Newcastle – Sept 2019 – people

Just some people I spotted on our walk around Gateshead & Newcastle.

At Venice Beach 🙂
The force is with them
Geordie Shore
02
Up
It wasn’t that bad!
Liquid Lunch
Three Hens
Walking Dudettes
Wait-ers
Party Girls
Living out of a suitcase.

All pictures embiggenable with a little click

An album of all the Newcastle pictures can be found HERE

Stay tooned for our next adventure. 🙂

Newcastle- Sept 2019 – St.Marys Cathedral

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle is a grade 1 listed building, catholic cathedral and the mother church of the Dioscese of Hexam & Newcastle and seat of the Bishop of the diocese. The cathedral was designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, an English architect, designer,artist and critic and was a pioneer of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. He designed many churches in England, Ireland and as far as Australia, but also the interior of the Palace of Westminster, and its iconic clock tower, later named the Elizabeth Tower which houses the bell known as Big Ben.

Construction of the cathedral began in 1842 and was completed by 1844 except for the spire and the tower which were added in 1872.

Sophie and I had been meaning to visit when we were in Newcastle, so this day was our chance.

View down the nave to the east window.

The East Window showing the Tree of Jesse (the genealogy of Jesus from Matthew’s gospel), showing kings and prophets of the Old Testament. The High Altar and Golden Crucifix.

The East window was designed by Pugin and made by renowned glassmaker William Wailes.

The High Altar

Blessed Sacrament Chapel screen: it bears the Latin words Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)

There are some fab stained glass windows creating some lovely light in the cathedral

Blessed Sacrament Chapel window: Jesus the Bread of Life with Seraphim

North-East industrial heritage

Lady Chapel window: Our Lady, St George and St John the Apostle

South Aisle

Ambo or lectern (originally part of the pulpit)

Looking back down the nave towards the entrance. At the top is the Organ (built by Kenneth Tickell of Northampton in 2012–13) and choir gallery.

We really loved the light and colours in the Cathedral, it is a nice blend of modern and original features, and well worth a visit.

Stay tooned for more out and about in Newcastle.

Newcastle ~September 2019 ~ Elmer edition

St.Oswalds Hospice in Newcastle cares for both adults, children and babies who have terminal illnesses.  It is a registered charitable trust, and whilst the NHS regulates it, it does not fund it. The childrens hospice has to raise over £7.5 million each year to keep its doors open and its service free to those who need it, and relies a fair bit on volunteers, (who’s equivalent salary comes to around £180 million a year, if they were paid minimum contract wages). It is well run and very well thought of by those who have been unfortunate enough to need its services.

This year the Childrens Hospice organised an art trail, to raise money for the kids unit. Based on Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, a childrens book written and illustrated by David McKee.  From 21st August to 1st November 2019 an art trail featuring individually designed elephant sculptures based on the Elmer character happens across Tyne & Wear.  50 large by recognised North East artists, and 114 little sculptures by school children. There’s an app (of course there’s an an app! 😀 ) to download the trail and at the end of the time period the elephant sculptures are auctioned off.

I had no inclination to go charging around Tyne & Wear doing the trail, but it is fun coming across them on outings, and there were a few in Newcastle when we went. I took some pictures of them 🙂

“Jumble” by Valerie Smith-Lane a tattoo artist in Newcastle.

“‘Jumble’ illustrates that no matter what, we are all made up of an assortment of things and that so many entities influence who we are. Our thoughts, behaviours and appearance are formed by our ancestors, heritage, culture, society, surroundings and people’s influences on us. Collaboration and equality can result in an outstanding outcome.”

“Are We Nelly Home” by Zoe Emma Scott a self-taught artist who specialises in painting North East landmarks.

From the left:- Pure by St Anne’s Catholic School, Gateshead. Trunk by George Washington Primary School, Washington. Reach for the Stars by St Mary’s RC Primary School, Newcastle. Everyone’s a winner by Bede Community Primary School, Gateshead.

Uno by Crookhill Community Primary School, Ryton.

“Our design was inspired by our school values of respect and equality. We encourage children to respect others and be confident in who they are – just like Elmer. We believe everyone is equal no matter what they look like and we wanted our Elmer to reflect this. Our motto is ‘Working together, we succeed,’ so everyone worked together to produce a unique design embodying self-confidence and individuality”.

Uno with Kintsugi by Roman Road Primary School, Gateshead.

