Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

How Do You Respond to “Cheers”? (And Pubs)

September 12th, 2009 · 4 Comments

My time in England is almost up. I have done more reading on Roman London that I care to share with someone I would maybe like to keep as a friend. I have been to many neighborhoods in both the East and the West Ends of London. I am not only very good looking man but like to think I’m intelligent. Despite this overwhelming evidence that I would know at least something about London, I am stumped by a six letter word that nearly every single British person uses on a daily basis: “cheers”. In my time in this country, I have heard it used in no less than five different situations. For example, I recently had the following conversation with a cashier at Boots:

(I walk up)

Cashier: Cheers

(He checks my items and I hand him money)

Cashier: Cheers

(I am handed my receipt and walk away)

Cashier: Cheers

While I haven’t actually confronted a British person about this, it is astounding to realize the flexibility of a word that truly has next to little relevance in terms of its actual definition. The only problem is, that as an American whenever I’m greeted with the prospect of responding to “cheers”, I usually come miles short of saying anything intelligent/intelligible. I instead find myself in the simply perfect situation of mumbling something and proceeding to exit as quickly as possible. My guess is I still have a lot to learn. I can only imagine how such a word got to be such that it can be used for literally every situation, but the easiest guess to make is it originated from pub culture in England.

In terms of drinking, socializing, and the combination of the two, I feel like England and most of Europe are light-years ahead of us. In the United States, we have come under the unfortunate situation that drinking has become very much like a forbidden fruit for anyone who is legally prohibited to consume alcohol. Rather than just acknowledge that alcohol exists, we Americans in general treat it like it is something that should never be done by teenagers at any time, which of course then makes it thousands of times more desirable to do. When we are finally able to do it as young adults, we make the mistake of centering entire events around it, making it difficult to casually drink.

In my time in London pubs, I have seen quite a difference in their drinking culture to its American counterpart. The first and most interesting difference is the time in which people go to pubs. While in America it is generally seen as uncool to go to a bar any earlier than 10pm, large crowds of people in England are already drinking outside of pubs as early as 4pm. Already, this signifies that people are not so much interested in getting drunk than just having a few drinks. The other major element that seems to warped in American drinking culture that the British have also got right is the social element. In the United States, bars have been turned into places to meet people romantically (or not so romantically). English pubs on the other hand seem to be more open socially. On a clear day, you can typically see just as many people outside of a pub mingling as there are people inside. Additionally there doesn’t seem to be any strict groups, as people just float from one group to the next at will. Because all of the forbidden nature of alcohol has been removed from their perception, British people can instead enjoy both nice ale and the company of friends without sacrificing one for the other. Whether America catches on seems yet to be determined, but in the meantime I will gladly take advantage of the generally more pleasant British pub culture. Cheers.

Tags: Paul

Bloody Hell.

September 12th, 2009 · 3 Comments

I feel the need to pop the Blood Brothers cherry in the Norwich Humanities blog. Let’s just say I wasn’t exactly impressed, to put it lightly, nor do I think many of us were. Unfortunately, I’m not a great lover of musicals in general, so I already had a bit of a strike against me going into the performance, but I felt my mind was open enough. After the first number or two, I began to realize what I was in for, though I tried my best to take the play for what it was all throughout the first act. Unfortunately, what it was was an over-the-top, stereotypical fluff musical marred by samey 80’s inspired music, bizarre British superstitions, melodrama, sound mixing that was too loud even for me, and too many mentions of the name “Marilyn Monroe.” By act two I could barely keep it together. Every time the narrator/Greek chorus/God figure made an appearance onstage (which was about every thirty seconds), Sarah and I would start snarfing, and then the Bon Jovi-esque drums would come in, and it was all over for me. I think my lip is bleeding from biting it so hard, and the narrator man is going to haunt my dreams.

Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh, but some of my attitude is coming from being a bit punchy from working on my walking tour for too long. In all honesty, I thought most of the acting was quite good, especially given the fact that the actors didn’t often have a lot of character to work with. I also thought the story itself actually had potential to be interesting, even though it’s one of those stories you come across several times a lifetime (I was reminded heavily of the Prince and the Pauper and even White Teeth, though the themes are a bit different in the latter). The “nature vs. nurture” theme is an interesting one to consider in light of the class structure in England, since at the end Mickey laments that if only he had been the twin to go to the Lyons’ his life would have turned out very differently, without pain or struggle. This is an interesting note to end on without further exploration in the play, since the wealthier characters never seem to be happy with their lot, either: Mrs. Lyons was unable to have a baby, and when she finally got one, she lived her whole life in fear of anyone finding out what she had done, and Eddie was torn between two worlds, as well as struggling with his secret love for Linda. I understand that the play is supposed to be a tragedy, but I would have been happier with the ending if I got more of a sense that the characters (or the ones that were still alive) had learned something, rather than just crying over the dead bodies before the curtain dropped. And there was a standing ovation. There wasn’t a standing ovation at Pitmen Painters, but there was for Blood Brothers.

