Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Choragic Monument

Choragic Monument
I was going to do 'columns' for ABC Wednesday but when I started to browse my photographs discovered I actually possessed something beginning with C - the Choragic Monument in Tatton Park.  The day we visited the park it was what could only be described as changeable, consequently this photo was rather dark, so I popped into Picasa and gave it the heat treatment to show off the classical architecture. Makes it look like the gods are about to descent. 
Tatton Park
The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates was designed by William Cole of Chester in 1820 and commissioned by Wilbraham Egerton to commemorate his travel through Europe. This was probably a Grand Tour, a traditional journey through Europe taken by wealthy young men to complete a cultural education of the Ancient World and the Renaissance. The monument's inspiration derives from that of the one in ancient Athens celebrating Lysicrates, wealthy patron and leader of the Greek chorus.  This piece of statuary was added to the gardens to give a note of finality to the garden tour and terminate the vista of  a long broad walk. The monument was a favourite picnicking site for the Egerton family with wonderful view of the parkland. 
If the weather was inclement their Neo-classical house would be a pleasant retreat set in the middle of 50 acres of garden.  The last in the Egerton line bequeathed it, parkland and gardens to the nation for us all to enjoy.

Lastly  here is the inspiration behind the Tatton Park monument, the original Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens.

 Choregia defrayed the cost to Ancient Athens of the expense of theatre choruses it was considered a duty to be undertaken by prosperous citizens of Athens.  (A Greek Chorus comments with a collective voice on the dramatic action in the play).  The choregos (theatre sponsor) was responsible for assembling the theatre chorus, train them, pay them a wage and costume them.  There were 15 members in a tragedy chorus, 24 in a comedy chorus and 50 in a dithyramb chorus.  I guess that could add up to a tidy sum of money.  Each time the choregos competed against the other choregos for first place. The winner was entitled to set up a choragic monument at his own expense to immortalise his name.  Not only does the  Choragic Monument of Lysicrates  of 334BC survive it is also  the first use of Corinthian columns.

An entry to ABC Wednesday - a journey through the alphabet.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Boats and Barriers on the Bay

A boat on Morecambe Bay. What a convenient place to park ones boat just on the promenade no chance of it breaking away. I wonder if those cross-hatchings mean no stopping - unless you are a boat.
In the middle this weeks snow how nice to think back to a summer when just chilling out on a beach is possible without being chilly. Last week's tides were high so those large chunks of stone that form a barrier will take the sting out of the waves.
A more substantial barrier by the coast road on the opposite side of the bay to the previous photos and on my side of the bay.  Possibly one could  peek  through the holes from the other side while keeping dry in high tides with the wind behind them.. Although this year it has been remarkably still, possibly because of the billows of clouds coming across the Atlantic. But even a sunny winter day like this it was calm.
So  peaceful, and a bundle of seaweed waiting to be taken out to sea again.
Meanwhile on a tidal creek for these boys there is some exploring to be done and with a  bit of  imagination some great adventures to begin,  while never setting sail.

An entry to ABCWednesday. The start of the  journey through the alphabet, our second port of call - B

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Aldeburgh Art Ancient and Modern

Amazingly another alphabet gone and we are at number 12 of the rounds of ABC Wednesday, so new year, new badge and new alphabet words. With no more ado let me take you to the south east of England to the coastal town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk and head for the beach, which may have snow on it at the moment, but what better time to dream of sunny summer days when you can wander along the beach picking up shells, but this one is not for picking but for admiring
"Scallop" by Maggi Hambling is dedicated to the composer Benjamin Britten who lived in Aldeburgh and used to walk along the beach in the afternoon.  The words written on the edge say "I hear those voices that will not be drowned" and are from his opera 'Peter Grimes' which was based on part of a poem by George Crabbe a native of Aldeburgh.  This year a beach performance of Peter Grimes will take place at Aldeburgh as part of the music festival.  East Anglia is the driest part of Britain so hopefully they get a day like the one in my photographs.
Mermaid on the Scallop
Maggi Hambling's idea was for the Scallop to be both visual and tactile. It proved controversial with some local people who said it spoilt the shingle beach.  I went to see for myself and loved it on the crest of the beach, it would seem that
visitors do too for every time I passed it was either being photographed or as in the previous photo sat on. Hambling thinks of it as a conversation with the sea
"An important part of my concept is that at the centre of the sculpture, where the sound of the waves and the winds are focused, a visitor may sit and contemplate the mysterious power of the sea,"
Maggi Hambling, before The Scallop, was probably most famous for being a portrait painter full of bold strokes and lots of paint.  She also became well known for appearing in the 1980s as captain of the TV quiz show "Gallery" where the panellists of the two teams used to identify and discuss works of art. Described as a "cerebral quiz show" I couldn't see it being made for today's television even discounting the fact that Hambling was rarely seen without a cigarette in her hand.

That is the modern (2003) part of Aldeburgh in my title but walk away from The Scallop and towards Aldeburgh to find the ancient
 Moot Hall built in 1520.  Moot Halls are local meeting places and this once this held local council meetings but today although the Town Clerk has an office here the rest is a museum, which as the sign says is "open".  The building was restored in 1854 hence its good condition.

 Going around the side and there is the sundial from the times before the railways when each part of England had a different time.  The coming of the railways meant that there had to be a standardised time for all the country otherwise the timetables would not make any sense.

Go around the back and a couple of cyclists have arrived, the relatively flat and rolling county of Suffolk being ideal for being active on a bike.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Going to the Zoo

 The last letter of ABC Wednesday and I'm taking a trip to the zoo. A popular place for school trips, this little group were waiting for the rest of the class before venturing through the gates. 

 Where these Chinese style lions make a grand entrance to the Antwerp Zoo, almost better than the real thing.

As we are concentrating on the letter Z this week I will show one of my favourite animals

zebras blending together in super stripes.

Founded in 1843by the Royal Society of Zoology the Antwerp Zoo's initial aim was to encourage zoological and botanical science.  Its initial area of 4 acres kept expanding throughout the 19th Century until it reached 26 acres. There are recent plans to add another 4 acres. The zoo has changed greatly since the 19th century with more emphasis on space and light for the animals  although some things remain the same such as the
 Giraffe House built in the style of an Egyptian Temple and donated to the zoo in 1856 by King Leopold II.  The giraffes were mostly outside but the food will arrive through this entrance
Apparently the designs all tell the story of the zoo and the animals arriving from the four corners of the earth
 The Egyptian hieroglyphs give more information. The row of five people have their names in hieroglyphs but I have no idea who they are.  I imagine this was a period of great excitement for all things Egyptian as Champollion had only made the complete decipherment of the symbols in the 1820s.  The aim of the building, built by Charles Servais was to "delight Antwerp and to educate its inhabitants.

An entry to ABC Wednesday. A journey through the alphabet and the end of the round 11.  Are you in for Round 12?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

You'll Never Walk Alone

Liverpool's anthem writ large above the Shankly Gate entrance "You'll Never Walk Alone".  The policeman in yellow sits on his motorbike. 
You'll Never Walk Alone across Stanley Park on a match day. 
Stop me and buy one

Liverpool play in red however the lettering on their current shirt is yellow
The Kop unfurl the flag and begin to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone"
Meanwhile not far away is a yellow submarine but appearances can be deceptive because it is actually a floating hotel called The Fab 4, a narrow boat whose interior is straight from the 1960s complete with a moped from the Mod film Quadrophenia in the lounge.  Lets not forget the original Yellow Submarine, all together now...

An entry to ABC Wednesday. A sail through the alphabet which has docked at Y