Friday, June 6, 2014

Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens ~2014

Every moment and every event 
of every man's life on earth
plants something on his soul.
~Thomas Merton

As some of you may recall, I was on a mission to do the big gardens (Huntington, L.A. Arboretum and Descanso Gardens) before the end of spring. Though much had bloomed early, in Southern California, it wasn't too late to enjoy the Spring gorgeousness of the Huntington, in late April.

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens

The Chinese Garden

Not long after I arrived, I was already hungry and decided that this time I would eat in the Chinese Garden. There are other options, but the fish and noodle soup sounded good, plus ... look at the view! Outside the building above, is where I sat and enjoyed my lunch!

The Japanese Garden

Japanese House
Elements of the Japanese House were shipped to Pasadena around 1904 and acquired by Huntington in 1911.

I found a perfect spot on some steps to sit and sketch my favorite view of the garden ... (can you tell by the Easter Egg on my nail, the time of year?!) Isn't the Japanese Garden breathtaking? The whole place is gorgeous and kind of swanky ... the best version of what it could possibly be. 

The Rose Garden
Originally created in 1908

The Gallery is the former Home of Henry E. Huntington (1850-1927) and second wife Arabella (1850-1924.) It opened as a gallery in 1928.

Of course, I spotted the "History of Rome" on the shelf!

This isn't the famous Huntington Library that has a Gutenburg Bible. That is actually in another whole building, across a rather enormous lawn, from this house that you are looking at now. 

I didn't have time to go into that building ... or the American Collection building, or the amazing cactus garden. Really, the grounds are so huge, and you have to plan and edit your visit, in order to see it all. Maybe if you arrived right when it opened, you could pull off seeing the whole thing. Iffy though, and it wouldn't be relaxing.

The collection of paintings is rather impressive, but the downstairs is full of paintings by old British dudes. Don't get me wrong. They are beautiful and skillful and everything one would want from that genre of painting ... but they are not exactly my cup of tea, so to speak. Not my favorite period in art, but incredible examples of the era and I do appreciate them.

Lady Petre, 1788
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1833)

... I really love the "costumes" though!

Margaret Cocks, 1787
Richard Cosway (British, 1742-1821)

Lovely, right? Don't we all wish we had rosy cheeks like those?

This next gal, I am a fan of, because of her fabulous get-up. With an influence classical sculpture, she is draped in a fabulously dramatic manner, which I love. Isn't she great? I want that frock.

Sarah Barret Moulton, 1734
Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)

Probably the most famous paintings at the Huntington are "Pinkie" and "Blue Boy" who reside in a very long room, at opposite ends. I remember them from my first visit, when I was in Junior High. While I thought they were pretty and beautifully painted, even then they were not my favorites.

The Blue Boy, c. 1770
Thomas Gainsborough  ((1727-1788)

Lady Hamilton was my favorite. And, what I didn't know then, was how scandalous she was! Maybe that's why, unknowingly, I was such a huge fan! 

She was close friends with Marie Antoinette's sister, Queen Maria Carolina, and is known for her affair with Lord Nelson. After blowing the cash left by her husband, Sir William Hamilton, she then lost Merton place, the house of her lover, and wound up penniless in debtors prison. And yes, they made a movie.

Lady Hamilton in a Straw Hat
George Romney (1734-1802)

Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) and John Henry Dearle (1860-1932) Stained glass by Morris and Co. Titled Humility, Mercy, Generosity, Charity, Justice, Liberty, Truth, Love Faith, Courage (c. 1898)

From a second story doorway, that leads onto a terrace ...

There are a lot of French works (Boucher, Watteau, Fragonard) as well as pieces from the Arts and Crafts period ... but my favorites (surprise, surprise) are by the Italians. I had only 10 minutes before the place would close so I just had to try to suck in all the "Italian-ness" before they made me leave. And I waited until they asked. 

Here are just 3 of the pieces.

Virgin and Child with Saint John, early 16th century
Atributed to Francesco Granacci (Italian, 1477-1543)

Portrait of a Young Woman, c. 1490
Domenico del Ghirlandaio (Italian, 1449-1494)

Virgin and Child, c. 1490s
Sebastiano Mainardi (Italian, 1466-1513)

After that, they told me it was time to go, so I headed out of the gardens, promising myself I would come back and spend more time with the Italians. 

I just checked and apparently I have done 4 previous posts on the gardens, from a visit a couple of years ago. Especially spectacular, was a visit to the Shakespeare garden in full bloom. 
To see those posts, click here. 

To see my post on their American Collection, click here.

For their official website, click here.

Stuff your eyes with wonder,
live as if you'd drop dead in ten second.
See the world.
It's more fantastic 
than any dream made or paid for in factories.
~Ray Bradbury

Blessing and light!!
Happy June!


Rick Forrestal said...

I love Japanese gardens . . . nice shots.
And your "fish and noodle" soup looks sooo good.
(Making me hungry.)
I love the formal portraits at Huntington.
Oh my!

Victoria said... gorgeous is this post! I have had to gaze at it a few times..totally mesmerizing art..beautiful so stunning! I know I can always come here and get fully entranced by imagery and visual poetry! Wishing you a Happy June Lucinda..and a gorgeous summer ahead!

Amanda Summer said...

I feel like I just spent a few minutes in southern Cal - what a lovely tour. Your sketch is amazing.

Unknown said...

Wow. It's all so spectacular. Love the gardens, architecture, and paintings. Your photos have given me a lovely tour!!

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