Frankly, I just don’t think there are many musicals out there that will ever grab me (besides Urinetown!, but the whole premise of that one is to mock musicals themselves). I also thought Blood Brothers suffered from a severe case of melodrama, cookie-cutter characters, overproduction (I mean, really, I don’t need a drastic light cue as well as an ominous synthesizer noise to tell me something’s about to happen)…and those damn 80’s hair band drum fills.

Tags: Chelsea · Theatre

Identity; or, Identification (Cont’d.)

September 12th, 2009 · No Comments

     This post is in response to the excerpt that Professor Qualls shared with us from his upcoming book. In this introductory chapter, he raises several key points which translate into our discussions about race, ethnicity and identification in London.

     First, he uses the term “identification” rather than “identity.” I feel that this terminology is much more appropriate – even somehow liberating – in that it implies a choice and agency whereas the term “identity” connotes a sense of inescapability.  

     Second, Professor Qualls claims that “[a]s with memory, urban identifications are both internally and externally manufactured.” This can be seen in London, especially. The language barrier and cultural difference that immigrants inevitably experience coming to a foreign country certainly play a role in this “process of identification.” It is reasonable that immigrant communities would identify much more readily with a community that theirs their cultural, religious and linguistic traditions. It is the external forces, then, that cause problems.

     Indeed, Qualls mentions that “[i]dentification can be either categorical or relational.” When outsiders (external forces) categorize or imagine relationships between immigrant groups where none might exist at all*, they are essentially “othering” those populations, isolating them from the rest of society and making it virtually impossible for any foreigner to feel comfortable here, let alone the possibility of “assimilation” – which I think is a completely ethnocentric idea to begin with.

     It is not the responsibility of immigrant populations to adapt to the country in which they are residing, so long as they learn to respect that country. But this is a two-way-street. Locals must also learn to respect those immigrant populations which whom they share their space.

     Particularly in London, these unique immigrant communities are what makes the city uniquely “London.” Or, to, yet again, quote Qualls: “maintaining past traditions was essential to the stability and happiness of the population, which in turn would reflect well on the central regime.”


*Some of you may remember the story Andrew Fitzgerald, Andrew Barron and I shared with you at the beginning of the course: At our market in Elephant and Castle, we witnessed an altercation between a darker-skinned customer and a white, cockney fruit and veg vendor. The vendor called the customer a “Paki” and obviously had no legitimate basis for determining this man’s ethnicity. Just because the customer had darker skin, the cockney vendor “related” him to a Pakistani. This is a dangerous comparison which only serves to fuel racism.

Tags: Anya

Dancing Up a Sandstorm at the Moons Over My Hammy: Pubs and Pub Culture

September 12th, 2009 · 4 Comments

Shame on you, Mr. Orwell, for stealing my pub blog post opening gambit: talk about all of the little aspects of my idea of a perfect London pub only to reveal that regrettably (spoiler alert) no such pub exists. That was totally my plan halfway through your essay! Sure, you wrote yours 63 years earlier but, come on, mine is actually for a grade.

With only three and a half weeks of London under my belt I wouldn’t profess to know as much as George Orwell about London pubs, but I had intuitively been coming to the same conclusion before I read The Moon Under Water. No pub (speaking for myself) comes even close to appealing all the time. If I want to have a quick pint or two and a plate of chips with a few friends on a weeknight, I’ll go to the Marlborough Arms. If it’s a weekend night and there’s nine of us and I want to be packed like a sardine and converse in my loudest American voice to cacophonous strains of either Aha’s Take On Me or Franz Ferdinand’s This Fire, I’ll head up to The Court. If I’m feeling adventurous and looking for something new, I’ll head farther afield. I’m surprised Orwell found a single pub that even satisfied eight of his ten criteria, actually, although it was a different era and he’d been to a lot more pubs than I have.

I don’t think I’m really getting that much of a sense of British culture through going to pubs yet, but it certainly does seem to be one of the only public spaces we’ve seen that does seem to have any degree of sociability. The English don’t seem to usually be gregarious with people they don’t know ever ( be it on the tube, in the park or at a pub), but it is the only place we’ve seen the English really commune with friends and share stories, celebrations, anxieties etc. This obviously is the same with American bars, but the ubiquity of pubs (although they’re getting less ubiquitous) and the fact that it’s socially acceptable for everyone to go seems to make them more of a fixture in British life. I’ve sensed some disappointment that so many pubs actually seem to have a mostly age 30-50 clientele, but I think that’s proof that pubs are a centre of everyone’s social life , much in the way that bars were in the US until about the 1970s.

