Clare In The Cheap Seats

Follow Me Around The World Of Art

Rouen & Vernon

The last two days have been spent in the nearby town of Rouen and the town in which we are staying, Vernon.

Rouen is famous for its Cathedral, which was painting over 20 times by Claude Monet and Joan of Arc, she was tried, convicted and executed in Rouen.  We spent just over 4 hours here and visited the Musee des Beaux Arts de Rouen (Fine Art Museum of Rouen), the Cathedral and then strolled the streets with their half timbered houses.

More photos of Rouen can be found here and here

We are staying in Vernon and today we went for a walk around the small town to take in the few sights and visit the small museum.

One of the main attractions in Vernon is the Old Mill House by the River Seine.  In 1947 the owner of the house passed away and despite attempts no heir could be found.  The house fell into disrepair and was only saved when the Town Hall intervened.  Whilst it is not open to visit the view from outside is still stunning.  This too, like Rouen Cathedral, was a favourite of Monet.

From here we continued to the AG Poulain Museum that houses a small collection of Monet, his Wife and other painters.

The rest of my photos from the Gallery and from around Vernon can be found here

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Monet’s House & Garden In Giverny

I have finally made it to Giverny and the home of Claude Monet.  Entrance fee for the House, Garden and Impressionist Museum was €15.50.

Thankfully the weather was on its best behaviour as rain had been forecast in the days before.  We arrived around 11.30 and the wait to enter the gardens was less than 5 minutes.  With it being later in the season there were not coaches packed with visitors on day trips from Paris etc and we were able to walk around the gardens with plenty of room for all.  There are rows of flowers that stretch from the House all the way down to the boundary of the grounds.  You are able to walk in between most of these rows though so areas are cordoned off.  There are plenty of benches dotted around for you to have a rest and admire the view.

The house itself is very neat and tidy and one room has been decorated with around 60 replica works of Monet.  There are maps available in the room for information.  The upstairs bedrooms give you a lovely overview of the garden and I could imagine the sight that greeted Monet every morning.  The Japanese Garden is accessed via an underpass near the Group Entrance.  This is of course the Water-Lily Pond and the Japanese Bridge that is world famous.  Once again, the sight was beautiful.  I am so glad we visited at this time, whilst there were people around you could easily take photos etc and there was no scrum to get your photos taken on the Bridge.  For me the most impressive part of the garden were the Weeping Willows, they were just so beautiful and for me made the whole Water-Lily Pond more stunning.

As with most places I visit (when allowed) I took plenty of photographs to show you.  As you will see from my Flickr account I do not know the name of some of the flowers.  If you do please leave a comment, either on Flickr or here and I will update the photograph.  I do hope you enjoy viewing my photos and if you can, please visit Giverny and see this beautiful place for yourself.

More photos can be found here: Flickr Account

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Les Misérables – The Musical

 I was having a discussion with a friend this morning, who is very excited about the Christmas release of the movie Les Misérables.  I do believe that this is her favorite show so I decided to have a closer look.

I am going to London again in December so I looked for tickets.  They are certainly not cheap, most are priced at £45 or £65, but I managed to buy an unrestricted £35 ticket on the first row of the Upper Circle.  I know it will not be the best seat in the house and most likely to be high up, but, this will be my first trip to a West End Musical and I did not wish to spend a huge amount of money on something I may not enjoy.

So now I have 3 “arty” events booked for December, 2 ballets at the Royal Opera House and now a Musical in the West End.  I have still enough time to go back to visit the National Gallery so I shall not be booking any further shows etc.
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Buying Original Art

I recently started to purchase original art to go along side the prints I buy on my travels around the UK Art Galleries.  The website I use is

So far I have purchased two paintings and spent under £60.  They have a wide selection of art available and the prices start from £10.  Delivery is free and it is also very quick.

Here are my two paintings.

Inglenook On A Winter Evening – Christine Jones (£40)

Wet Farm Entrance – David Hannaghan (£13)

Take a look and see if there is anything that takes your fancy.  All the Artists are UK based.