“Our design was inspired by our whole school’s well-being and work on mental health. The Japanese have an old philosophy that ‘nothing is ever truly broken’. This ancient art of ‘Kintsugi’ repairs smashed pottery with gold. As people, we sometimes feel broken or in pieces but like our Elmer, with support, we can be restored.”

ORBIT by Jim Edwards

Jim Edwards is best known for his contemporary cityscape and landscape painting, capturing the iconic locations of the North East.  ‘Orbit’s’ surface is covered in the familiar patchwork of land masses that represent the planet Earth. The tiny International Space station circumnavigates the elephants body, catching the attention of Orbit, like an insect passing by his trunk.

 

Disco Wilbur by Natalie Guy

Natalie Guy is a contemporary mosaic artist using a wide range of materials including diamonds, hex nuts, jigsaw pieces and mirror tiles. Disco Wilbur is based on the Wilbur character who appears alongside Elmer in David McKee’s book series and is created using thousands of pieces of mirror tiles.

He’s my favourite of course 🙂

On the trail.

The auction raised £182,200

refs:
https://www.stoswaldsuk.org/elmer

Stay tooned for more from Newcastle.

Newcastle Upon Tyne ~ September 2019 ~ 2

Part 1 HERE

After our somewhat disappointing ‘tour’ around All Saints, Sophie and I went off to find an interesting building Sophie had spotted from a train. According to Sophie it wasn’t too far away, so we left All Saints and headed down to the quayside.

All Saints church from the quayside.

We walked down the quayside and I was amused to see that a temporary beach had been set up for summer.

The Quayside Seaside. And Elmer.

You may notice an elephant in the middle of the picture, this is something that happens every year in the North East, and will have a post of it’s own next time.  In the mean time, back to our quest for the Oriental roofed building. We came across a few interesting bits and pieces along the way.

“As I came thro’ Sandgate, I heard a lassie sing ,O, weel may the keel row, that my laddie’s in.”

The Keel Row is a traditional Tyneside folk song evoking the life and work of the keelmen of Newcastle upon Tyne. The opening lines of the song set it in Sandgate, that part of the quayside overlooking the River Tyne to the east of the city centre where the keelmen lived and which is still overlooked by the Keelmen’s Hospital. The Keelmen of Tyne and Wear were a group of men who worked on the keels, large boats that carried the coal from the banks of both rivers to the waiting collier ships.

Keelmans Hospital

In 1699 the keelmen of Newcastle decided to build the Keelmen’s Hospital, a charitable foundation for sick and aged keelmen and their families. The keelmen agreed to contribute one penny a tide from the wages of each keel’s crew and Newcastle Corporation made land available in Sandgate. The hospital was completed in 1701 at a cost of £2,000. It consisted of fifty chambers giving onto a cloister enclosing a grass court. One matter of contention relating to the hospital was that the funds for its maintenance were kept in the control of the Hostmen, ( a cartel of businessmen who formed a monopoly to control the export of coal from the River Tyne) lest they be used as a strike fund by the keelmen. Nothing really changes does it? The hospital building still remains in City Road, and was used for student accommodation until recently. The building is now on the Heritage at Risk register. It has stood vacant since the closure of the student accommodation, and was added to the register in 2009.

River Siren by Andre Wallace

After the decline of Newcastle as an industrial centre, in recent times this area of the river bank known as the Quayside and more specifically Sandgate at this point underwent a major redevelopment project. As part of this the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation funded a number of pieces of sculpture and public art including this one. Taking the theme from the sea and rivers the statue is of a female siren, who famously lured sailors away from their intended course. (Because of course statues make up for the loss of industry and jobs).

The Barley Mow

Just before we got to City Road we came across this derelict building.  Once a pub, the Barley Mow and then the Frog and Firkin it has lain empty since 2010, and has been hit by arson twice in the intervening years.

We kept walking along City Road, expecting Sophies building to appear around the corner, but as we got to Ouseburn there was still no sign of it! On we went.

Ouseburn Mission / residential flats.

