Sunday 29 January 2017

Mosaic Monday # 25. Winter Snap Challenge.

I'm back on home turf for my Mosaic Monday post this week sharing with you some images taken around and about as part of the Winter Snap Challenge currently happening on the UK Scrappers website.

If you would like to learn more about the challenge, which runs until the end of February, and maybe spark your own winter photography (or even your scrap booking) mojo into action then click on this link to my justscrapping blog for more details.

The mosaic below includes one of the WSC prompts, # 13 - a sign of spring, we've had daffodils blooming in this sunny spot since Christmas.
The shot below it was captured on the beach at Colleville sur Mer on a very frosty morning, I've never seen frost covered sand before.
The final photo in the triptych is of our back garden, all three were taken with my new iPhone which was a gift from the SP at Christmas.
I love having it in my pocket when out walking, the freedom to point and click whenever I want to is quite heady!

Sunday 22 January 2017

Mosaic Monday # 24. The Bowes Museum, County Durham.

The Bowes Museum

Last week when I stopped by Daniella's blog " my little old world " I was reminded of a visit that the Senior Partner I made to the Bowes Museum in 2013.
When I checked my blog history I realised that I hadn't ever blogged about our visit despite promising that I would.
The Bowes Museum has an excellent informative website so I thought I'd share some of the many photos that we took on our visit and combine them with this short history from there.
"The Bowes Museum is a hidden treasure, a jewel in the heart of beautiful Teesdale. The magnificent building stands proud in the historic market town of Barnard Castle housing internationally significant collections of fine and decorative arts.  Purpose built in the 19th century by John and Joséphine Bowes, the Museum has a wonderful story to tell.

John, the son of the 10th Earl of Strathmore, was born at No 13 South Street, Chelsea, London. His mother was a commoner, Mary Millner, who caught the Earl's eye when she worked on his Teesdale estate and ended up living with the Earl to all intents as his wife for many years. The Earl married her just 16 hours before his death in an unsuccessful attempt to secure his son’s succession. Two very long court cases ensued, finally settling the Durham estates on John, but not recognising him as the legitimate heir to the Strathmore title.

John was educated at Eton and became a very successful businessman who profited from the coal reserves on his land. From 1847 he spent his time between France and England exploring his interest in the arts. It was here he bought a theatre and met the Parisian actress Joséphine Coffin-Chevallier. 

Joséphine was born in 1825. She was an actress in the Théatre des Variétés, Paris, owned by John Bowes. Joséphine was a talented amateur painter, who shared John’s love of the arts; she was interested in a range of art forms including paintings, ceramics, furniture and textiles. Once the couple married in 1852 they soon began to develop the idea of creating a world-class museum back in John’s ancestral home of Teesdale in order to introduce the wider world of art to the local people.

"Regatta on the Grand Canal"
circa 1730
Giovanni Antonio Canal "Canaletto".
The prospect was daunting; nothing had matched the scale, grandeur or location of this colossal proposal in their lifetime. Plans were meticulously scrutinised and painstakingly formed in order to give the North East a truly magnificent edifice, a home suitably fitting for all the precious treasures which would be contained within it.

l to r
"Portrait of a Lady" c. 1760 - Joshua Reynolds
Tin glazed earthenware jug c. 1872 - Emile Galle
"Olive Boteler Porter" c. 1630 -Sir Antony Van Dyck
The Bowes’ enthusiasm was immeasurable as Joséphine laid the foundation stone in 1869. She said: ‘I lay the bottom stone, and you, Mr Bowes, will lay the top stone’. As the building grew, so did their collection and an astounding 15,000 objects were purchased between 1862 and 1874.
Suddenly the project was blighted when Joséphine died in 1874. John’s motivation towards their lifelong achievement took an enormous blow and he virtually ceased collecting. Fortunately the building did continue, but John, like his late wife, never saw its completion. He died in 1885 and never did carry out Joséphine’s wish of laying the top stone.

