Thursday, February 14, 2019

Long ago and not quite so long

We took ourselves on the train to Glasgow today. I had wanted to visit the Willow Tearooms for a while - the restaurant designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and recently restored. (Is CRM famous elsewhere, or just in Scotland?) Anyway, when we got there, it seemed surprisingly spoof (Mockintosh, as rip-off versions of the Mackintosh style are known). A little Googling revealed that it was indeed spoof, since the real recreation of the real Willow Tearooms was round the corner, and our one had been subject to litigation for appropriation of the name. However, their cheese scones and coffee were very nice so we forgave them and will go to the proper place (or, properly recreated - let's hope) another time.

Then we visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, where Dippy the Dipoldocus is visiting for a while. Dippy is a plaster cast of a diplodocus found in Wyoming in 1898 and bought by Andrew Carnegie (another famous Scot) for his museum in Pittsburgh. Carnegie gifted lots of plaster casts of this skeleton to various cities including London, where this one was on display, latterly in the entrance hall of the Natural History Museum, till 2017, when it was displaced by the skeleton of a blue whale. (We saw a tv programme about this change of skeletons. It was much more interesting than I've made it sound.) Anyway, Dippy is now on a tour of the country and Glasgow is the only Scottish museum where he'll be. (Only one in Wales, too, and one in Ulster - all the others are in England. Hmm.) Anyway, he's BIG. There's Mr L standing under his throat and Mr L is a tall chap.

The Kelvingrove has a wonderful organ and there are daily recitals. Today the organist played tunes suitable for Valentine's Day - by Cole Porter, Richard Rogers and so on - including "My Funny Valentine". I do love that era of popular music. I think the pink lighting was specially for today too. There are big screens on which you can see the organist's feet on the pedals (he was wearing pink socks - clearly an effort had been made) and his hands on the keys.

We also looked at the exhibition of Glasgow Boys paintings (again, do people outside Scotland know about the Glasgow Boys?) I think I've possibly featured this chap before, but I do love him. He's Old Willie, a village worthy in Kirkcudbright, painted in 1886. (Kirkcudbright is pronounced Kircoobri, should you ever need to know this.) My photo is a bit blurred, but you can see his strong features and (I fancy) resignation at being made to stand still while this painter chappie does his thing. I imagine he wasn't actually all that old, but he must have been born in the 1820s or so. I do like these links with the past.

And we also saw an exhibition of twelve Michelangelo drawings, which were predictably amazing. I didn't have the nerve to take any photos in case the flash went off by error so I bought a postcard and photographed that instead.  The picture shows a Roman being accosted by gypsies, though the chap on the left is clearly Prince Philip.


  1. My goodness, what a fascinating trip! Evidently I will mispronounce many Scottish names if Kirkcudbright is any indication.I've never heard of CRM, but I will ask my dad. Yes, that's definitely Prince Philip! :)

  2. Anonymous6:13 pm

    Haha, Phil the Greek! Id does look remarkably like him.

    CRM is famous here too, at least, in my circle of friends. It is good that you enjoyed the scones and the coffee even if the d├ęcor was faux.

  3. Bit naughty of the faux tea rooms. I know how to pronounce the K place but I always want to say Burnt Is Land........

  4. We saw Dippy first when we took our nearly seven year old son to the British Museum (wouldn’t it have been?) in the mid eighties. At the time they had a huge interactive exhibition about paleontology and it was so far ahead of anything New Zealand could turn on we spent a day there. I was exhausted, he was fizzing!

    Charles Rennie Macintosh I know about as he, and the very progressive Glasgow school of Embroidery, was part of my learning during my C&G embroidery diploma course. A friend did one of her major pieces based around the rose emblem he used so frequently. What are you stitching at present?

    1. No, it was the Natural History Museum, I think. I've just cut out a quilt for my nephew. It's going to have some stars on it. I hope.

  5. CRM is famous here, too, at least among people who have an interest in art. And in the last twenty or thirty years there has been a lot of publicity about the Glasgow school of art. Pronouncing Kirkcudbright comes up in one of my D.E. Stevenson books, but I'm sure there are many other Scottish words I would mispronounce! (Prince Philip needs to see his dentist!)

  6. You are too funny. HRH is certainly getting up there in years but he's not THAT old LOL. I love the picture of old Willie -- he's just how I imagine a "proper" Scot to appear. And I think your blog is the only place I've ever heard of the Glasgow boys.


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