A Former Wesleyan Mission House dating to 1867, it’s been converted into flats but retains much of its architectural integrity. The plaque on it’s wall relates to Gladstone Adams (1880 1896). Born just around the corner from the mission he attended Gosforth Academy. Adams served an apprenticeship in Tynemouth with photographer William Auty and opened his own studio in 1904. In April 1908, he drove down to Crystal Palace Park in a 1904 Darracq-Charron motorcar to see Newcastle United play against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup final. It was such a novelty to see a car in those days that it was put into a car showroom window while he was there, because so many people wanted to see it. On the way back from the cup final, snow kept getting on the windscreen and Gladstone had to keep getting out of the car to clear it. This experience led to his invention of the windscreen wiper. In April 1911, Gladstone patented the design of a windscreen wiper with Sloan & Lloyd Barnes, patent agents of Liverpool. Gladstone’s version of the windscreen wiper was never manufactured, however. His original prototype can be seen in Newcastle’s Discovery Museum. In World War I, Adams served in the Royal Flying Corps, the forerunner of the RAF, as a photograph reconnaissance officer. One of his duties was to prove the death and then arrange the burial of Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the ‘Red Baron’, after he had been shot down and killed.

The Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company / Hotel du Vin

Four companies came together in 1904 to form the Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company. These were: The Tyne Steam Shipping Co. Ltd, The Tees Union Steamship Co. Ltd, The Free Trade Wharf Co. Ltd and Furness Withy & Co. Ltd. The Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company provided shipping services in the United Kingdom from 1904 to 1943. Two of their ships were sunk – one by torpedo in 1917 with the loss of 8 crew members and another hit a mine in 1915 with a loss of 2 of the crew.  According to the Hotel du Vin website the building has now been converted into “42 timelessly styled bedrooms, trademark bistro, intriguing Laroche tasting room, two stunning private dining rooms, Bubble bar, courtyard for alfresco dining and an outstanding wine cellar”.  A bit of posh then.

The Malings

Looking over from City Road you can see The Malings, a residential development by the architects Ash Sakula on the banks of the river Ouseburn. Named after the Malings Pottery dating back to 1817, the scheme comprises 76 low energy and eco-friendly homes, with commercial units for local business and community uses. It was named “Supreme Winner” at the 2016 Housing Design Awards.

The Simpsons

You can see this graffiti on the other side of the road behind The Malings on the yet-to-be-developed-site.

Sailers Bethel / SLR Consulting

At the junction of City Road an Horatio Street, you can see the Sailers Bethel which was opened on the 12th of April 1877. Designed by the architect Thomas Oliver Junior it cost £2000 to build. This building has been used as a nonconformist chapel, a community centre, a Danish seamen’s church and now, finally, offices. The word Bethel is hebrew for House of God. In the 1800’s a lot of trade between Newcastle and Denmark occurred, resulting in cargoes of fresh meat, eggs and butter, which all arrived at the mouth of the Ouseburn river. The Bethel was where the Danish sailors stayed overnight whilst their cargo was unloaded.

It was quite a long walk to get there but eventually Sophies building appeared in front of us, easily spotted by it’s weird rooftops, which Sophie had thought of oriental design, so we were not sure what kind of building it was.

AT LAST!! Ouseburn School / Newcastle Enterprise Centre

The rather flamboyant Ouseburn School on Albion Road, facing City Road was built in 1891-93 at the considerable cost of £17,000. The listed school closed in 1977 and lay empty for years until it was converted into a business development centre, providing 50 offices and workshops. Designed by F W Rich  in 1893  it is characterised by Dutch type gables, decorative moulded brickwork and pagoda-style turrets in the style of those found on Burmese Temples. It’s rumoured that industrial giants, Armstrong and Vickers, gave hefty donations towards the building as they were trying to impress the Japanese Navy who visited Tyneside with a view to buying battleships with steam generators. Hence the pagodas.

Mission accomplished and we turned back to the quayside and the centre of Newcastle. Stay tooned for part 3 when we’ll look at the elephants of Newcastle.

reference sites:-
http://www.wikipedia.com
http://www.waymarking.com
http://www.brinkburnbrewery.co.uk
http://www.thejournal.co.uk
http://www.co-curate.ncl.ac.uk
http://www.newcastlephotos.blogspot.com

all pictures by me and embiggenable with a click!

Newcastle Upon Tyne ~ September 2019 ~ 1

We actually had a sunny day back in September last year, and Sophie wanted to go to an open day at All Saints Church in Newcastle. So off we went on the metro, but before we get to the pictures, we must do

The History Bit.

