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26th January 2022

By 1760 map makers had turned the city the other way round so that it looks like a map we are familiar with nowadays. Edgar Buildings has not been built yet but its name is written in (in the middle at the top, bottom right of The Circus). In another year the row of houses named Edgar Buildings will have been built where the fields are on this map.

25th January 2022

This is a fascinating 1735 map. The text is by John Wood and sets out his plans for the city. On the right, under and to the right of Queen Square, it shows George Street running down to Broad Street, and where Edgar Buildings will be there are three clearly marked fields. Milsom Street is still fields as well. The Royal Crescent and the Circus will be over on the right, basically off the map.

24th January 2022

Maps of Bath this week on the Post. This one by William Smith is dated 1568. The lettering - A-F – is rather touching as we would do it in exactly the same way 450 years later

21st January 2022

'In this collective 1912 portrait of Suzanne Valadon, her mother, her son Utrillo and her lover Utter, she is the only one directly facing the viewer, but she does so tentatively, with her hand on her chest. You can almost hear her say: “Moi? I am innocent, Monsieur”. Utter and Madame Valadon are gazing to their right, each foreseeing a different future: the young man looks confident and rather content, while the woman – all wrinkled and slightly hunchbacked, with the corners of her mouth turned downwards – appears resigned. Maurice Utrillo’s depiction earns the most sympathy, for he seems to be the most miserable and out of place, gazing melancholically with his head leaning on his hand, as if he simply cannot muster the energy to stand or sit upright' (here).

20th January 2022

'Suzanne Valadon painted, one writer declared, “with an energy unheard of in a woman”. It’s hard to pin down what that gendered praise actually meant, since she eschewed the pink gauziness that some males (Renoir, say) slathered on the female body. There’s no sugariness to her nudes or marzipan in her flowers' (from the Financial Times again, here). This is The Blue Room 1923.

19th January 2022

'The Last Time I Saw Paris' we went to the most incredible museum in Montmartre, the house where the Valadon ménage lived. This was Suzanne's studio. It's a reconstruction but most beautifully done, more details here. IF any of us ever get to Paris again it's unmissable.

18th January 2022

Valadon was Utrillo's mother. This is a kind of unbelievable fact of art history (and of course for years, while Utrillo was being celebrated as a great Post-Impressionist painter, his mother was ignored). And their work was so different! Although they both painted French suburban life, they observed it from opposite directions. Here is Valadon's 1921 portrait of her son, it's in Paris at the 

musée Montmartre

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