Sunday, 9 October 2011

Three months of Roman light in one image...

Many thanks to Justin Quinnell who gave me one of his three month cameras which I attached to the mezzanine in my studio at the beginning of April on my first morning in Rome.

Here it is in-situ......

 ...And there it stayed, until the end of June...

This is the result 

Three months of beautiful Roman light in a funny old beercan...

Justin opened the can, processed the contents and sent me the final image this morning.

If you are in Brighton on Tuesday 11th October, I will be in-conversation with John Gill to talk about the Fellowship and the new work I made at the British School at Rome. It would be lovely to see you there.  For details and further information, please click here.

Monday, 1 August 2011


I got back a month ago and doesn't it all feel such a long time ago now?

Of course, the minute we touched down not only did the control tower at Gatwick get struck by lightening but the heavens opened and there was absolutely no doubt that we were indeed in England..

Amazing how everyday events conspire to take over...My not blogging these last few weeks could be viewed that I was actually still in Rome (oh how I wish..) rather than the reality of my horrendous trawl through loads of stuff which was laying in wait for my return..

The BSR during that last week had a strange air of finality around it, as everyone artists and scholars alike were busy packing and tidying up studios and rooms.

Knowing that there was still so much that I hadn't seen or experienced, I felt that rather than racing around Rome, blindly ticking things off my list; I keep the list for next time (there will be a next time - I am determined!!) Instead, I did the things which I would have kicked myself for not doing, the day before I left...

The Museum of Modern Art (it was next door, for heaven's sake!)
Throwing a coin into the Trevi fountain
Riding on the number 19 Tram

It's the very simple, everyday things which I am missing now:

A decent cup of coffee
Saying 'Buongiorno!' to all you meet - you cannot do it properly without smiling
The view as you open the door from the top of the steps of the BSR

The blossom in the streets

Going up onto the roof and listening out for the bells on a Sunday evening, starting at 6.45pm with St Peter's bonging and then all the others radiating out over the city

The cake and gelati displays in the shops

Walking through the streets

But what I am missing most of all are my friends - the staff, artists and scholars of the BSR..

Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Cult of F and the Camera Segrete

You are probably wondering why you haven't heard from me for the last fortnight or so? As well you might!

I finally managed to escape from the clutches of the henchwomen of the C of F after I had inadvertently bearded them in their lair, the Camera Segrete on the 40's corridor..

Having worked out that it was far too obvious to advertise their headquarters with a number like the ides (15 to the rest of you) I had been doing quite a bit of detective work and realised that there had been a trail of clues all along..

I must admit, I was a bit surprised that a tertiary research institution such as the BSR would actually have plastic citrus and fake bananas decorating its corridors..

...and I was intrigued by the tree collection around the corner..

I decided to enlist the help once again of St Anthony - I discovered that he had been sending me strong signals for ages, which I hadn't been noticing.

I found this picture hanging right bang next to a door with a strange sign on it...

(Just how has St Anthony been communicating with me these last three months.....?

And what exactly is in the middle of this painting????)

And here is the sign hanging on the door next to the umbrella picture

notice the pink nun's feet...(another clue!)

Anyway just as I was taking note of all this - the door swung open and the High Priestess grabbed me then and there and I was dragged inside...

it was terrifying.

The room looked like an ordinary linen room..

...but I soon found out that it hid a terrible secret

We haven't seen very much of David Beckham of late, have we?

I know why.

Or Johnny Depp..

(You'll notice that there is quite a lot of camera shake in that image - the reason being that poor Johhny was utterly terrified at the time and made the picture go all blurry...)

I kept hearing strange sounds - like muffled screams - coming from the wall by the window..

I looked up to see these hands where the sounds were coming from..

they looked deceptively like advertisements for expensive watches but they were in fact, David and Johnny calling desperately for help.

I of course, was powerless to do anything as I was by this time bound, gagged and slung in the corner of the room. It didn't take long for me to understand just exactly what was going on...