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Manchester Buy Art Fair 2012

I came across an advert for this Art Fair next week and thought it a good idea to spread the word.

The main website is here  Tickets are free.

The price of art ranges from around £50 up to £5000 so it is affordable to most.  Even if you do not purchase anything there are running a range of talks to help you expand your art horizons.

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The National Gallery – London

Firstly, I was very disappointed to discover that photos are not allowed in the Gallery.  I am sure you were, in the past, able to take photos.  I can understand no flash and with the older, more delicate paintings due to the damage that can be caused.  But that is the rule so all I could do was make a note of the paintings I enjoyed.
I always seem to get lost when walking around a gallery, especially if there is more than one connecting room.  To combat this I decided to follow the floorplan in numerical order, even if they did mean doubling back a few times.
Due to time, I actually did not manage to see the entire gallery, I completely missed the 12th-15th Century paintings housed in the Sainsbury Wing.  My excuse is having to take time out to enjoy Afternoon Tea with my friends.  I also purchased the Audio Guide and this covers over 90% of the paintings held in the gallery.  You are given a very good, in depth analysis of each painting so this adds time to your visit, but it is so worth it.
So what did I see and what did I enjoy?  I think the easiest way to do this is to post the title of the painting along with a photo I have from the Official Website.

Raphael – The Madonna of the Pinks
Salomon van Ruysdael – River Scene

Salomon van Ruysdael – A View of Rhenen Seen From the West
Esaias van de Velde – A Winter Landscape
Aelbert Cuyp – A River Scene with Distant Windmills
Aelbert Cuyp – Ubbergen Castle

Cornelis Vroom – A Landscape With A River By A Wood

Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder – Flowers In A Glass Vase
Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder – A Still Life of Flowers In A Wan-Li Vase
Roelandt Savery – Flowers In A Glass
Sebastien Bourdon – The Return Of The Ark
Claude – Landscape With Goatherd And Goats

Gaspard Dughet – Imaginary Landscape With Buildings In Tivoli
Meindeet Hobbema – The Avenue Of Middelharnis

Meindert Hobbema – The Watermills At Singraven Near Denekamp
Jan van Huysum – Hollyhocks And Other Flowers In A Vase
Rachel Ruysch – Flowers In A Vase

Jacob van Ruisdael – Two Watermills And An Open Sluice At Singraven

Harmen Steenwyck – Still Life: An Allegory Of The Vanities Of Human Life

Hendrick Avercamp – A Scene On The Ice Near A Town
Hendrick Avercamp – A Winter Scene With Skaters Near A Castle
Peter Paul Rubens – A Landscape With A Shepherd With His Flock
Salvator Rosa – Landscape With Mercury And The Dishonest Woodman
Thomas Gainsborough – The Watering Place

Thomas Gainsborough – Cornard Wood Near Sudbury, Suffolk
John Constable – The Cornfield
John Constable – Cenotaph To the Memory Of Sir Joshua Reynolds
John Constable – The Hay Wain

John Constable – Salisbury Cathedral From The Meadows
Domenichino – Saint George Killing The Dragon
Francesco Guardi – View Of Venetian Lagoon With The Tower Of Malghera
Alfred Sisley – The Seine At Port-Marly
Vincent van Gogh – van Gogh Chair
Vincent van Gogh – Long Grass With Butterflies
Vincent van Gogh – Sunflowers
Vincent van Gogh – Farm Near Auvers
Camille Pissarro – The Little Country Maid
Camille Pissarro – The Boulevard Montmartre At Night
Camille Pissarro – Fox Hill, Upper Norwood
Camille Pissarro – View From Louveciennes
Pierre-Auguste Renoir – The Skiff
Pierre-Auguste Renoir – The Umbrellas
Claude-Oscar Monet – Bathers At La Grenouillere
Claude-Oscar Monet – La Pointe De La Heve Sainte Adresse
Claude-Oscar Monet – The Beach At Trouville

