Monthly Archives: January 2017

Culloden: field of sorrow

Joanne Woolf shares her thoughts, feelings and photos of her poignant visit to the battlefield of Culloden.

The Hazel Tree

culloden-jw-jan-2017-25I don’t think I’ve ever walked on a battlefield before.  That might explain why Culloden made such an impression on me when we went there the other day.

It was the perfect morning.  Frost was white in the hollows and there was not a cloud in the sky.   Yet the whole place was hushed, and I see now why they say that birds don’t sing here.  It isn’t, as I rather cynically thought, that they don’t have many trees to sit in.  It’s something else.

In 1746, this was the scene of the last hand-to-hand battle fought on British soil.   Jacobite forces loyal to Prince Charles Edward Stuart faced the British government’s army on April 16th, a spring morning when they would all have been better off tending to their cattle or sowing crops or making repairs to house and farmstead.  Returning from exile, Charles had raised his banner in…

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Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey by Joanne Woolf

The Hazel Tree

melrose-jw-oct-2016-39It’s not often that a tree steals the show at a majestic place like Melrose Abbey, but that’s what happened last October when we ventured down to the Scottish Borders.

There it was, grabbing our attention the minute we stepped inside the grounds – a large spreading prunus in full autumn splendour, dripping gold onto the grass and glowing as if it was lit from within.   I decided that the only option was to stand beneath it, so that I could take in the beauty of the tree and the magnificence of the Abbey church at the same time.

melrose-jw-oct-2016-32The very name of Melrose Abbey seems to suggest elegance and majesty, and that is exactly the impression it gives in real life, as you gaze up in wonder at the soaring arches and the delicate tracery of the windows.  There’s something impossibly romantic about a ruined abbey, although I’m sure…

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Saint-Rémi, Masséot Abaquesne et la Lorraine aux musées de Rouen

Marie de Guise-Lorraine 1515-2015

En partant visiter trois musées d’art et d’histoire dans la capitale rouennaise, je ne m’attendais pas à découvrir autant d’œuvres en lien avec Marie de Lorraine: au Musée des Antiquités un fragment du tombeau de Saint-Rémi et un bréviaire de ses grands-parents, et aux Musée des Beaux-Arts et Musée de la Céramique un artiste de génie qui travaillait pour le connétable Anne de Montmorency, le “cher amy” de Marie de Lorraine reine d’Écosse.

Reims et Saint Rémi

Le plus extraordinaire de ces objets est un cristal de roche représentant le baptême du Christ, qui appartient depuis le 19e siècle aux collections de l’extraordinaire Musée des Antiquités à Rouen. Ce cristal gravé d’une dizaine de centimètres est l’unique vestige du tombeau de Saint Rémi, érigé à l’époque carolingienne et autrefois dans le chœur de l’abbatiale rémoise du même nom. En 1793, au cours de la Révolution française, le tombeau…

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