Friday, 7 June 2013

Sickle wing

My indulgent day out to Chichester did actually happen. As you may recall, I was planning a visit to see the Paul Nash gifted collection of Clare Neilson - it was even more enjoyable as public transport was the order of the day. Enforced idleness could be maximised.

The early train from Dorchester ensured I was in Chichester just in time for breakfast at the lovely St Martin's tearooms. A delightful establishment where log fires await and cosy nooks ensure you can idle in privacy whilst gazing at the embers. I came upon it by chance, actually sniffing out the woodsmoke as I walked by. A large pot of tea and scrambled eggs on toast were an ideal way to start the trip.

Paul Nash - Pallant House Gallery
The Pallant House Gallery is a truly wonderful find - the Nash exhibition housed in its De'Longhi Print Room was not huge, but certainly warranted a few circuits. This is the first public showing of the collection of his work amassed by his great friend Clare Neilson which has recently been gifted to Pallant House Gallery through The Art Fund. It includes important early wood engravings and etchings, photographs, collage, correspondence and illustrated books. It's only on until 30th June so if it's your sort of thing you must try and visit.

Paul Nash - Pallant House Gallery
I was dropped a bit of a bombshell by a friend of mine who stated, once he knew of my Paul Nash interest, that his family have an original landscape from 1944!! There is a wonderful story associated with the picture as PN was a close family friend - I think it has only been displayed once in public since it was painted.


 I have added a selection of photographs from the exhibition - the relationship PN had with Neilson fascinates me as did his many visits to her house at Madams, Upleadon, Gloucestershire. I keep finding new nuggets of interest with Paul Nash as I have only really started to appreciate his work in recent years.

 The Gallery Bookshop was just as appealing as the exhibition itself - some wonderful items, a few of which are now in my reading pile.

Joan de Vere - Chichester Cathedral
 Chichester was most splendid on many fronts - the Piper tapestry in the Cathedral and the late 1200's tomb of Joan de Vere were two of many highlights. The tomb has the earliest known example of weepers (mourners) on one side.

John Piper - Tapestry (1966), Chichester Cathedral
 Whilst lunching in the Cathedral grounds I thought I heard the "mew" more associated with birds of prey. One of the guides answered my query in that yes indeed the peregrine falcons were again nesting in one of the turrets. I must have heard the male on one of his hunting sorties. The female has nested in the same location for thirteen years, produced 42 young (21 male and 21 female) and this year a new father is on the scene. He saw off the old dad and is now master of the turret. I felt a tinge of sadness for the old dad.

The RSPB had set up an information tent and live link to the nest in the Cathedral café - so armed with more tea and a large slice of coffee walnut cake I observed the female keeping three chicks warm. What an end to the day! These three chicks have now been positively identified as all female and you can watch a live link of them in action here.

If you are lucky you can see the young being fed and I am not ashamed to say we have been pretty much glued to this over the past few days here at Straker Towers. Beats TV any day.


The Two Terriers said...

Nice one Dicky, I wish Chichester was closer to West Norfolk. Love the work that's visible on your photographs. Sounds like a wonderful day, lucky chap.


Dickie Straker said...

Thanks John, a super day indeed, the odd field trip here and there keeps the world spinning round! Have a good weekend, Dickie