The current All Saints Church stands on the site of a previous medieval church called All Hallows, founded between 1150 and 1190. It is the only elliptical church building in England, a Grade 1 listed building, and the third tallest religious building in Newcastle.  The original church was pulled down at the end of the 18th century after architects had reviewed the old church and found “That this decayed building cannot be repaired but at as much expense as building a new one. If one part is taken down the rest will follow. The south wall was in danger of falling by the pressure of the roof; one of the pillars of the steeple had considerably shrunk, and the steeple itself inclined to the south. The stone of the groined arches under the bells was decayed, the timber and bells in great danger of falling in, the stone in several windows decayed, the walls were rotten, and the lime had lost its cement and become almost dust”.  David Stephenson, a renowned North East architect designed the new building, and after a couple of adaptations, the new building was completed in 1796, having cost £27,000.  Unfortunately in demolishing the old church most of its old monuments, windows, and other interesting relics were not preserved; they either perished or were carried away during the operations.  

Interesting factoid (1):- During the Civil Wars (1642–1651) when the Scots captured Newcastle, they commenced, in their fanatical zeal against Popery, to deface the religious monuments. They began at ST.Johns church and destroyed the font there, as fonts tend to be the first thing you come across in a church, and on seeing this, Cuthbert Maxwell a stonemason of Newcastle, got to both All Saints, and St.Nicholas and hid both the fonts before the Scots could get to them, replacing them after The Restoration. The one in St Nicholas is still there, but when the old All Saints Church was demolished the font there was given to given to Alderman Hugh Hornby, an enthusiastic collector of antiquities. It is now housed in St.Wilfreds church in Keilder. Will be going to photograph that at some point I think.

In January 1802, a 30 yard section of the churchyard wall collapsed. Coffins and their contents fell into Silver Street. Repairs to the wall and a nearby house cost £249, 12s and 1d (just over £8000). The church went through restorations in 1881, and remained a church until 1961, when it was deconsecrated.

Interesting factoid (2):-  In July 1854, John Alderson, the Beadle of the church, was found guilty of opening graves and stealing the lead from the coffins. According to the Newcastle Guardian and Tyne Mercury, Alderson broke open “no less than five vaults”, reporting that “nine leaden coffins enclosing shells in which dead bodies were deposited had been forcibly removed”. Alderson, along with his wife and mother, faced 18 months imprisonment. His bell-ringer and accomplice, Hewison Marshall, received 12 months. Alderson became known as “Jack, the bad Beadle”. (thanks to Icy Sedgewick)

In 1983-84 it was turned into offices/auditorium as the Town Teacher initiative. Following that, it was used by the Royal Northern Sinfonia before their move to The Sage, Gateshead in 2004. The Church of Saint Willibrord with All Saints used it for a while and it has also hosted musical events. Over the winters of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 flood damage was caused by blocked roof drains leaving the building in a state of semi-disrepair. In 2015 it was placed on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register. In 2019, the local congregation of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales signed a 150-year lease for All Saints. After a comprehensive restoration project, worship services as All Saints Presbyterian Church began in October, 2019.

When we arrived at the heritage open day in September we were, or at least Sophie was,  thinking we would see the restoration complete, and would have a tour of the whole place. But it didn’t happen that way. We got there and waited for the first group to be taken round, and then a gentleman gathered those of us waiting our turn and off we went. The outside of the building had a lot of scaffolding and fencing around it, not very photogenic so I took a picture of this couple waiting with us instead

Inappropriate shoes!!

and the young church people helping out.

Sensible shoes!

Inside we stood in the main auditorium and were talked to by one of the Presbyterian people about what they were doing. I took some pictures of the interior.

Think there’s an altar table under the cloth.

Marble floor tiles being laid.

Tantalising glimpse of the upstairs and lovely woodwork at the rear exit.

Next group being talked to.

And that was that. Had the talk, walked through the lower part and shown out the rear exit. Quite disappointing really. It must be all finished now as they started doing services the following month.

refs:-
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints%27_Church,_Newcastle_upon_Tyne
http://www.icysedgwick.com/all-saints/
https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/newcastle-historical-account/pp302-322

So onwards ever onwards, Sophie had spotted an interesting building roof whilst travelling on a train at some point and we went off to find it, it couldn’t be far she thought. We’ll pause here, but stay tooned for our intrepid travels through Newcastle next time.

A Geordie – China connection.

After our washed out morning at Dunston Staiths,we crossed the River and went to visit St.Johns Cemetary. We came across some Chinese tombstones, not a usual find when we’re traipsing through graveyards. So I did a little research…..

