A Landscape at Harewood House

England, Yorkshire

After visiting Harewood House, a visit to the grounds seems a good idea. Maybe the formal garden just beyond the house. Maybe the Bird Garden. Or maybe just a stroll in the managed landscape of Capability Brown, overlooking Wharfedale beyond. Come.

Let’s approach those trees. I wonder what we could see beyond?

Keep walking ….

… closer …

Ah! There’s a view …

… or there was.

Monochrome or Colour, Adam?

Blogging challenges, Yorkshire

If you’re reading this, the chances are that you’ve also glanced at my previous post today, showcasing Jacob Epstein’s Adam at Harewood House. I’ve been playing with the photos, and have decided I would have done Adam more favours by showing him off, not in glorious technicolor, but in monochrome. What do you think?

An addition to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #220 One Subject Three Ways, and a contribution to Bren’s Mid-Week Monochrome #109.

You can have too much of a good thing, so I’ll hold back my other post from Harewood for a day or two.

A Heavyweight at Harewood House

Heritage, history, Yorkshire

Harewood House is the archetypical country house. Built for Edward Lascelles, the first Baron Harewood, in the mid eighteenth century to designs by John Carr and Robert Adam, it is set in one hundred acres of garden designed by Capability Brown. It’s among Yorkshire’s most prized treasures. These days, such treasure has lost some of its lustre as people remember that the Harewood family acquired their immense wealth from being slave owners and having plantations in West India. The present Harewood family can’t change that past, but their exhibition programme does what it can to redress the balance: this month there’s an exhibition on Windrush generation Arthur France, founder of Leeds West Indian Carnival.

I mention this, because as you enter the house, this is what you see:

A spacious and gracious entrance hall: delicate plaster work, elegant columns: and slap bang in the centre, a mighty sculpture, monumental, assertive and demanding attention. This figure isn’t a slave: he’s not even Afro-Caribbean. No, this is a sculpture by Jacob Epstein, who was greatly influenced by what was in the early twentieth century thought of as ‘primitive’ art – that of Polynesia and Africa. This is Adam.

How he got here is a curious tale. Back in 1961 the then Lord Harewood saw this sculpture in of all places, a Tussaud’s peep show in Blackpool, together with other works by Epstein. A long and complicated story, but he eventually bought it, and now it’s recognised for the stirring and monumental piece that it is, rather than a grotesque to be laughed at. Do look at this post here to get a flavour of how Epstein’s work was regarded in its early days, at least as it was displayed in Blackpool. The short video below however places Adam in the context of Harewood House.

I wanted, for this week’s Lens-Artist Challenge #220 One Subject Three Ways by Patti, to observe Adam in several ways, to look at how this potent figure works in a space to which it seems in many ways unsuited. I found the lighting difficult and am not pleased with my results, but … I did it anyway. You’ve seen the first one already. Here are more…

So … Adam. But knowing the story of Harewood and where the money came from to build it, I found this figure, which relies on an African, rather than an European artistic heritage, makes a powerful statement to those who enter this house to enjoy its treasures and its finely proportioned and handsome grandeur.

I’m going to have another go at the challenge, perhaps tomorrow, when I take a stroll in the artfully designed ‘natural’ landscape of Harewood House.

Buses and planes, boats cars and trains …

England, France, Germany, India, Poland, Spain, Travelling in Europe, Yorkshire

The best way of travelling hopefully? Let’s see.

A bus can be fun, but that’s strictly for local exploring. Unless you can get yourself to India and hitch a lift in God’s Own Palace … Though you’re much more likely to be catching the long-distance bus whose driving seat I feature here …

Air travel has lost its sheen, since Airport Security and Queuing became a A Thing, not to mention those CO2 emissions of which we’re now so horribly aware. Even so, there is something thrilling about watching the changing landscapes of the earth far below, and cloud formations too.

You could take to the water, and sail to your destination near or far…

On the way to Rotterdam

Car travel gives you the opportunity to please yourselves and follow your noses, and even to get off the beaten track, but again … all those emissions.

My own favourite way to get from A to a distant B is by train. I sit, I watch the world go by. I read. If I’m lucky, there may be coffee on offer. And the journey eases the transition from home to away by gradually introducing fresh landscapes, fresh outlooks. There’s something discombobulating about leaving – say – foggy England by plane and arriving two hours later – say – in sunny Spain. Here’s the TGV from Barcelona to Paris. It says it all …

Station architecture may be inspired, whether from the Golden Age of Steam, or assertively twenty first century.

All things considered, I can’t agree with the disconsolate boredom of this particular passenger. By the way, you, get your feet off the seat!

Or … there’s always the motorbike … as spotted in their dozens and dozens outside Mysore Station.

Bike park outside the Station

All the same, modern travel with all its advantages can seem busy, stressful. Sometimes, we might just want to exchange the traffic jam for something rather simpler.

John has provided this week’s LENS-ARTISTS CHALLENGE #215 – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and the places they take you.

