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Pippa Rathborne's SCRATCH POST

enchanted castleClaude Lorrain, Landscape with Psyche outside the Palace of Cupid, 1664
National Gallery. Image source: National Gallery

“You know the Enchanted Castle, – it doth stand / Upon a rock, on the border of a Lake, /
Nested in trees….” (Epistle to Reynolds)


Claude’s Landscape with Psyche outside the Palace of Cupid, inspired by Apuleius’sstory, which Keats sourced for his Ode to Psyche, is a late work of the painter’s, an elegant baroque fantasy with less than the usual “incessant observation of nature” and quality of “Brightness [that] was the excellence of Claude, brightness independent on colour…the evanescent character of light”[1] that Constable valued above all other artistic attributes.

The picture’s shortcomings, its dark, sleeping stillness, as if waiting for someone to step in and breathe life into it, gave literary advantages to Keats. The glimpse of the stone…

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“The British Museum has lost its charms,” sang the great Ella Fitzgerald about a foggy day in ‘London Town’. Never will it be so, and with record visitors for 2013 announced yesterday, this spectacular attraction today celebrates 255 years since it was first opened to the public and Google is in on the act.

If you have yet to visit the museum, my, but you have a treat in store for the collection features a cavalcade of antiquities and cultural objects.

Did you know that if the trustees had not rejected it on the grounds of cost and its location, the site of Buckingham Palace would, instead, have been the British Museum for the gentlemen considered Buckingham House, now occupied by the Palace. They chose Montagu House.

Perhaps the Museum’s most talked about objects are the spoils of Lord Elgin, the marbles from the Parthenon in Athens. Personally, I believe they should be returned. Do you?

In the meantime, I urge you to plan several visits to make the most of the British Museum.

Take care and keep laughing!


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