Back we go to the late 1800’s and to the later part of the Qing dynasty, which, as I’m sure you all know, was presided over by the Empress Dowager Cixi, a formidable and capable lady who had a fascinating life, having started out as a lowly concubine, but ending up as head Missis to the Emperor.  The Chinese had four modernized navies during this period, and the Beiyang Fleet dated back to 1871, when four ships from the southern provinces were shifted north to patrol the northern waters. Initially considered to be the weakest of the four navies, that all changed when one of the most trusted vassals of the Empress, a chap named Li Hongzhang, decided to allot  the majority of naval funds to the Beiyang Fleet thereby making it the largest of China’s  navies.

What has all this got to do with Newcastle I hear you ask, so I shall tell you. You may remember my visit to Cragside last year, which was built by the engineer William Armstrong. You can read about him on that post HERE for it was he who had built a shipyard at Elswick in Newcastle, on the River Tyne, and Li Hongzhang populated his new navy with ships from Germany and Britain. Two of these were built at the Elswick yard, steel protected cruisers, fast and with big guns, the Zhiyuan, and the Jingyuan.

The Elswick Shipyard Mid 1890’s.

Zhiyuan

Jingyuan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A delegation was sent to Newcastle from the Beiyang Navy.  Sadly, 5 of the sailors died of an unspecified illness, whilst waiting to sail the ships back to their base in China. Yuan Peifu, Gu Shizhong, Lian Jinyuan, Chen Shoufu and Chen Chengkui.  They were buried in St Johns Cemetery in Elswick, and over the past 100 years or so their tombstones had deteriorated, collapsed, and sunk into the ground.

Crew of the Zhiyuan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2016 a student from the Royal College of Art in London posted photos of the cracked tombstones online and quickly attracted the attention of the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation, a nonprofit organization. The president of the foundation, Li Xiaojie launched a global crowdfunding thingy and raised the money to pay for the tombstones to be restored.

Zhang Rong was the engineer sent by the Foundation to fix the tombs. He flew to Newcastle and met with the council to have a conflab on how to go about it. “We went through each item line by line, trying to find common ground and iron out any differences,” Zhang said. “It was worth the time because we learned so much during the process, especially about improving our standards.” In China, repairing tombstones is quite basic, glue the pieces back together, whereas in Britain, you also have to insert steel rods to make sure they keep standing and don’t fall over on top of people.

Together with Joseph Richmond & Son Memorials, Zhang and his team completed the restoration of the tombstones in December 2018. The graves were originally purchased by the Chinese Government for £5 each, (equivalent to £5000 nowadays).  The Chinese didn’t have much foreign cash at the time, and this would have been a great sacrifice for them.

The rededication ceremony was in June 2019, with Chinese and Newcastlese dignitaries and the like all saying nice things about each other, which is kind of sweet.

“The five sailors can rest peacefully knowing that even after all these years, people back home still care about them. This is a project full of human warmth and love.”  said Li Xiaojie.

When China take over the world we up here will be alright I think 😊

Refs:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beiyang_Fleet
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2017-02/06/content_28118091.htm
http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-06/14/c_138144321.htm
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/china-watch/culture/chinese-graves-restored-in-newcastle/

Dunston Staiths – July 2019

On a wet day in July Sophie and I went to the outdoor market held once a month on Dunston Staiths.

 

The History Bit 

The Staiths are believed to be the largest timber structure in Europe, maybe the world, but who knows?  It is also a Grade II listed scheduled monument and is owned by registered charity Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust (TWBPT).  The structure is made of North American pitch pine timber, no longer available, from the once unlimited forest. Most of the timber used was 20 metres long, 14 inches deep and 14 inches wide. The total weight of timber is 3,200 tons. The Staithes are 526 metres long with 4 railway tracks, 6 loading berths (3 on each side), with two chutes to each berth.

The North East Railway Company opened the Staiths in 1893, and it’s purpose was to facilitate the loading of large quantities of coal from the Durham coal fields onto the waiting coal ships, (known as colliers) which then transported the coal to London and abroad.  At it’s peak, the coal industry  moved 5.5 million tons of coal each year from the staiths. Waggonways were used to transport the coal from the North Durham coal-fields, of which there were quite a few. The coal waggons were pushed by steam engines up the gradient, to the Staithes. It was a very skilled job to shunt the wagons onto the Staithes, as the driver worked “blind” from behind, and had to make sure they were on the right track. The men had their own signals, maybe a touch of a cap, or some other gesture, but there was nothing written down, so the driver had to depend on them. If he didn’t gauge the end of the track just right, the trucks could fall over the edge.

