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5/28/2014

A visit to Wells.



We made a quick trip to Wells in Somerset to see The Hilliard Society of Miniaturists Annual Exhibition in the Town Hall. If you are in the area it is well worth a visit. Needless to say that the art on exhibition is miniature, a portrait subject being under two inches and all other paintings under four and a half inches by six inches. Don’t worry, magnifying glasses are handed out to visitors.

The exhibition is open until June 1st but you can do a virtual visit here

I had seen some of the work before on a blog belonging to the artist Tracy Hall but you have to see the actual paintings close up to marvel at the artistry and skill which goes into their creation. You will find a link to Tracy’s blog in my sidebar.



Wells is a beautiful cathedral town with medieval architecture, cobbled streets and lovely walks around the Bishop’s Palace and gardens. It is the smallest city in England and lies between the Mendip Hills and the Somerset Levels. The walk around the moat made me think of “The Lady of Shalott”.



We admired the cathedrals beautiful medieval clock and arrived in time to watch the interior display and automaton known as Jack Blandifers, who hits two bells with hammers and two with his heels. The photograph here shows the outer dial and quarter-jacks on the north transept.



Vicar’s Close is said to be “one of the oldest purely residential streets still intact in Europe”, being built in the mid fourteenth century. It is rather like arriving on a film set and so lovely to see a cobbled street with no cars, litter or wheelie bins!



Our time was rather limited, needless to say I returned filled with enthusiasm and ideas and a desire to return to Wells in the not too distant future.

13 comments:

Ruthie Redden said...

O & I visited WElls a couple of years ago, it is a beautiful place isn't it, I particularly loved the cathedral there. What a fab extra to get to the Hilliard exhibition, there is something fascinating about miniature painitngs. We are very lucky to have miniaturist Jane Gibson living in Kirkcudbright and I am amazed at the detail she manages to get into such tiny works.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Well cathedral and its moat - perhaps one of my favourite cathedrals in the country Valerie. If you can't get inspiration here then I don't know where you can. I really envy you.

Frances said...

Valerie, of course, I have known of Wells for many years, but it's another of those beautiful places that I've not yet visited myself.

Your photographs and descriptions in this post really do tell me that Wells must go on to some sort of priority list.

Lovely! xo

Cathy said...

The miniature paintings are amazing! Are you familiar with Loreena McKennitt. She has a beautiful song about The Lady of Shallot.

acornmoon said...

Ruthie, thanks for the introduction to the work of Jane Gibson, yet another artist in that remarkable town.

Cathy, I am only familiar with the Tennyson poem but will listen out for the new version.

Tracy Hall said...

Thank you so much for the mention, Valerie! Wells is a lovely place isn't it, every time I go I come back with a million paintings in my head... And I thought exactly the same thing when I first saw the moat :) Did you see the swans? They ring a bell for food!

Tammie Lee said...

thank you for the link to the miniature show, i will take a peak.

looks like you had a wonderful time. I love old art and buildings.

acornmoon said...

Tracy, I did not know that about the swans, how lovely!

Jeri Landers said...

Oh Valerie, You visit the most wonderful places. I wish I could see this town in person. Miniatures are always fascinating to me. I just don't know how she does this with such precision.

Heather Victoria Held said...

What a beautiful post!!! thank you for sharing your visit. Big hug to you!
Heather

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

As a child, growing up not so far from Wells, a visit to see the clock, from both inside and out, was a much enjoyed and quite regular treat. Truly ovely to be reminded of the town again, but I'm left feeling almost homesick. I love where I live now but I think my heart will always be in the West Country.

Lovely post Valerie :)

MILLY said...

I have never been but it does look such a beautiful place.
I am sure you were inspired by the exhibition. It is hard to believe the detail in miniatures, need to have such good eyes sight or do they use a strong magnifying glass.

MILLY said...

I have never been but it does look such a beautiful place.
I am sure you were inspired by the exhibition. It is hard to believe the detail in miniatures, need to have such good eyes sight or do they use a strong magnifying glass.