I spent this morning posting the delayed entry from yesterday. Jackie then drove us to Bournemouth for a visit to the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum. Along the sea front on the way there I was fascinated by a sculpture that carried no caption but seemed to represent three of the famous Red Arrows. Up on the railed-off high cliff top above the town’s pier, outside the Art Gallery proper, there was mounted a modern display of motifs representing the seaside. A gentleman I was to see inside the Russell-Cotes building photographing many individual exhibits, worked his way along the railings doing the same thing. Whilst tempted to photograph numerous wonderful paintings, ceramic, or sculptures full frame, I was fascinated by the pieces in their sumptuous, splendidly opulent setting, which is what I concentrated on. One iconic painting was, however, worthy of its own photograph. Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Venus Verticordia is probably the most famous picture in the entire collection, but that is not the reason it warrants our attention. The Pre-Raphaelite painters’ female subjects mostly bear some resemblance to each other. Their particular coiffure is shared by Flo. She is not red-haired, like Alexa Wilding, this model of Rossetti’s, and perhaps therefore has more similarity to the dark-haired Janie Morris. We were both attracted to a sculpture of a male reader, possibly an author, but are not sure who he is. The Henry Irving sector has a warning stencilled on the glass. I wondered how many foreheads had sported bruising before this precaution was taken. The bust of a Moor seems to stand guard over his eponymous Alcove. In one room a marble female sculpture exchanges gazes with a wistful young lady. Or maybe she simply covets the ceramics in the stylishly inlaid cabinet. The gorgeous galleried landing, lined with splendid paintings, contains several well-filled niches. Access to the conservatory was denied. The tiles in this room, which could be seen through the glass door, although rather duller than those at Lindum House, seem to be very similar in design. Perhaps a sun-room floor is more exposed to fading than that of the entrance hall in our former Newark home. In 1901 Sir Merton Russell-Cotes gave his wife Annie this dream house on the cliff-top overlooking the sea, as a birthday present which they filled with beautiful objects from their travels across the world. Six years later, they donated the house, named East Cliff Hall and the art collection to the people of Bournemouth. Mrs. Russell-Cotes’s dress remains on display for us all to see.
Jackie’s juicy chicken jalfrezi with mushroom fried rice graced our dinner plates this evening. I drank a glass of Veluti primitivo.