Once on the Staithes, and at the berths, the “teamers” and “trimmers” were waiting in the colliers to level the coal, as it came down the chutes, to keep the ship level. The empty wagons rolled back to the Railway siding by gravity. It was not a pleasant place to work, as it was noisy, oily and very, very, dirty. There were occasionally some very serious accidents, because of the poor lighting. They worked by candlelight until electricity arrived in 1930. Some of the men lost their limbs, some were crushed between the ship and the Staithes, however,  it was still considered a privilege to work there. Trimmer’s and teamer’s jobs were nearly always handed down from father to son, or some-one in the family. They were the “elite” of the Staithes, very well paid, as in 1930 they earned around £8 to £10 per week, I don’t think anyone knew how much they really earned, (not even the Tax Man).

Interesting factoid:- In 1912, a dug-out canoe was found at the West Dunston Staiths, it dated back to Neolithic times, (New Stone Age circa 5000 BC). Not sure where that ended up.

The coal industry declined at the end of the 19th century, and so too did the staiths, no longer needed, it fell into disrepair. In 1990 though, the Newcastle Garden Festival was held and extensive restoration work carried out, with the Staiths taking a leading role as a key installation with performance space and an art gallery.  But then a fire broke out in 2003 damaging the Staiths extensively, and it was put on English Heritages ‘at risk’ list. It has been subject to a few arson attacks too sadly.  Somehow the TWBPT raised the funds to recommence the restoration, which is still ongoing, and the Staiths is once more a visitor attracton, with a Saturday Market open once a month on a Saturday, which is when we visited.

So on with the show!

Firstly, on the menu..

who doesn’t love a Carpathian sausage?? 🙂

Not the biggest market really

Wine tasting always welcome!

Father and son disunion

The structure is quite amazing

We went topside to see what the view was like. Looking back towards Newcastle the fire damage was evident and that part was cordoned off.

Fire in the hole

Looking the other way, a sea fret was rolling up the river

It passed over, we got wet and then we got a better view.

It was a good spot for people watching

Mr.Text

Mrs Smile + 1

and it was a perfect day for umbrellas

Leopard print and bubble style

Spotty dotty

3 + hoody

We didn’t stay very long as the weather just kept getting worse, but did go and visit St James Cemetary nearby in the afternoon, which has some interesting gravestones. So stay tooned for that 🙂

all pictures by moi and you can embiggen them with a click.

Some more fascinating images of it  HERE   🙂

refs: http://www.dunstonstaiths.org.uk/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunston,_Tyne_and_Wear

The Art of Newcastle_ Part 5 ~ The Laing

The Laing Art Gallery was founded in 1901 by a Newcastle Businessman, Alexander Laing, who’d made a fortune from his wine and spirit shop and beer bottling business. And that was that. He didn’t put any paintings or other artworks into it and said he was confident “…that by the liberality of the inhabitants {of Newcastle} it would soon be supplied with pictures and statuary for the encouragement and development of British Art”.

And so it was. It is now home to an internationally important collection of art focusing on British oil painting watercolours, ceramics, silver, and glassware.  As well as regularly changing exhibitions of historic, modern and contemporary art.  The ground floor is home to the Northern Spirit gallery which displays outstanding artwork and objects produced locally by people including Thomas Bewick, Ralph Hedley, and John Martin. You can also see Newcastle silver, glass and ceramics on show. Also on the ground floor is a beautiful Marble Hall, which is occupied by artworks by Henry Moore and Turner Prize nominee Paul Noble.

Upstairs is the 18th and 19th-century display, including internationally important paintings by John Martin, Paul Gauguin, and Burne-Jones. This is also where William Holman-Hunt’s pre-Raphaelite masterpiece Isabella and the Pot of Basil is displayed.

The exhibitions you pay to get in, but the rest is free. They had a photography exhibition the day we went which was exciting to us for 1 minute until we saw it was ‘celebrities in the nude’. As the advertising image for the exhibition was of Mick Jagger, we decided not to. I know, we should have, but really, I don’t want to see old men’s dangly bits for free, let alone pay to do so!

Anyway, on with some works of art, some of which I can tell you the artist name and some I can’t!

This one appealed to me, I loved the TV Ariel and how the iron is steaming away whilst she’s either picking up beads or making a pattern with them (not sure).

