Monday, 2 April 2012

Cycle 2

Crossing the Trent on Sustrans' National Route 647, along the old railway track, we approached Lincoln without hassle. Only in the immediate town centre does it get at all hairy; and then there's the hill up to the Castle and Cathedral. Happily, we were able to leave the bikes in a friend's back yard, which freed us to explore the historic parts without worry.

We benefitted from two tip-offs. First, the magnificent Wren Library: it would have been easy to miss the stairs up to this when exploring Lincoln's astonishing Cathedral; and secondly the Usher Gallery. This two-site complex was well worth the trouble of a visit, and not just for the excellent view of the Cathedral above from the more modern building.

The Radev Collection was showing: it had been kept together by picture framer, Mattei Radev, a peasant refugee from Bulgaria. Via an extraordinary transformation he became part of the post-War male salon of Eddy Sackville-West and Eardley Knollys. Radev inherited more than 100 sculptures and paintings by 65 artists, a marvellously eclectic assemblage of mainly 20th Century works, only on show to the public since October last.

On the Cathedral front, being used to Gloucester, we found the architectural contrast remarkable. (Caroline prefers Gloucester!) Our welcome in Lincoln today was warm, helpful and well-organised, both at the main entrance and in the Library. The guide in the latter was at pains to stress the glory of God as the motivating factor. God is surely the original elephant in the room - he barely got a mention from our Cathedral floor guide.

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