I have a feeling going to pubs in Norwich will give me a lot more insight into pub culture in England than being in London has. I would imagine pubs will be even more central to social life in a city without the myriad other diversions London has, and the lack of tourists and recent city transplants will perhaps make for a more typical English pub scene with more regulars and lower prices. I know I’ll be comparing and contrasting the experience of going to pubs with other students and the experience of venturing into pubs in the city (and comparing and contrasting the places we go as well) once we’re there.

Oh, and Mr. Orwell, let me tell you about my favorite London pub. It’s a little off the beaten path but still close by. It’s called the Moons Over My Hammy, after the borderline inedible Denny’s breakfast entrée and thus is full of ironic Americana décor. However, everyone there (but me) is English, and unusually gregarious. There is plenty of seating indoors but a good atmosphere out on the pavement, too. There’s a different football match on every TV screen, and you don’t need to buy a drink to watch. The music is always great and (this is most important) every hour starting at 10 (on the hour) Darude’s techno-pop hit “Sandstorm” is played, and everyone dances intensely for its duration. Oh yeah, “Sandstorm.” I understand this is fanciful and unrealistic, but so is the idea that there ought to be a pub somewhere just for you.

Tags: Aidan

A lesson on “wealth” management.

September 12th, 2009 · 2 Comments


This past Week we had the privilege to visit Barclays Wealth Management, the Royal Albert Hall as well as the Globe and the National Theatre (both on the same day). I am an American Studies major, therefore the fields of business, economics and “wealth” are, unfortunately, of no interest to me, yet something about Barclay’s sparked my interest in more than just the economics of wealth.

We sat through an intricate presentation titled “The City of London and the Banking Sector,” from which I learned the following:

-The City of London and Canary Wharf are London’s financial center

-London is the main European banking center and hosts the largest international insurance market as well as the largest foreign exchange market

-There was a credit crash in 2006 which caused a major job loss and the downhill slope of the stock exchange

-Barclays Bank is located in 60 different countries, 140,000 employees

-The company manages the wealth of people who own a “fair amount of assets,” “fair”=”wealthy”= £1,000,000

-The GDP in the world’s major economies dropped to the negatives by 2009, and are expected o rise in 2010

-UK’s average salary is £28,000 a year

-Most wealth still resides in the US but Asia currently houses the fastest growing economies in the world; Barclays seeks to expand to Asia

Oh and last but not least, the workers of Barclays Wealth Management are given two days of the year to go and do community work at an assigned institution.

After their very interesting presentation, I approached one of the employees and asked him to tell me a little bit more about the type of philanthropy they are engaged in, he was excited to explain. He stated that there is a philanthropy department of the company who is in charge of helping wealthy people decide where to put their money, in other words which charities are more logical to donate to. I did not take this idea very well, but what can I do, I guess at least they’re pretending to care about the community. Evidently, based on their presentation, all that they really care about is making money. I am glad to be embarking on a path extremely distant from the business world.

All of this money talk and then “As You Like it,” a play of comedy and love the next day, “Pitmen Painters” later in the afternoon. To be capable of attending two plays in one day after a presentation about wealth management makes me feel extremely privileged. I just had a moment where I realized how lucky we are to be in our very own shoes. Dickinson (and all affiliated donors and organizations) has truly blessed us with the gift to see and experience a world not so different from our own, yet filled with new adventures to seek.

Summary: Braclay’s Wealth Management cares about making profit and I care about plays that both inspire and entertain the soul.

Tags: Flow

class struggle, identity, ART & The Pitmen Painters

September 12th, 2009 · 1 Comment

How do you write about something that inspires you? How do you describe something that reminds you why you love to create? How do you interpret something that teaches you the importance of people of all classes? Well I guess you could start by giving it a name: The Pitmen Painters play at the National Theater. Now I am not a theater person myself. And although we have seen quite a few plays up to this point, Troilus and Cresida, Alls Well That Ends Well, Arcadia, none of them have sparked my interest enough to blog about them until the Pitmen Painters last night. It was so much more than a play about the struggle of the lower classes, or the search for IDENTITY in London society, or even the importance of art to modern society; it was about DISCOVERY. It touched on the heart of what it meant to strive for more, without even knowing you were striving for more, yet knowing you DESERVED more.

