Wednesday, October 31, 2007

anecdote and architecture.....

An Anecdote........
A post by David in Australia reminded me of an incident that happened near our smallholding a few years ago. Police were chasing a little VW Golf full of suspected stock thieves, and when they pulled them over, all but one fled into the surrounding bush. They thought at first the culprit must be drunk, just sitting there on the back seat, until they looked closer and saw that it was a sheep wearing a hat and coat. True story, gotta love Africa!

Inspiring Architecture #3

Ok now I want to introduce you to a gracious old city lady (in contrast to her rustic country cousin who you met yesterday.)

The Ann Bryant Art Gallery in East London started life as a gracious double-storey Victorian home in the centre of town. Just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of commerce is the tranquil tree-lined suburb of Southernwood, where the gallery is located.

The lovely old building, with its white walls and a green corrugated iron roof, is home to many of East London's famous works of art. Built in 1905 for Arthur Savage, the house was bought two years later by East London businessman, AE Bryant. He added land to his original purchase, so that the property covered a whole block from Belgrave Road to Oxford Street. Both Bryant and his wife, Ann, were art lovers and between them built up an enviable collection of mainly British or European artists from the 18th and 19th centuries.

In 1946 Ann Bryant donated the house, known as "The Gables", and her valuable art collection to the City of East London to be used as an art gallery. She asked the council not to change the house so that its Victorian style and elegance was retained. After her death, the gallery was renamed the Ann Bryant Art Gallery.

Alongside the main house is the Coach House, where visitors can buy light lunches and teas, sitting outside and enjoying the dappled sun through the magnificent trees in the well kept gardens. This building, originally stabling for the family's horses and coaches, now houses the more modern exhibitions. (This is where I am currently exhibiting, but more about that later.)
Look how stunning the jacarandas and lilies were last week. (Jacaranda is indigenous to South America, but graces many South African cities. As it flowers before the new leaves start to sprout, the effect of purple flowers against stark branches is breathtaking, as is the subtle honey scent. When the flowers drop, they form a sweet smelling purple carpet and walking on it is a heady experience!)
The scented and colourful gardens provided a very warm welcome into the entrance foyer of the coach house, so I continued the theme by making a big flower painting the first thing visitors would see.
I particularly love all the loving attention to detail that went into buildings like this... everywhere you looks, you see signs of the artistic pride that the builders took in their work. (The guys who sling up mushrooming low cost developments these days could really learn a thing or 2!)

1 comment:

imac said...

Interesting tale and good photos to go with it.