The Ruins of a Northumbrian Keep by Charles Napier Hemy (1841-1917)

I can’t remember who did it, and I couldn’t get a decent shot of it, but I really loved this cat

This wood carving thingy was just amazing

A ginormous panorama of Tyne Docks covered one wall

The Bard, by John Martin (1789-1894) was gorgeous close-up, if you’re on a mobile then you won’t really see the great details, but for those on a PC give it a click.

Inspired by a poem, with the same name, written by Thomas Gray in 1755. In the poem, Gray narrates the story of King Edward I of England and his conquest of Wales in the late 13th century. Following his victory over the Welsh Edward decided that all the bards, the professional poets, could be dangerous if they were allowed to spread the story of the bygone power of the Welsh people as this may incite the defeated Welsh to rise up against their English masters. Edward ordered the Bards to be slaughtered and the painting depicts the fate of the last surviving bard who has been chased by Edward’s troops and who has climbed a precipice above a swirling river. He stands aloft cursing the English troops, who have left their castle, and are in pursuit of their quarry. The castle, based on the one at Harlech, we see perched on rocks in the left middle-ground. In the left foreground, we see Edward’s riders with banners unfurled as they rush along the valley side like a swarm of ants. On the top of the cliff on the opposite side of the fast flowing river, we observe the bard, cursing his pursuers before throwing himself off the ledge and plunging to his death.

Isabella and the Pot of Basil. A strange tale, but lovely painting.

Isabella and the Pot of Basil is a painting completed in 1868 by William Holman Hunt depicting a scene from John Keats’s poem Isabella, or the Pot of Basil. It depicts the heroine Isabella caressing the basil pot in which she had buried the severed head of her murdered lover Lorenzo. Hunt had drawn an illustration to the poem in 1848, shortly after the foundation of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but he had not developed it into a completed painting.  Hunt returned to the poem in 1866, shortly after his marriage, when he began to paint several erotically charged subjects. His sensuous painting Il Dolce Far Niente had sold quickly, and he conceived the idea for a new work depicting Isabella. Having traveled with his pregnant wife Fanny to Italy, Hunt began work on the painting in Florence. However, after giving birth, Fanny died from fever in December 1866. Hunt turned the painting into a memorial to his wife, using her features for Isabella. He worked on it steadily in the months after her death, returning to England in 1867, and finally completing it in January 1868.

I also really liked Love in Idleness by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912)

Love in Idleness is an old name for the pansy flower. The artist is suggesting that the young women in the portrait are as beautiful as flowers. He also links loveliness to love. Roses, which are symbols of love, carry on the theme. Alma-Tadema’s paintings of beautiful young women in convincing Roman-style settings were very popular in the late-19th century. The realistic detail of his pictures was based on Roman wall paintings and sculpture. He saw Roman works of art in 1863 during visits to the ruined cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii in Italy.

The Laing has a very nice cafe

And we’ll finish up with some very strange but quirky and fascinating wallpaper in the hallway.

and that’s the end of our hunt for art!

All pictures are clickembiggenable,

and a full album can be found HERE

The Art of Newcastle ~Jan 2019 ~ part 4

After lunch in the Biscuit Factorywe went off to see the Laing Art Gallery. On the way, we came across a little church hall

and as you can see from the sign on the right (which I completely missed in the photo!) had an art exhibition. Well, we came for art, so decided to do a detour and see what was going on. It turned out to be a one-woman exhibition by one of the church’s congregation.

and this was the artist

Sarah Ann Davies

Her arty bits were interesting, with lots of cut and folded canvasses

but I don’t think I’d have them on my wall. The artist lady was very nice and chatty so we wished her luck and went on our merry way.

We spotted a Lutheran Church for German-speaking Geordies

and back by the blue student accommodation, this time sneaking a peek in the windows

rainbow girl

There are a couple of furniture shops in the area.

😳 imagine waking up to all this bling!!!

Beds for children of insane parents. 🙂

Newcastle has its own version of Boris Bikes

and plenty of cafes

Channeling J.K.Rowling?

We went back over the flyover and spotted a breakdown

Not the best place to park.

and we peeked through the bars of the graffiti building corridor which is my featured image at the top of the post.

Wasted

The New Bridge Hotel nearby. Probably not a 4 star 🙂

Grim up north.

and then we got to the Laing gallery, but that can wait for the next post, so stay tooned for that!