Last on the Card: I couldn’t possibly comment …

Heritage, Yorkshire

We all trotted off to Harewood House yesterday. This must-visit stately home between Leeds and Harrogate is a little notorious these days because the enormous wealth and privilege it represents was built as a direct result of the slave trade. Designed by architects John Carr and Robert Adam, it was built, between 1759 and 1771, for Edwin Lascelles, 1st Baron Harewood, a wealthy West Indian plantation and slave-owner.

These days, the family does what it can to move on from these distasteful roots. I’ll probably write more later about a current exhibition there – Radical Acts: Why Craft Matters, which looks at a wide range of social justice and environmental issues. But I found my last photo of the month, taken there, irresistible. It’s perhaps not the sort of poster you’d normally find gracing a stately home?

For Brian (Bushboy)’s Last on the Card: July 2022. A chance to show our last photo of the month, however good, bad or indifferent.

Golden moments at break of day … and sunset

Blogging challenges, Spain, Yorkshire

My last couple of posts have not been light-hearted. I took you for a walk across a stark and austere landscape. I invited you to read a number of stark and austere books. Since Jude’s Life in Colour is all about gold this month, I thought I’d hunt out – not very original of me, I know – a few sunrises and sunsets. These can get their golden vibe by being yellowish rather than reddish, but they’re gleaming, resplendent, hopeful, bright.

My featured photo, and the one below come from  L’Albufera de València, a natural freshwater lagoon that is home to thousands of birds – and fish too of course. Its sunsets are a wonder on any day of the year. But I particularly like the understated dirty-golden glow in these two shots.

 L’Albufera de València

Travelling’s tough these days. Better to stay local and get up early, and enjoy the sunrise just near the house. These two shots show our river, the Ure, at daybreak in spring.

Or just a little later, in the parkland of Sleningford Hall …

Sleningford Hall

You’d still sooner be abroad? Best take a ferry then …

Rotterdam- Hull ferry: a view from the deck.

And we’ll head straight for Granada. We might get there just in time for the sunset.

Granada

Spots and dots and dots and spots

Blogging challenges, London, Spain, Weather, Yorkshire

Spots and dots. That’s the Lens Artists Photo-Challenge this week, as requested by Ann-Christine. What to choose?

I thought immediately of the year we came back from France, 2014. That was the year too when the Tour de France came to Yorkshire. We went Tour de France mad, and some people even decorated their houses in red spots in honour of the King of the Mountains.

I remembered Brian, the dog my elder daughter had. No dog is spottier than a Dalmatian.

Brian.

I thought of a bubble-producer extraordinaire we met in London once, delighting children of all ages.

There was that extraordinary murmuration of starlings that took place over our house. It’s an annual treat round here. Thousands and thousands of starlings polka-dot the sky. And afterwards, leave the car spotted and dotted.

Or what about Seville orange trees with glowing orange fruits brightening the winter Spanish streets – and then lying discarded as the season ends: until we come along and bag up a kilo or two to transform into marmalade back at home?

But then I thought about spots and dots in the here and now. Spots and dots in England mean rain on the window, rain on the windscreen. So I begin and end my post with weather, English style.

A frequent view from the bedroom window

But … one more thing. No rain = no welly-boots. No welly-boots = no cheery whimsical feature in a garden just down the road.

‘How Wonderful Yellow is. It Stands for the Sun’. part Two

Blogging challenges, France, Yorkshire

This is the post that illustrates Van Gogh’s words, rather than my last one. We’ll showcase all the wonderfully optimistic flowers of spring next time. Let’s just pass directly to summer, and enjoy the over-pungent fields of rape; the gorse rollicking over the coastal parts of the Cleveland Way in Yorkshire; a painted lady enjoying summer yellow; fields of sunflowers in France, forever turning their faces to the sun; and finally, yellow’s final fling – harvest season. Just before the bad weather sets in – look at that last foreboding image. Luckily, Jude provides the opportunity for us to hunt down all our yellow-rich images, in her challenge Life in Colour.

Click on any image to view it full size.

Finding another uplifting companion

Blogging challenges, Walking, Yorkshire

Some of you may remember my first post this month, when I announced my plan to acquire a Virtual Dog to make sure I went walking every single day, come rain, come ice, come mud. My chosen companion was Dilys, shown in today’s feature photo, but she already walks miles every day with her own family. Much as I love her, I think I really do need a Virtual Dog.

Then I remembered Ai Wei-We’s Circle of Animal Heads at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Surely that featured a dog’s head? Up a pole? It did. Here is my Virtual Dog. Sadly, it’s my least satisfactory photo from there, so I’ll include a small gallery of some of the others to give you a better idea of this circle of mainly Zodiac figures up above your head.

My Virtual Dog

I’ve completed 116 miles this month. I felt this was a decent number – nothing to upbraid myself with here. But then I discovered that Jo of Restless Jo and Jo’s Monday Walk fame has upstaged me. She does eight miles a day. Almost every day. I’ll have to up my game.

Square Up

Thank you, Becky, for cheering up a particularly long and dismal January: for giving us the opportunity for uplifting friendships in the blogosphere, and for making us crank our brains up a gear as we tried to measure up to the skills, humour and ingenuity of our fellow participants.