Tuesday, 20 July 2010


So, this weekend was spent in Brighton. But I shan't blog about it until I get some pictures forwarded; once again I forgot my camera so I wait on others to send me something. Meanwhile, yesterday. It was a trip to the dentist (three fillings and a new denture, since you ask) but en route I had time in hand and headed to the Southampton City Art Gallery.

Southampton as a City is a grave disappointment. Have you ever been to a concert in the Guildhall? Impressive 1930's building, but not a touch of paint since it was built. Went to a BSO concert there and was devastated to find even the conductor's rostrum had peeling paint! So of course there are very few concerts there. The erstwhile Bouremouth Symphony Orchestra (which I knew first when Charles Groves was Conductor, half a century ago) now has its home in Poole where there is a great concert hall, the Lighthouse. Unfortunately, though only 24 miles away from us, it takes an eternity to get there through the hinterland of Bournemouth. There are a few ancient Southampton buildings which the blitz missed and the developers have not yet cleared away, but they are generally closed. There are two things though that redeem the City. The parks, and the Art Gallery. Mind you, they were going to flog off some of the collection in order to renovate the building ... not sure where that one has reached now.

The gardens are marvellous, and very well mainstained, and run through the centre of the city. Yesterday I spotted what I thought might be a cork oak, and it was, Quercus Subur, a fine specimen. These gardens are a great feature - unlike the Solent Coast which ought to be a feature but is generally hidden behind warehouses and piles of freight containers. Well, it is a working port, but it would be nice to be able to get a glimpse of the sea now and again.

The art gallery though. Why hasn't the present exhibition been advertised nationally? Why have there been no major reviews in all the colour supplements? It is just knock-out - I almost missed my dentist's appointment.

It is a maritime exhbition, and is called something like Turner to Today. Of the many treasures (and you should be able to view them on line, but you can't: what is WRONG with this City?!) there is a terrific Maggi Hambling in her Sea series; a great wall of a painting, with a furious array of waves and spume and general fury. Wonderful. There's a nice little Boudin, some so-so Lowrys - his version of the floating bridgeis not a patch on another of a a different floating bridge (on the Isle of Wight) by a local artist - but the show-stopper is the Turner. Fishermen trying to launch a boat into such a sea! Over all, a great looming sky. The notes say there is hope in the sky; I saw it as nothing but foreboding. If you can get to Southampton before early September, then you should. It is free, and when I visited yesteerday morning I was the sole visitor. One other chap came just as I left. Made me quite oblivious of my teeth. Must go back asap and give it more time - I might even look at some of the Videos and Installations!

Oh, and today is my 15th anniversary of Consecration, so we have just split a lovely bottle of Sancerre which Jane bought to celebrate the occasion. Cheers!

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