Into Brontë Country

The dales, in Haworth, open out from the back of the Bronte parsonage museum, and are the evocative heart of an area popularly known as 'Bronte country'. Here, Charlotte, Anne, Emily and Branwell Bronte would walk and, apparently, write: the 'Bronte waterfall' retains a 'seat-shaped stone' upon which Emily Bronte - the most nature-obsessed of the family - would compose poems. On top of a steep hill is Top Withins, a ruined farmhouse said to have been an influence for the eponymous Earnshaw home in Wuthering Heights - though, as a plaque in the wall 'placed in response to many inquiries' asserts, it bears no physical resemblance to the house she described, except its isolated situation in the moorland.

As with many 'writers' countries' in England, and elsewhere  - Wordsworth's Lake District, Hardy's Wessex - there is a strange mingling here of fact and fiction: Top Withins is not Wuthering Heights, but Wuthering Heights' very unreality links the two places together, via Emily Bronte's imagined inspiration.

Berlin

Just got back from six days in Berlin, mainly focused on the museums therein: particular highlights for me on an architectural / aesthetic level were Schinkel's Altes Museum, which is very much about architecture-as-nation-building, the Jewish Museum (obviously) and David Chipperfield's reworking of the Neues Museum, which, alas, I didn't photograph very well. I also did some work on my sky-skills, largely non-existent up to this point. Photos below.

Ghent and Gericault

Went to Ghent this weekend mainly to have a look at the Museum of Fine Arts' Gericault exhibition, which has transferred from Frankfurt and includes the two Cauis Cibber 'Melancholy and Raving Madness' statues from Bethlem Museum and Archives. Summary review: I thought the exhibition as a whole worked quite well: although extremely disparate in places, the Cibber statues actually sort of tied it all together. They were displayed on high pedestals at the entrance to the show, much as they used were when they flanked the entrance to the old Bedlam building in London's Moorfields. Combined with the final engraving from Hogarth's Rake's Progress, which mirrors the Cibber poses, it formed a nice loop which worked alongside Gericault's broader exploration of anatomy and bodies (I did say it was disparate). Also took a few photos. I seem to be getting quite obsessed with small things, either embedded into walls or carved on top of them. Ghent was good for street carvings.