Claude-Oscar Monet – The Gare St-Lazare
And I have saved the best for last
Claude-Oscar Monet – The Water-Lily Pond

All photos can be found on the Official Website for The National Gallery here
I purchased 3 prints from the Gift Shop, Constable – The Hay Wain, Renoir – The Skiff and Pissarro – The Boulevard Montmartre at Night.  Each cost £5.  I also bought the Pocket Collection book for £6.99.
As I mentioned at the start, I did not have chance to see everything and when I go back to London in December for my Opera House visit I am going to return to The National Gallery and view the entire collection.
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The National Gallery & The Hunterian Museum – London

Once again I am off on my travels at the weekend, this time visiting the capital.

My first stop will be The Hunterian Musuem which is located within the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s Inn Field.  Anything that explores the human body has my full attention as, like it or not, it is all relevant to us.  I am looking forward to viewing their collection and the current exhibition Anatomy of an Athlete.  I will then be moving on to The National Gallery.

I have been here before a few years ago with my Mum and my one lasting memory is sitting in front of Monet’s Japanese Bridge and thinking that it was the most beautiful painting ever.  I have since then viewed quite a few other paintings but I am still looking forward to viewing this masterpiece again.

I have quite a few hours to look around so I have decided that I will hire an Audio Guide for £3.50.  Another way to learn about a painting is to hear the experts talk about it so I am sure it will be well worth the money.

As usual, I will post a short report and photos once I am home for you all to enjoy.

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Birmingham Art Gallery

During my trip to Birmingham on Saturday 8 September I visited the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

As with the previous galleries I have visited, I found this gallery to be very interesting with a variable collection of artists on display.  I took plenty of photos and for the full set please visit my Flickr Account.

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Birmingham Artsfest

I know that the Festival finishes today but whilst I was in Birmingham on Saturday I was impressed with the array of stalls and crafts on offer.  As I walked to and from the Art Gallery I collected a selection of business cards and flyers from the stalls to share with you all here.  Another way to spread the word about different Artists.

Sunny Digital Prints

Moises Furtado


Jim Munnion

Stage 2 Youth Theatre

Skinny Nib

Merlene Dunkley

Kist Jewellery

Jon Cruttenden

Izana Crafts

Jane Anderson

I hope that you enjoy browsing the sites.

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Preston Proms – Jose Carreras & Katherine Jenkins

The evening started with a queue, a long queue that snaked its way between Avenham & Miller Park.  Nevertheless the time past quickly and soon enough we were heading into the fenced off area to find our spot.  The majority of people had brought folding chairs and blankets with them, a few even brought tables.  There was plenty of space and we managed to get right to the front, around 6ft from the stage barrier.  We were situated just to the left of the crowd, near the speakers.

After getting ourselves settled it was time to visit the Portaloo.  I must admit, there were plenty of them and they seemed clean enough.  I knew that a few others from where I work was going to be in the crowd and almost straight away I spotted (and heard) one group.  They in turn pointed out the rest to me.

The concert was due to start at 19.00 and they were, unusually, on time.  I am not going to talk in detail about the songs that were sang as we did not buy a programme, though I do know Katherine started with Halleluiah and also sang “Time To Say Goodbye”.  All I really can say it that each and every piece of music played was a delight to hear.  The power of Jose & Katherine’s voices to the perfect music from the Manchester Camerata Orchestra, all was a priviledge to witness live.

Time seemed to fly and before we knew it the fireworks were exploding above the stage.  I have taken away with me three new artists to explore, Carreras, Jenkins and Manchester Camerata Chamber Orchestra.  I very much doubt I will ever witness Jose live again but the 2 hours I saw on Friday night was plenty.  Maybe one day I will see Katherine again and I will be sure to keep an eye out for any Tour Dates.  As for the Orchestra, I am going to have a look at their schedule right now.

For my full set of photographs please view my Flickr Account


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