Friday, December 09, 2011

Return visits - Kettle's Yard

This fabulous montage is copyright Claire Leggett whose blog Paint Drops Keep Falling is a joy

A special place is like a good relationship. Never stale, never dull, always offering something fresh. Such a place is Kettle's Yard in Cambridge.

Having visited many times over the last twenty years, yesterday was a new experience. Firstly, it was a group of people none of whom had been there before. (Two had been undergraduates in Cambridge, and even they had not been in the house.)

We were ushered into the extension, a very beautiful part of the house which Jim Ede added on during the '70s, the architect being Leslie Martin of Festival Hall fame (and much else). A typically enthusiastic young lady explained the history and collection, and most importantly that the artworks are not labelled. Jim Ede believed that people should absorb the artworks as part of the overall experience, which is an artwork in itself. Every tiny detail, from the famous lemon on a large pewter charger, to the glass vase with whisper light feathers in it, is perfection. We were encouraged to look this way, so the lemon echoes the yellow dot on the Miro painting nearby, and the daffodils in the Christopher Wood painting.

And despite, or even maybe because of, the familiarity I saw the building and its contents completely afresh, through the eyes of my friends who have experienced this joy before. And the truly thrilling thing is, next time it will feel different again.

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