Thursday, 8 January 2015

Russell Coates


It's been a sunny day today. Our winter break is nearly over, and it's back to work on Monday, but today we headed to see a dear old friend of mine.

If you walk up towards the east cliff from Bournemouth Pier, a little treasure will appear before you.


My old friend, the Russell Coates Art Gallery & Museum, is tucked away at the top of the long uphill path, and is somewhere that I've visited since I was less than ten years old.


I would walk the mile and a half along the beach from Boscombe, where, accompanied by friends or my brother, I would lose myself in mystery and imagination, as we explored the various rooms in this extraordinary Victorian house.

This time we were greeted by some exquisite piano music being played in the central auditorium, and the sound permeated throughout the place.

video
                                             
The statues have always watched me as I walk from room to room.


And 'Jezebel' has portrayed a life in an exotic land far off. She's more respectable now, as x-rays show that she was indeed once naked, a copy available to see nearby!


There have always been cabinets and cabinets full of artifacts collected by the owners, a husband and wife so in love that the house was built as a birthday gift for his wife, with the intention that they would travel the world together, and fill it with all that they found beautiful together, and collected.


Displays have changed over the last 43 years, and there is now a modern gallery and cafe built on to the side of the original building, but the house remains unchanged in itself, which is quite something given the way in which our seaside town is changing.


A different thing around every corner.


As I took the film below, an elderly gentleman excitedly whispered to Amanda how wonderful the place was. He had never been before, and quickly hurried off to one of the other rooms in search of his own adventure, muttering 'marvellous' as he went.

video

I've always liked this painting, and like to think that the red umbrella belongs to the old lady. Maybe it was a gift from her husband, now long gone, that always brings her peace when opened, and reminds her with happiness when they would both shelter under it?



'The Butterfly' by Luis Ricardo Falero was the first ever painting to capture my imagination. The inspiration that's led me to many of the most famous galleries in the world, it's still my favourite picture, to the extent that I have a copy on my bedside table. Strange how it also has a garden like theme as well.



The ceilings in the house are all painted with exotic scenes and images, the walls adorned with heavily textured and coloured wallpaper, and most of the windows are stained glass. I would spend hours here as a child, a young boy, a teenager, a young man, and now a man about to become 54.


And once again I had been spellbound, and taken away to another world. But now I had to leave once more, to return how many more times? How ever many, it is never enough.


My birthday is on Saturday, and tomorrow we leave for three days of hiking on Dartmoor to celebrate. A strange way perhaps? Not when I tell you why on our return.

20 comments:

  1. It is a remarkable treasure. The two had a great life of adventure and one can visit them by walking from room to room. The house is remarkable. siting on the hill overlooking the water.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Larry,
      It is a gem. There is so much development going on in Bournemouth in the name of 'improvement', and so I truly hope that this beautiful house will survive. It keeps going on private donations, even though the couple bequeathed it to the people of the town.

      Delete
  2. A birthday hike sounds fabulous to me. Enjoy your weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leaving in about 90 mins Val. It's going to be good whatever the weather.

      Delete
  3. Gary,
    I love the way you take pleasure from things

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John,
      Pleasure is all around us. We just have to see it, and grasp it in whatever way we can. Your London trip looked right up my street by the way.

      Delete
  4. Yes, I could spend a lot of time in this place. It's fabulous that somebody had the foresight to put all of this together.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was certainly a man who loved his wife Red.

      Delete
  5. It must be a very interesting place to visit.
    I hope you have a good birthday. All the best for the next 12 months.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Alain, it is a hidden gem. Thanks for the wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  7. i would like to wander that house!

    have a wonderful birthday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kylie,
      I think you would like it.

      Delete
  8. What a delightful place that would be to visit. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos.

    Have a wonderful 54th bday celebration.

    FlowerLady

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good evening Lorraine,
      The museum is a very special place. I hope all is well with you. I loved that stone by the way!

      Delete
  9. A lovely tour around a wonderful place!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello Kirsty, you got my email then?
    The book is excellent so far, and I have a roaring log fire to accompany it. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I hope you had a wonderful birthday weekend, Gary and thank you for the peep around the gallery. It has been on our to see list for several years, whenever we visit Bournemouth to see our younger daughter, As yet we have failed to visit because we are always so busy on family catch-up but this post has firmed my resolve to visit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning Rosemary,
      It was fabulous thank you. We are back to work this week with a bang. The price of a holiday I guess. When you are next in Bournemouth, you simply must put a couple of hours aside for the museum.

      Delete
  12. Loved the piano playing along. Very, very nice.thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The music really added another depth to the place. Thanks for dropping by Gina.

      Delete