973.

Wolfgang Sievers, Interior of the Sydney Opera House, c.1973.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Snapshot, Melbourne and Garden visit

A gorgeous tower on Murphy St, South Yarra, Wednesday November 26th, 6:15pm.
I was dreaming about having that tower room as my study.

I also want to direct you all to the great website Garden Visit. I recently contributed some photos to the page on Villa Gamberaia and also some to a new page on Cloudehill.
There are also some interesting blogs to read there on various aspects of gardens and gardening.

Friday, November 28, 2008

JFK Memorial in the Treasury Gardens

Apologies once again for my absence, I hope to be back at least three times a week.

I had a break from my desk on Wednesday and walked through the Treasury Gardens and took some photos of the JFK memorial. It has always intrigued that it is there at all.

The memorial itself is by Raymond B. Ewers who apparently designed quite a few memorials.
More here and here.

The rest of the design is seemingly by an anonymous parks and gardens superintendent, though previously there was a Japanese garden by William Guilfoyle, better known for his design of the Royal Botanic Gardens. ome early images from the State Library collection.

It originally had water in it but has succumbed to the drought, but the plantings of grasses have been filled out to compensate and it is now a rather beautiful place to sit on a hot day. The Treasury Place and Edcuation Department buildings provide some nice borrowed landscape behind.

Some more images by the photographer Wolfgang Sievers of the monument shortly after its contruction.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The hedges are always greener...

I am very busy marking at the moment so have had no time to blog, in the meantime a neat green hedge from the garden of the Villa Farnese at Caprarola in Lazio, Italy.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Exhibitions I would go to if the world was smaller

From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith (Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York)

Model wearing Art Smith’s “Modern Cuff” Bracelet, circa 1948 (Image from the Brooklyn Museum website).

This exhibition honors the gift of twenty-one pieces of silver and gold jewelry created by the Brooklyn-reared modernist jeweler Arthur Smith (1917–1982)

Cold War Modern: Design 1945-70 (Victoria and Albert Museum, London.)
Garden Egg Chair:
Designed by Peter Ghyczy, the chair was eventually mass produced in East Germany
and is one of the few design products of the Cold War era, sold in both East and West.
(Image from V&A website).

From the website: Art and design were not peripheral symptoms of politics during the Cold War: they played a central role in representing and sometimes challenging the dominant political and social ideas of the age.

Correggio and the Antique (Villa Borghese, Rome.)

This exhibition has actually finished already. I just love Correggio, the second image The Martyrdom of the Four Saints, is the first painting I remember standing in front of for ages, just in love with the colours, the realism, the emotiveness of the faces, and, being about 10, the grisly subject matter.

Friday, October 31, 2008


I visited the Cloudehill garden in the Dandenong Ranges about a month ago. The planting are quite lovely, the design is beautiful, I find the sculpture rather jarring. The website describes the garden thus:

Cloudehill is inspired by the famous arts and crafts gardens of England: Sissinghurst, Hidcote, Tintinhull and others. These, in turn, are derived from the renaissance gardens of Italy such as Villa D'este and Villa Lante. Our green theatre is a tribute to those magnificent Italian hill gardens. Of course, Cloudehill's location, with its reasonably gentle slopes, the dramatic forest to one side and exhilarating views to the mountains, provide plenty of inspiration and the placing of art works into the gardens give a contemporary twist to a classic design.
The garden has those Edwardian garden rooms that were inspired by Italian gardens. By the Baroque as much as by the Renaissance I might add, these two styles often get conflated, but that is just my own pedantry.

Is this just a garden rule or a personal philosophy? Hmm.

Beautiful yellow magnolias.

The pond.

Fritillaria Meleagris

One of the vistas, the plantings weren't quite as full when I visited, but the gorgeous yellow poppies filled the void.



More poppies en masse.


A garden room and doorway a la Sissinghurst.



Moving from the structured to the naturalistic, a field of daffodils,
one of the ephemeral delights of gardens.


A Rhodedendron.

The Garden Theatre, reminds me of the Villa Bianchi Bandinelli near Siena.


The dog on the counter.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I was reading The Guardian online and found this feature on 1000 artworks to see before you die.


It is quite fun, but strangely it doesn't tell you where the images are kept, maybe they think seeing them in some form is enough. Not really though, flicking through the latest selection of 21 there are some many problems.
First is size, no difference on screen between a William Blake water colour and a Botticelli. You lose the intimacy of seeing a tiny image, or the impressive size of a huge canvas. In addition you can't see the textures or the material, the screen flattens everything out.
Context, most of these are from art galleries, but nevertheless context still matters. They do have Stonehenge up there and surely that is a completely spatial experience, no one would say they had seen it if they hadn't been there. Hmm.
What else? I don't like some of the one liners such as reducing the Canova pictured above to the phrase "Three little simpletons." Urgh. Makes me want to slap someone. Surely then this

Could be "big fat head in bush."

And this:
Is described as "The tubular chimneys of Venice with their strange terracotta spouts ... " Um. Thrilling.

Le sigh. Predictably modern artists and popular artists like Caravaggio get off better, as timeless expressions of human emotion and the like. So maybe it is 100o art cliches to read before you die.

Anyway it is still fun to go through and tick off. I got 8 out of 21.

Edit to add they do have the locations, click here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A good coat of paint..

.. has been applied to 245 Collins St, next door to Newspaper House. I don't know much about the origins of the building, I would guess it dates to the 1910s or roundabouts. I also recall before the paint was applied there were some funny sketchy paintings on the side of the building, I'm sure I have a photo but I can't find it.

Before (clearly I was actually taking a photo of newspaper house, ignoring its shabby next door neighbour):


And a last picture that shows how the vibrant green of the tiles now 'pops out', pity about the ugly awning though.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who says a staircase can't make your life complete?
Palazzo Madama, Turin. Staircase by Filippo Juvarra.

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