Despite the death of John and Joséphine, momentum for the project had reached such a scale that it continued under the leadership of Trustees and The Bowes Museum was finally opened to the public on 10th June 1892 and attracted nearly 63,000 visitors in its first year.

John and Joséphine ensured that their Museum was filled with treasures; since collecting has continued since the opening, storage and display space comes at a premium. At every turn you can see important and precious works from all over Europe, and each piece has its own story to tell. However, it is the 240 year-old Silver Swan that is the best-loved object in the Museum. The Silver Swan is an English silver automaton, a unique attraction that was bought by the Bowes in 1872. The life size model is still in working order and is operated at the Museum on a daily basis.

The diverse collection spans three floors of the magnificent building and contains items too numerous to list. Whether it is paintings by Canaletto or Goya, porcelain produced at Sèvres, or marquetry attributed to André-Charles Boulle it can all be found at The Bowes Museum, which has received Designated status from the government in recognition of the outstanding collection."

Click here to visit the Bowes Museum website and uncover more treasures collected by John and Joséphine Bowes.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Mosaic Monday # 23. Talking to horses.

Thanks for all the interesting comments on last week's Mosaic Monday post.
It seems that many of us gravitate to the great outdoors with our cameras.

Sallie said " We are always drawn to the water.... rivers, marshes, lakes, oceans....and my pictures ( the keepers and the ones I delete) reflect that."
Pat had this to say "I seem to take a lot of deer photos and mountain photos now that I live in Colorado. When I lived in NYC it was photos of buildings and the skyline."
Linda combined both in the Shenandoah National Park, "Skyline Drive where I go frequently. Often I see deer there,".
As I made my way around visiting your blogs I noticed many of us are also interested in wildlife as a favourite subject to photograph. I saw some wonderful captures of wild birds enticed to feeders and bird tables at this time of year.
The up side of photographing birds in the garden is that it's possible to do it whilst still staying warm and cosy indoors. I must say I was impressed by the clean windowpanes, not sure I'd get the same high quality captures through mine.
It has been well documented on this blog that one of my favourite subjects to photograph are cows, seriously! And yes, I do know that they don't come into the "wildlife" category!
Each year from the beginning of March to the very end of October the three fields which surround the Presbytere are home to small herds of Normandie heifers.

Seeing them through my bedroom window in the morning always starts my day off well.

Whilst out walking M'selle Fleur we often stop to chat with this group of horses and donkeys, they're usually very happy to pose for the camera if we feed them some of the long grass from the roadside.
On Saturday we took a different route and met this horse and donkey duo just hanging out together. They seemed like they were good pals.

Sunday 8 January 2017

Mosaic Monday # 22. A favourite location to photograph.

One task I really dislike doing is trawling through the zillions of photographs on my PC hitting the delete button.
I always get sidetracked, reminiscing about times, places and friends captured by my point and shoot.
I can spend ages marvelling at all the wonderful places we've seen when what I should really be doing is ruthlessly discarding the blurred snaps, out of focus arty shots and those inadvertent captures of my foot or hand that just happened to get into the frame!
But needs must as they say and so during a quiet afternoon recently I sat down to do just that.
What I discovered in the process is that one of my most favourite locations to photograph would seem to be the beaches of Normandy.
I wonder if you have a favourite location that you return to over and over again, one that changes with the tide, the season or even the time of day?

Colleville sur Mer beach
Sunday 08/01/2017

Sunday 1 January 2017

Mosaic Monday # 21. Inspired to travel?

Happy New Year to all my blogging friends around the world.
May 2017 be ridiculously amazing for us all!

About the most amazing thing that I like to do is travel, luckily so does the Senior Partner.
During our almost 40 years together we have travelled far and wide across the globe.

2016 was a very good year for new sights and adventures - expanding our horizons wider and further.

As the New Year begins I've been reflecting on our experiences - combining images and some favourite inspirational travel quotes.