Hidden Art: The Ashmolean’s Print Room

first_imgby Elle Graham-DixonA dusty A4 sheet of paper is the only indication that the Ashmolean even has a print room. Its doors spend most of their time locked and even an art enthusiast would be forgiven for being oblivious to its presence.There is no doubt that the print room is a deliberately hidden treasure. It contains an unequalled collection of prints from Great Masters such as Raphael, Michelangelo and Hogarth, interspersed with lesser-known illustrations of social history. This is no ordinary museum space; its hushed interior is more akin to a Bodleian reading room than anything else.The prints here have been almost entirely left out of the merry-go-round of large-scale exhibitions that engage with a wider public. In terms of aesthetics and conservation, blockbuster shows would not be the right context for these works. Easily damaged by light and humidity, this archive of drawings, prints and sketches has been treated with respect for their fragility.The print room gives you the opportunity to engage with these works up close and unframed. A Leonardo drawing of a young girl and a unicorn, executed with economy of line can be placed in a well-lit room in front of you for your own personal viewing. An invaluable experience like this is a world away from the treatment of his drawings at the recent British Museum exhibition, where they were placed under high security for good reason.The room contains prints and drawings from the fifteenth century up to the present day. It ranges from topographical maps of Oxford to the collection that Ruskin himself used as lecture aids in the 1870s. Of particular interest are the Hogarth prints and other eighteenth century caricatures. It was at this point that the reproductive potential of the print was first truly exploited. Looking at this work gives us a peek into an early form of our own culture of mass-produced images.The original prints of The Harlot’s Progress (Hogarth) are fantastically detailed and rarely reproduced to actual size. At such close quarters we can access wonderful details, such as a background prostitute winking out at us, or a small black cat sniffing under the harlot’s skirt. The increased circulation of images like these helped to forge a mass media less under the thumb of the censors.  The print has a different quality to great paintings. It is designed to speak directly to the public; up close and unframed or reproduced in a newspaper. Even decorative prints were often seen more as personal works of art, souvenirs for nostalgia. Prints are more often illustrations of narratives than self-sufficient works of art. The success of images such as The Harlot’s Progress lie in their ability to relay the stories within them. To facilitate this, the print room provides the equivalent of a pictorial reading room, the catalogue: a library of hidden treasure at your disposal.last_img read more

Up, up and away

first_imgRumours of the death of the high street punter’s spending power have been grossly exaggerated. Or they have if your barometer is the public’s unwillingness to part with those modern icons of disposable income: the daily latte and muffin.Sales in the coffee shop sector are predicted to grow by nearly 9% over the next three years. “Over 50% of the population don’t use coffee shops,” stated Jim Slater, marketing director of Costa Coffee, the UK’s largest chain. “The main reason is that there isn’t a coffee shop near them to meet this blatant need.” Food accounts for roughly 60-70% of Costa’s business, but there are still huge areas to exploit.Growth is not just being driven by more shops, but a renewed focus on under-performing trading times during the day. This is the view following Allegra Strategies’ consumer research, which highlights gaps in the coffee shops’ day-part focus. “The evening opportunity is absolutely phenomenal, as the coffee shops become more and more part of the fabric of society and the chains develop their evening trade,” said MD Jeffrey Young. “But before that, there is an amazing opportunity for breakfast.”So how best to target those consumers? “People who consume coffee and eat food at different times of the day can be the same person with a different need state,” said Costa’s Slater. “We relaunched our breakfast offer this year and developed new bread carriers with our suppliers, retailers and the motorway network to understand the best products to deliver sales and profits. It resulted in a 20% like-for-like sales increase at breakfast-time across food.”While the sector is still witnessing incredible growth (see panel), the challenges ahead are significant. Starbucks’ UK CEO Darcy Willson-Rymer noted that out-of-town retail space has overtaken that of the high street. And with bakery food inflation hitting over 8% in February, how is the margin squeeze affecting the chains’ relationship with bakery suppliers?”In the UK we’ve created the most competitive coffee market in the world,” Willson-Rymer told BB. “Given the headwind in the economy and customers’ desire for ever-higher quality, I don’t see that we have any room left for pushing some of those prices up, certainly in our business.”For us that means being more efficient. For example, we’ve reconfigured how we do waste management; 95% of anything that gets thrown away in our stores gets recycled. By doing that, we’ve saved up to £700,000 a year.”While the branded chains’ growth is predicted to outstrip the independents, Australian-influenced artisanal coffee shops are booming, teaching the big boys a thing or two about quality food and coffee. “Word of mouth drives business a lot more than branding,” noted Shelagh Ryan, owner of indie business Lantana. “We focus on simple but interesting, best-quality food in a casual and welcoming environment.”There are now 100 artisan venues in London; around 70% of those weren’t there three years ago, said Allegra’s Young. “The rise of the independents has been phenomenal to see,” added Willson-Rymer. “Last year, there were about 50 coffee shops in this country where you could get a flat white; now you can get them up and down the country.”last_img read more