Very deep ancient roman magic - that's what!

Before my very eyes I watched as Johnny and David were metamorphosed..


The walls were plastered with kittens, puppies and bunnies

There was one wall with a few gaps on it...

I realised quickly just what my fate might be - it didn't help that they were feeding me on these strange little round brown biscuits and weird substances out of tins..

I got worried as the longer I remained captive the nicer the food became...On looking down at my feet, I got a bit of a surprise...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Collaboration with St Anthony IV

I rather thought that St Anthony had given up on our collaboration but I just wasn't noticing properly..I expect my mind was elsewhere for a while, finishing work off etc.

Anyway, I got a little nudge recently when I almost fell over this

not only was it perfectly positioned along the single yellow line but it was totally incongruous, being seafaring footware bang smack in the middle of Rome (where believe me, no-one would be seen dead wearing such an article!)

I immediately knew that St Ant was back...I began to look out for other signs

I didn't feel I could add much to either of these as it was doubtful that even if they were reunited with their owners - who would want them?

St Anthony has been finding me all sorts of odd things recently though

(he does seem to have a thing about road signage at the moment..)

These are no good without their sides (or lenses)...

I'm not sure what I can do with any of these - apart from just take notice of them...

Right now, I'm packing (which I really hate) and over the next two (last) days I must think of something to do with the items he found for me here at the BSR - already my umbrellas have multiplied

And this is the last sock - found today...

Sock grotto..

..had to be done really...(umbrella one tomorrow..)

Friday, 24 June 2011

So little time...So much gelato...

Well, it has been busy this last couple of weeks which is why it's been a bit quiet on the blog front and then I got laid low for a few days with what turns out was probably heat stroke! I wouldn't wish it on anyone - the only way to be, was horizontal and I'm not going to say any more than that. Everyone here was so kind, supplying me with flat coke, painkillers and crackers..

Last week was rather special as we went on a day trip to Caprarola to the Farnese Summer Palace..

I had to get this picture from the website..The palace is on the top of a hill in the north of the Lazio Region which Rome is part of. This is the view across from it..

The day had a lovely end of term kind of air to it; the Mostra was up, most of the Scholars had presented their papers and just us all heading off into the countryside in a coach was enough to get me searching for my packed lunch (even though I knew we had a wonderful lunch ahead of us in a splendid lakeside restaurant nearby)..I was amazed that no-one started singing!

I know if I was doing this properly, I would have all the information to hand about the Farnese dynasty and the architects etc but there are other sites where you can find all that stuff out. Here are some images in the order of going through the building, beginning with the staircase up to the formal rooms. This is a small selection of my response visually to it. You will see for yourselves how fabulous the place is and just how staggeringly wealthy the family was...

This grotto was in this first room

Some more views of the frescoes and the view out over the town...

Each room got more and more spectacular

Kevin and Cordelia marvelling at this little ante room..

The whole place had you gasping until this one, for me, the piece de resistance...(hmm I ought to have done that in Italian..)

After this was the garden!

I felt as though I had wandered into a Peter Greenaway film..

Afterwards we all had a splendid lunch by a lake..

It was a fabulous treat after all the stresses of preparing work for presentation of all kinds as well as wonderful to be away from the city and the quite oppressive heat..

Now that we are counting the days, my weekend rule has rather slipped and I have been busy trying out gelato all over the place. Favourites so far: Raspberry with sage (delicious), Fig with ricotta and almond (yummy), Cassata (I know it's old fashioned but you can't beat a good one) and I have noticed Licorice, I haven't plucked up the courage to try that one yet - the gelateria of that flavour is rather posh and covers the ice cream up with lids; we were debating what colour it would be - I think it has to be black..I'll let you know...

Sadly my ice cream research all took a nosedive this week (when I got poorly) but I mean to make up for it on my last 3 days...

Some of us (mentioning no names) are almost mainlining ice cream

This was his second!!

We made him walk home..