Skip to main content

On visiting Bath, England, again

Poulteney Bridge, Bath Spa, UK
I'm in England for a few days, accompanying my wife Patty as she attends a conference for writers in education. After we arrived at Heathrow, we took the train to Bath, where Patty lived for five months at the end of 2008 while she was teaching at Bath Spa University. She was living in an apartment in a street that is mentioned in one of Jane Austen's novels. La Austen didn't like Bath much, but then what did she know? Most of the town really does look like the above photo, and I got a kick out of flying across the Atlantic to visit my American wife while she was living in this splendid Georgian city in England.

I used to live in a town called Reading, about halfway between here and London, and I would come here a lot for day trips at the weekend. I still can't get over the irony of the fact that in order to experience this city at the high end of the market, as it were, I had to first go to live in the USA and marry an American woman.

There is a good art museum here, the Holburne, but it's currently closed for renovations. We don't have much time to do anything other than to see old friends at the university, and to consume as much great Indian food as we can before moving on to the conference. And then on Monday, it's back to Chicago to brace ourselves for the onslaught of winter.
 Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader

Popular posts from this blog

On my 300th blog post


It's my 300th blog post. And I seem to remember that in my 200th blog post I said that I would start quoting from John Ruskin's "Praeterita", after which this blog was named. Well, better late then never, so quotation number 2 is below.

First, though, some thoughts on this blog and blogging in general. I started Praeterita at the end of last year after reading a book by an art-marketing guru called Alyson Stansfield that recommended it as a means for artists to publicise their work better. But from the start I thought it would be more interesting to talk in a discursive way about my wider interest in art, and artists, and the history of art. After a desultory beginning where I only posted once a week, my blogging habit has now grown to the point where I am posting sometimes twice a day, and more than 45 times per month (helped enormously by the Blogger feature that lets you save blog posts with a post-dated timestamp, so that you can put posts in the bank to …

My worst open studio

Most open studios are notable for nothing really happening. You sit there waiting for people to come into your studio, eat all your nibbles and guzzle the free drink, and then leave after a cursory glance at your work. Usually, the worst thing that happens is that you get stuck in a boring conversation with a dull person,

But there was one time a few years ago when I got into one of these conversations, and quite quickly the person I was talking to started to make homophobic remarks about another artist in the building. After a few minutes, I decided I'd had enough and asked him to leave. He seemed genuinely surprised that I had any objection to what he was saying, which in retrospect makes me even angrier if he thought he had a sympathetic ear.

He asked me why, and I told him I didn't like people talking that way, and I said: "This conversation ended 30 seconds ago." So he left.

So, nothing dramatic like Jackson Pollock getting drunk in a fancy New York apartment a…

Van Gogh on Degas

From a letter dated July 31, 1888:
“Why do you say Degas can’t get it up properly? Degas lives like some petty lawyer and doesn’t like women, knowing very well that if he did like them and bedded them frequently, he’d go to seed and be in no position to paint any longer. The very reason why Degas’s painting is virile and impersonal is that he has resigned himself to being nothing more than a petty lawyer with a horror of kicking over the traces. He observes human animals who are stronger than him screwing and f—ing away and he paints them so well for the very reason that he isn’t all that keen on it himself.”
Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader