Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Madame Lambard, Leonardo and a hare

La Belle Ferronnière

On Sunday my metal detecting club had a dig, but it was not productive. I found a very old copper label with MADAME LAMBARD on the front. On the rear:
Madame Lombard is a rose, and it looks like a label for a plant and was found in an area where the owners still tip compost with modern flower labels. Perhaps  LOMBARD was misspelled LAMBARD? Or was it the name of a favourite cow on the farm?

On Tuesday I went to London on my own to see the Leonardo exhibition at the National Gallery. Sue had bad arthritis and Jackie was laid up with a bug so no travelling companions to burden me, I mean, share the experience with. It was an excellent exhibition, though very crowded. You have a time slot and I marched straight into the Sainsbury Wing where it was held. I didn’t bother with most of the drawings which were very small and had lots of people queuing to see them. I just viewed the ones on the audio guide. What an amazing draughtsman da Vinci was. He captured so much tone with his fine implements. I hadn’t realised there were only 20 paintings that he finished. The Milan paintings were all here. I was amazed by the portrait above, La Belle Ferronnière and kept revisiting it. I have seen the Mona Lisa twice and much prefer this portrait. It looks as fresh as if painted recently and the details and light effects are superb.The poster portrait for the exhibition, The Lady with an Ermine, was also very fine, but looked to me like a portrait, whereas La  Belle Ferronnière was alive and felt as though the young lady was right there in the room with you.  All the portraits were magnifique, and the exhibition paintings can be viewed at

The Sainsbury Wing
This morning, following another superb sunrise, I attended the first Heyshott Escarpment work party of 2012 and we had the biggest bonfire so far, mainly clearing previously cut wood. Afterwards I joined Neil on a walk to Heyshoot Down and Graffham Down to view potential Duke of Burgundy (butterfly) territory to check out in the season (May). Neil also pointed out where he has seen Purple Emperors here. I saw my first hare in ages and a March Tit. I also saw the tumuli on Graffham Down.
The clearing is growing

Mark hard at work
Neil also working hard
interesting fungus (6 inches long)
view towards Blackdown
potential new Duke of Burgundy territory
new sign
view from a tumulus
The Duke surveying his kingdom

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