The Anonymous Widower

A Fabulous Building! Shame About The Art!

These pictures show the quality of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

Unfortunately, it had a collection of the most indulgent and useless art I’ve ever seen.

Except of course for the marvellous Puppy. But you don’t need to go in to see that.

That was the only art with any colour, except grey and brown.

One whole floor was given over to enormous curved steel structures. They would have been so much better in a public space, rather than hidden in a museum.

But the worst piece, was a slide carousel showing continuous images on the wall. All of the slides were blank. If that’s art, I’m a Chinaman!

I would advise visiting the museum on a fine, sunny Monday, as I did.As then, the museum is closed and you can just enjoy the building, the Puppy and their setting.

December 9, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | 3 Comments

My Exhibition List

This is a list of exhibitions, that I might want to go to or I have gone and enjoyed.  Most are in London.

British Museum – The Mostyn Tompion Clock – Ends 2nd February 2014

British Museum – Vikings – Ends 22nd June 2014

London Museum – Cheapside Hoard - Ends 27th April 2014

National Maritime Museum – Turner & The Sea - Ends 24th April 2014

PayneShurvill – Circulation – Peter Newman - Ends 18th January 2014

Royal Academy – Australia – Ends 8th December 2013

Royal Academy – Daumier – Ends 26th January 2014

Science Museum – Collider - Ends 6th May 2014

November 21, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Cheapside Hoard

This exhibition of the Cheapside Hoard at the Museum of London, is one of the most amazing I’ve ever seen. Here’s the first paragraph from their web site.

This October, the Museum of London will open a major new exhibition investigating the secrets of the Cheapside Hoard. This extraordinary and priceless treasure of late 16th and early 17th century jewels and gemstones – displayed in its entirety for the first time in over a century – was discovered in 1912, buried in a cellar on Cheapside in the City of London.

Not only are the jewels and other exhibits fabulous, the display is wonderful and it really gives the period a very different perspective.

I became a friend of the museum for just thirty pounds a year, but even if you queue up, you wouldn’t have to have waited long.

Anybody who visits London until the 27th April next year, should give the exhibition a visit.


October 15, 2013 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Notes On The Louvre

At places in the museum, there are a series of notes, giving details of the museum itself.

Notes On The Louvre

Notes On The Louvre

It is a good idea, that some museums in the UK could copy.

October 14, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Good Way To Show Small Paintings

I’ve never seen this done before, but it showed the small painting well.

A Good Way To Show Small Paintings

A Good Way To Show Small Paintings

I’m sure many art galleries have lots of small paintings that are never shown and could benefit from a version of this technique.

October 14, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Queues At The Louvre

There were long queues at the Louvre.

You can buy advance tickets and the details are here.

I queued for about an hour and a half to get in. But it was worth it!

October 14, 2013 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

The Milan Science Museum

This science museum, made ours in South Kensington seem particularly narrow in scope, very small and boring.

They also had no objections to the taking of pictures, providing you switched the flash off.

It was very busy with families and lots of kids.

One of the great things about a lot of Italian museums, is they seem to open early, unlike in some countries like Denmark.

October 13, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Museums On The Bygdøy Peninsular

There are several museums on the Bygdøy Peninsular.

I took a ferry to see two of them; the Viking Ship Museum and the Fram Museum.

I would have gone to the other two; the Kon-Tiki Museum and the Norwegian Maritime Museum, but the weather had turned and I was suffering a bit from the cold.

There is a lot to see on the peninsular and I wish I’d been able to devote more time to it. I think it would be easier, if on the peninsular, there was better signposts and maps and perhaps a bus on a route past all the attractions. An inclusive ticket for all the attractions on the peninsular would save time too!

September 10, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Letterpress Rules OK

This is an older post, that I have re-dated and brought up to date.

My father was a printer.  And he was all letterpress. He would have used machines like this Original Heidelberg, although his two were probably older.

Original Heidelberg

Original Heidelberg

Letterpress printing with movable type is one of the classic technologies that was invented in the Middle Ages by Johannes Gutenberg.

Movable Type

Movable Type

I spent most of my childhood in that printing works in Wood Green.  I used to set the type for all sorts of letterheads, posters and brochures, but perhaps my biggest claim to fame, is that I used to do all of the handbills for the Dunlop tennis tournaments, that were held all over the UK in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Sadly, I do not have one of those handbills.  If anybody has one, I’d love a photocopy. I’ve searched for years for one, but none exist.  Even the archivist, who wrote the history of Dunlop, knows nothing about the tournaments and couldn’t find any reference to them.

I also learned to read and write with poster letters.  These are of course backwards and you’d think that it would have caused me to have some sort of reading and writing problem.  I suppose it may be one of the reasons for my atrocious handwriting in that I learned that printing, computers or typing is much better from an early age, but it did give me a strong mental alacrity in turning images through 180 degrees.

This involvement in letterpress also left me with some habits and pedantic actions.

For instance, I always refer to exclamation marks as shrieks, which I have inherited from my father.

I’m also very pedantic about spelling and some aspect of structure like apostrophes and plurals. I spell words with the proper use of ae and oe for instance. I spell archaeology with the diphthong and not as archeology.  The difference is explained here.

The one thing I don’t seem to have inherited is my father’s good handwriting.

My father also had one of the oldest proofing presses, I’ve ever seen, but sadly there are no images of it. Mpst old ones you see tend to be Columbias made in the UNited States.

Proofing Press

Proofing Press

This one is from about 1850 and was at least fifty years younger than my father’s.  His probably ended up in a scrapyard, when a museum would have been a better bet.  Printing museums are rather thin on the ground and there isn’t even one in Heidelberg!  Although I did find a whole section in a museum in Belarus.


Wartime Printing in Belarus

My father’s letterpress business died.

Offset litho technology was coming in and because of the bizarre purchase tax system in operation in the 1950s and 1960s, it was cheaper for companies to do their own printing.  Tax on plain paper was zero, but if it was printed it was 66%, so work it out for yourself.  VAT would have solved the problem.

But now letterpress is coming back and like the printer who provided the pictures in this note, it is doing well.

There is nothing like the feel of a properly printed card or letterhead!  And you can do so many clever things with a proper printing machine, like score, number, decolate and perforate.

A few years ago, I met one of people my father used to deal with at Enfield Rolling Mills.  He explained how my father would use his skills to create production control documents and cards, to smooth the flow of work through the factory. That was the pinnacle of production control and workflow of its times.

It is a strange irony, that I  made my money by writing software for project management. Is it in the genes?

August 22, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | 9 Comments

If Wet In The Great Court

I went to a Members Party at the British Museum this evening.

It was an absolute joy to wander around some of the galleries, virtually by yourself.

The experience more than justified the cost of being a member.

August 5, 2013 Posted by | World | , | 3 Comments


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