Abbeys and cathedrals: intrigue, love and hubris

I’m not a church-goer although regular Sunday services were a part of my upbringing. I don’t know if it’s that familiarity between heritage churches and childhood, but I love the feeling of peace and contemplation in the soaring spires, graceful arches and supporting buttresses of these historic buildings. The stories of the people who built them and those who worshipped, remain in the exquisite architecture and dramatic frescoes. The very stones are imbued with history and all its attendant intrigue, love, ambition and power.

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A life of contemplation: Abbey of Santi Nazaro and Celso

The Benedictine Abbey of Santi Nazaro and Celso was founded in 1040. It was also a fortification hence the disproportionate watch tower.

It seems like every town and city in the Piemonte region of north west Italy features a magnificent historical building, or two. If, like me, you appreciate classical architecture, incredible gardens and exquisite frescoes this should be on your list of places to visit. This part of Italy is so different from the sunny climes further south and it has a distinctly Gothic atmosphere.

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Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

The Valley of the Kings

A new blockbuster exhibition opened last week at the Saatchi Gallery, London. 150 treasures are on display at Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh as part of a world tour before returning forever to Egypt. Over 60 pieces are on loan outside their home country for the first time. London is the third stop in a ten-city world tour, which broke records in Los Angeles before becoming France’s most attended exhibition ever attracting over 1.4 million attendees. The hottest ticket in town this winter!

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Review: A Rothschild Treasury

Gates to a treasure trove. A Rothschild Treasury at Waddesdon Manor

A new exhibition space opens today (7 September 2019) at Waddesdon Manor, the fairytale house built in 1870 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. The new permanent exhibiton A Rothschild Treasury is a treasure trove of artefacts, many never before seen by the public. Here’s a brief tour around the stunningly beautiful and romantic interior of this unique country house.

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The Musée Louvre-Lens: 5,000 years of art

A satellite of the iconic Louvre in Paris, the Musée Louvre-Lens in the Pas-de-Calais region of France, is a jewel of a discovery. Once an important mining region, Lens is now home to an art gallery, a luxury hotel of the same name and a restaurant, L’Atelier Marc Meurin.

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A fine romance with The Moon

Incredibly, it is 50 years since Apollo 1 and astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930 to 2012) took ‘one small step for man’ on the moon. By way of celebration a new exhibition called simply ‘The Moon’ will open tomorrow at The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, London.

Human beings’ external romance with all things lunar dates way back and is nothing less than a love affair. The exhibition explores how throughout time civilisations have observed the moon and interpreted its many facets in some surprising and intriguing ways.

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Review: An Enquiring Mind, Manolo Blahnik at The Wallace Collection

An Enquiring Mind, Manolo Blahnik at The Wallace Collection

As in all the arts, whether paintings, literature and theatre, one of the delights of fashion design is the historical references. A NEW exhibition An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at The Wallace Collection opened this week and explores the inspiration behind the genius in ‘art’ shoe design and production. Blahnik takes his love of art, interior design and fashion of the 17th and 18th centuries and creates the most exquisite footwear, literally works of art. This is an exhibition to make Sex and The City’s Carrie Bradshaw swoon. I certainly did.

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