Citizen Claus

Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum has launched a campaign to raise money to buy an important painting by Eduoard Manet, to prevent a private sale and the painting leaving the UK. The portrait is of Fanny Claus, a concert violinist and friend of Manet’s wife and is important in the development of the artist’s work.  It has only been exhibited once and has been in a private collection for most of its life. I’d like to think it could now become part of the public arena, accessible to a wide audience rather than bought for private investment or egotism or whatever.

I visited the National Gallery of Scotland in the extraordinary city of Edinburgh earlier this week and felt uplifted as I came away. I was particularly thrilled to see the iconic ice-skating vicar, the Reverend Robert Walker. This was an impressive collection and I’m annoyed that I didn’t realise there was a Vermeer there. So I will have to go back.

There’s also an exhibition at the Portrait Gallery, entitled ‘Hot Scots’, with photographs of contemporary celebrities – not necessarily ‘hot’, but definitely Scots. Another reason to return.

As for Mademoiselle Claus, I guess she can no longer be known as that, as this week the French have banned the use of this title in official paperwork… I feel another blog coming on…


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