Thursday, July 31, 2014


In 2012 the double-height library at Trinity College in Dublin reached the age of 300 years. Cambridge University Press published a memorial book by Peter Fox about this ponderously dignified space. Photos were taken by special privilege to simulate the viewpoints of hypothetical readers, but here is where deception starts to bother me. Granted, any modern person with exceptional access might still enjoy these bays and recesses almost like actual 18th century researchers. I even rather dishonestly picked photos that would sustain this fantasy, with thrilling ladders extending to infinite heights. But to accomplish this, I was forced to exclude the majority of available views  which tended to include plastic signage, barrier structures, and much other postmodern claptrap.

Ironically, those rejected pictures were the most truthful  demonstrating that the busts and arches and mellow leather bindings (gathered under their fantastic vaulted ceiling) exist now only as quaint relics of a dead past. The texts themselves are, after all, mostly in Latin, full of sectarian theological disputations and other outmoded arcana. The world inside these walls is now a world of tourists waving phone-cameras at smudged vitrines, where formerly were scholars and silence. Ambitious constructs like this one in Dublin surviving intact from long ago are increasingly reminding me of Egyptian pyramids  parallel survivors into an age where the purpose that brought them into existence is barely even intelligible any more.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kettle's Yard

Kettle's Yard belongs to that rare and lucky and peculiar group of house-museums preserved after the deaths of their creators more or less as their creators intended.  Jim Ede lived from 1895 to 1990. His birth date and longevity made him into a sort of proprietor of the 20th century. Beginning in the 1950s and in partnership with his wife Helen, he combined four cottages in the city of Cambridge to create the art-spaces seen here today. The up-and-down dwelling  packed tight with paintings and sculpture and prints  was for decades the scene of open houses held on most afternoons for Cambridge students. im and Helen Ede eventually gave the complex to the the University. It has (most remarkably) been maintained much as they left it.

Above, Alfred Wallis paintings on a bedroom wall. Below, the unrevised buildings in the 1950s and the facade as it looks today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


This small group of garden views represents the farthest distance I wandered from the purpose of the searching that led me to find these pictures in the first place. I was supposed to be looking for exampless of decorator-designed bookshelves (which I found, of course, in overwhelming abundance  books may in truth be on the way out as objects of use, but they thrive like never before as visual accessories).

John Saladino revised the landscaping of an old-world, hilltop villa. Then the magazines came and took pictures. Given those circumstances, these are notably uncluttered pictures, with the landscape itself permitted most unusually to occupy the role of foreground as well as background. Visions of refinement, visions of peace, visions of an army of bustling retainers behind the scenes.

Monday, July 28, 2014


At the playground Mabel is increasingly independent in accordance with her increasing abilities, but she still expects full participation from me when her conceptions require a partner. Above, the baby slides may be short, but there are two of them side by side, and that means two people should be going down them side by side – obviously. Picture-taking is allowed, but not if it interferes with going down the baby slides together.

Along with sand toys we had bottles of water and some string cheese and little organic bars


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Felt Board

Mabel got out her felt board to play with. She decided to wear the felt board, noticing that it tied shut with attached strings and deciding that her always-compliant Grandpa could make himself useful by tying those strings behind her back. Then Mabel manipulated the elastic band (which also holds the felt board shut) until she had created a sort of harness anchored behind her neck and securing the corners of the felt board garment.

Still wearing the felt board, she then dug out several inflatable toys that had been tucked away uninflated toward the bottom of a new storage bin.

In the final picture Mabel is suddenly inspired to hand over the deflated monkey to her Grandpa and urge him to blow it up.

In the end, he blew up all the inflatable toys.