Bobblehead for Dodgers organist Nancy Bea off to hall of fame

first_imgNancy Bea Hefley still has hundreds of boxes to unpack since she retired as the Los Angeles Dodgers organist and moved from Southern California to Carson City last week.But on Wednesday, an item in one of those boxes became Hall of Fame-worthy. OK, not THAT hall of fame.The organist discovered her rare likeness in bobblehead form was headed to Milwaukee to be a part of next year’s inaugural display at the Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. Sklar said there will be between 7,000 and 10,000 bobbleheads as part of rotating displays and will feature stars of the four major American sports, including Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax, LeBron James and Wayne Gretzky.Hefley’s bobblehead will join Nancy Faust’s as the only two organists in the museum. Faust was the Chicago White Sox organist who retired in 2010.RIGHT TIME TO LEAVEThe 79-year-old Hefley announced her retirement shortly before the Dodgers season ended and played her last game at the organ Oct. 15 when the New York Mets won Game 5 of the National League Division Series.She said because of her husband’s health issues and the grind of the schedule and the diminished role of the organ as the Dodgers moved more to pre-recorded music, it was the right time to leave. In the 28 years she was the Dodger’s organist, she said she sometimes would play about 40 songs per game during the years the O’Malley family ran the team. Through ownership changes — Fox, Frank McCourt and now Guggenheim Baseball Management — the organ’s presence had lessened to the point where Hefley said she would sometimes only play about two songs, including “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”When she announced her retirement, she said she had to stop taking her usual walks around the box level because she would get stopped by so many people who wanted to talk with her before she left.“I often wondered if I would be able to accept it when it was time to make the change because it’s been a part of our life for so long,” she said. “But it just feels right.”RETIREMENT PERKSThere will be some upsides to her retirement, however.In addition to bobblehead honors and an invitation by the Dodgers to come back for a guest appearance — or an open invitation to whenever she wants to visit — she said she’d finally be able to see the games on television.While the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable have not been able to get other television carriers like DirecTV and Dish Network to carry the team’s games, Hefley had to follow her team’s progress on the Major League Baseball mobile app.She also found it hard to get to other stadiums since she was working for the Dodgers during the season. She said she’d like to travel and visit a few of the ballparks that she couldn’t get to during the regular season.And she said she’s already thought about what it will be like not having to work Opening Day in 2016.“I already miss the people and I’m sure I will be nostalgic,” she said. “But I’ll be thankful I’m not in that grind.” “I was pretty surprised by it,” Bea said. “I didn’t even know there was such a thing as the Bobblehead Hall of Fame. But that’s great.”LIMITED RELEASEMarc Nehamen of Ontario-based Ultimate Pastime Sports said there were 1,200 made and 200 were signed by Hefley. One of the unique aspects of the bobblehead is while the head shakes, so does her hand above the organ.It’s the only one of her in existence, and Phil Sklar, co-founder of the Bobblehead Hall of Fame, said that added to the value of having it be a part of the first exhibit in their new building in the fall.“There are 40 of Kobe, but only one of Nancy,” Sklar said. “And the value is enhanced with baseball being America’s pastime and it honors the people behind the scenes at the stadium for the 100-year existence of the game and made it so enjoyable to generations of fans.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Blatter ‘available to defend FIFA’ at US corruption trial

