Friday, 15 August 2008

The Courtauld Cézannes

Caroline's friend and former colleague at the Courtauld Institute, Bob Ratcliffe worshipped Paul Cézanne, and was one of the acknowledged experts on his work. Caroline, who worked in the slide library, accompanied Bob on trips to record and photograph exhibitions, Bob with a thermos bag for keeping his film at exactly the right temperature, so as not to jeopardise accurate colour reproduction.

The Courtauld Institute's entire collection of Cézanne's work - unique, at least in Britain - is currently on show at Somerset House (till 5th October). For the catalogue, John House, one of Bob's students, has written an eloquent appreciation, dedicating the exhibition to Bob's memory: he died last year. We have been in London for a couple of days and it was fitting that our first stop on arrival should be Somerset House.

Quite apart from the magnificent Cézannes, I always like visiting the Strand, since having worked near there when I was a newly-qualified solicitor; and it is a particular pleasure nowadays to be able to see both outside and inside Somerset House, with its elegant rooms (see the Degas sculpture gallery - below) and amazing staircase (above).

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