first_imgHe explained: “There was a contract between the FIFA president and Platini, an oral contract and then indeed a written one.“And so I paid the debt, generally when you pay a debt you are thanked. But in this case because I paid the debt I’m punished.“According to the principles instilled in me by my father who for me was a paragon of virtue, ‘ we, Blatters, pay our debts’.“And that’s also the principle that we adhere to at FIFA.”He made clear that should CAS reject his appeal, he will not give up trying to clear his name.“There are other ways to get the ban lifted,” he suggested, saying he could take his case to Swiss justice, or take out a civil action.“But for me I’m confident CAS will overturn the decision,” he stated.Irrespective of the outcome of his CAS hearing, Blatter plans to attend the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia as a guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, although if he were to attend a match he would be flouting the terms of his suspension.“I’ve got an invitation to go to Russia,” he said.“I will go Russia. Going to Russia doesn’t mean that I’m going to watch games. They can’t stop me travelling. I go where I want to.”He refused to pass comment on his successor Infantino’s performance since taking over the top job in football in February.“I don’t have a verdict. I don’t even know his programme and I’m letting him get on with it.”Share on: WhatsApp Basel, Switzerland | AFPFormer FIFA president Sepp Blatter told AFP Friday he “is available” to appear as a witness at a United States trial into mass corruption in world football.“Yes. When they need me to defend FIFA, I will be available,” Blatter said, when asked if he would be prepared to attend the trial into the sweeping bribery scandal that has sparked an unprecedented crisis at the top of the game.US prosecutors were hoping the hearing of 39 officials and marketing executives accused of soliciting and receiving tens of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks would begin in February 2017.But on Thursday, the US judge overseeing the corruption scandal postponed setting a trial date until after prosecutors share the bulk of evidence being collated in the massive investigation.Blatter, with suspended European football chief Michel Platini, was banned from all football activities for eight years in December over an infamous two million Swiss franc ($2 million, 1.8 million euro) payment Platini received in 2011 from the then-FIFA president.The suspensions were cut to six years in February.Blatter, since replaced as FIFA president by Gianni Infantino, is awaiting a date for an appeal against his ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).Platini was told earlier Friday his CAS appeal will be heard on April 29.Blatter, attending a debate on FIFA reforms at Basel University, commented: “It’s good news that CAS has made progress with Platini’s case. I think my case will be handled shortly after.”The 80-year-old Swiss added: “I believe that now, finally, at CAS, they are going to talk about justice, and not just speculation.“That means it’s justice that will prove if the accused is guilty and not the accused who has to prove his innocence.”He says his appeal is based on the principle that “the Blatters pay their debts”.last_img read more

Parliament welcomes health benefits of golf

first_img Members of Parliament have hailed the health benefits of golf, following a recently published scientific review by researchers at the University of Edinburgh. A motion has been tabled in the House of Commons welcoming the review, which highlights the considerable physical and mental health benefits of the sport. The review, supported by the World Golf Foundation, found that golfers live longer than non-golfers, playing golf improves cholesterol levels and body composition, and also appears to improve wellness and self-confidence. Golf is also expected to decrease the risk of more than 40 major chronic diseases (See below for more information). The motion welcomes “the collaborative approach highlighted thus far by the World Golf Foundation, the Royal and Ancient, PGAs of Europe, the European Tour, and the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews” and “looks forward to members and the public alike benefiting from the health benefits of this great sport.” The motion was tabled by Co-Chairman of the Parliamentary Golf Group, Stephen Gethins MP. He said: “This report is welcome and shows the huge range of health benefits that golf brings to people of all ages. This review will be of major interest to policymakers in the UK, as it reveals the benefits of the sport for longevity, but also for quality of life. “Golf clearly plays an important role in maintaining a healthy, active population, and I look forward to seeing further research into the impact of the sport on health, particularly for older people. I hope that people in my constituency of North East Fife and across the UK will continue to pick up their clubs and enjoy the considerable health and social benefits that golf delivers.” Also signing the motion was Group Co-Chairman and Member of Parliament for Lincoln, Karl McCartney MP. He said: “Since the Parliamentary Golf Group was established last year, we have been keen to promote the health benefits of the sport. I welcome this review, and in particular its finding that golfers of all ages and abilities can gain the same health benefits as those at the elite level, including better physical and mental health outcomes and likely longer life. “Golf is the fifth largest sport in the UK in terms of participation, and I hope that we can continue to encourage people of all ages to take part, and enjoy the health benefits that a round can provide.” Lead researcher, Dr Andrew Murray, commented “Our review is clear that golf has overall health benefits. Golf provides moderate intensity physical activity, which is recommended by the World Health Organisation for its key role in improving life expectancy, helping prevent over 40 major chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, and improving mental health. “Golf can provide health benefits for people of all ages and backgrounds. The interest and leadership of Stephen Gethins, Karl McCartney and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Golf in promoting the health benefits of the sport, and policies that promote growing the game is so important in helping people and populations gain the physical, mental, and social benefits golf can provide.” Steve Mona, World Golf Foundation CEO, added: “This scientific review is clear that golf can improve the health and well-being of the 55 million people in over 200 countries that play the game worldwide.  The World Golf Foundation is committed to growing the game, and to do this we warmly welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Golf at the UK parliament, with a clear focus on increasing interest and participation in our sport.” The full text of the motion is as follows: Early day motion 409 – Golf and Health That this House welcomes the recent scientific review by the University of Edinburgh relating to golf and health published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine; notes that this study highlights that golf can provide moderate intensity physical activity as advocated by the World Health Organisation and our four home nations’ Chief Medical Officers’; further notes that this study outlines that, whilst the 55 million golfers worldwide, ranging from four to 104 years old may not win the Ryder Cup, or indeed the Open Championship, they can gain the same benefits such players obtain through golf including better physical and mental health outcomes and likely longer life; is pleased that the report is being widely shared by player ambassadors such as Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player, Padraig Harrington as well as members of our European and United States Ryder Cup teams; encourages others to consider the report’s implications, and look out for future research from this group; further welcomes the collaborative approach highlighted thus far by the World Golf Foundation, the Royal and Ancient, PGAs of Europe, the European Tour, and the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews; and looks forward to hon. Members and the public alike benefiting from the health benefits of this great sport.   6 October 2016 Golf is good for you – it’s official Golf can help you live longer, cut the risk of many chronic diseases and improve your self-esteem, according to a research project. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh reviewed 5000 papers to assess the health and well-being benefits of the game. These include a five-year increase in life expectancy and improved quality of life, as well as physical and mental health benefits. Golf is expected to decrease the risk of more than 40 major chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, colon and breast cancer.  Current research shows that golf has positive impacts on cholesterol, body composition, metabolism, and longevity. The project highlights that in a round of golf a player will take up to 17,000 steps, walk up to eight miles and burn up to 1200 calories. Regular golf can also help reduce anxiety, improve confidence and boost self-esteem, all of which contribute to improved mental wellbeing. England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink commented: “This is great news. Through our Get into golf campaign we’ve been spreading the message that golf is good for your health and we’ve shared stories of people whose lives have improved by playing the game. “This research makes it clear that our enjoyable and sociable sport has a very important part to play in the government’s strategy to tackle inactivity and we look forward to encouraging even more people to take up the game.” Get into golf is England Golf’s campaign to inspire people to take up the sport with great value coaching from PGA professionals. To find an activity near you and to read more about the benefits of playing golf visit www.getintogolf.org Get into golf is supported by National Lottery funding. The Golf & Health project is supported by all of golf’s major organisations and an initial eight ambassadors with more than 30 majors and 350 wins between them. They are Aaron Baddeley (Australia), Annika Sorenstam (Sweden), Brooke Henderson (Canada), Gary Player (South Africa), Padraig Harrington (Ireland), Ryann O’Toole (USA), So Yeon Ryu (South Korea), and Zach Johnson (USA). The project has been launched by the World Golf Foundation and the scoping review has been published in the world’s leading sports medicine and science journal, The British Journal of Sports Medicine. Steve Mona, CEO of the World Golf Foundation, said:  “This project is something we can all get behind, as it is universally agreed that golf is good for you. It is going to provide real, tangible resources that can be used by governments and politicians, professional tours, governing bodies, golf businesses, PGA Professionals and more – all to the sport’s benefit.” Find out more at www.golfandhealth.org Image copyright Leaderboard Photography 6 Oct 2016 Parliament welcomes health benefits of golf last_img read more