While the theme of artistry was what I related to the most in the play (which I will go into more detail about later on), the idea of class and personal identity separate of class identity was another theme I found moving. The class system has traditionally been very prominent in British culture. As we have seen in our various reading thus far in the class, it is still very much an existing prejudice here in London. Although we have spent most of our time studying the prejudices against many immigrant and ethnic communities of more middle to lower classes, this play focused on the disadvantage lower class uneducated miners. As these men took this art class, and began to create and fmailiaritize themselves with art, they still tried to retainer their IDENTITY as miners. Yet, when their instructors strives to use them to prove that all “lower classes” are capable of artistic achievement, the miners reject this, and strive for their own individual identities as artists, separate from other people of their class. In this way I think that the play was able to capture the essence of what we have learned from our readings, visiting various religious sites, and seeing the immigrant communities and markets. Essentially, how does one balance personal identity with group identity. At what cost to the group—whether it be religious, class, ethnic, or other social structure—does one get to be an individual, or a Londoner? Or a native? Or British? In the same way that these miners tried to maintain both identities and form a new one, migrating and immigrant groups to London must find a balance between who they were in their group, and who they want to be to fit in in London. The play also touched on a another more personal level. As an artist myself, I found the play to be especially moving on an artistic level. Since I have been to London, I have hardly drawn and have certainly not embarked on any larger scale artistic projects. There have been reasons and justifications of course, too busy, too tired, not enough space. But Oliver’s struggle to balance the pressures of his role in society as a miner, with his desire and growing passion for art and learning reminded me that art is more than a hobby. When Helen Sutherland confronts Oliver about his artistic future, she does not try to sway him by reassuring him of his talent or artistic ability, instead she tells him that he “thinks like an artist.” Art is not a thing you do, it is who you are. I found this to be one of the most touching parts of the play. It reminded me why I create. It’s not because I like to, or want to, or even because I am good at. No, I create because I have to. ART is not something I do, it is WHO I AM.

If you’re interested in my own personal art, check out my weebsite: MNL.

Tags: Megan · Theatre

The Myth of the English Pub

September 12th, 2009 · No Comments

Arriving in London almost a month ago now, one aspect of the city I was looking forward to experiencing was the pub. There was the obvious allure of being able to consume alcohol legally in a pub, but also I was intrigued by the mystique surrounding English pubs. Nearly everyone I had talked to about what to do with my time in London said that it was a necessity to spend numerous evenings in pubs. One family friend went as far to say that it just is not proper to go to England and not drink in various pubs. They also told me that I would be missing out on a vital part of English culture if I would not go to various different pubs for drinking and observing. Another friend who had lived here for a roughly two years said that she would let me experience the pubs firsthand before telling me her views on pubs and how they reflect on English culture. I thought it was more of an excuse so she wouldn’t have to discuss the cultural importance of pubs.
But now that I have spent nearly a month here in London during which I have been able to visit numerous pubs, I can see why she didn’t spoil the surprise. English pubs as we think of them back home are more mythological than real. They are not ideal places of social drinking that only exist in the misty setting of England. We have very similar places back home; with the defining difference being that pub-like places back home do not have the reputation that English pubs have here. Up until I was about ten, my dad was the manager of the Knights of Columbus Club and Restaurant. In this area there was a banqueting hall, dining room, and then a bar area with tables. The last area, the bar and eating area, was what I was immediately reminded of when I entered my first pub here, the Marlborough Arms. The atmospheres are very similar, as are the styles of service. The sense of familiarity in the pubs here was one I was used to seeing at the Knights of Columbus. There were the regulars and newcomers and a general sense of welcome to anyone who dropped by for a drink. It was a spot where people would gather for major sports events and celebrations. Pubs here were like taking step back into my childhood, but now I was able to be an active participant instead of a mere observer.
Not only did the pubs remind me of a place I regularly observed as a child, but it reminds me of other places back home. There are the pubs we try to have back home, like the Market Cross Pub in Carlisle. Even though I’ve only eaten there a few times, the atmosphere there is very reminiscent of the pubs here. Once again, you have the regulars, conversations flowing freely between tables, and the sense of the pub being a communal area for watching sports and other major events. Now, I cannot say if this is just an American style of mimicking something good created by the British, or if this is just a characteristic shared by the two cultures. What I do know though, is that I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences in the pubs of London if not only for the cultural experience but also the chance to expand my knowledge of ales and ciders. From this, I do not find English pubs to be intimidating or even that mysterious. I have observed similar drinking and eating places back home and even though I did not know it at the time prepared me to have a better grasp of the English pub.

Tags: Kimberly

Sir John Soane, The Pitmen Painters and Life

September 12th, 2009 · No Comments

During the past few days I have been trying to tie up a few loose ends before preparing for the big presentation Anya, Audrey, Maddie, Megan and I are putting on in front of the Alumni next Tuesday night while simultaneously  packing for UEA. This morning I decided to visit the Sir John Soane Museum. Going into the visit I had heard very mixed feelings about it. Some of my classmates loved it while others did not at all. 

One thing that distinguishes the Sir John Soane museum from other prominent London museums is that it is only open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 6 days a week so people only have a slim window of time to visit. This morning I arrived in front of the museum five minutes before ten and there was already a queue of people lined up in front of me anxiously waiting to get in. Looking at the outside of 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields nothing about the building struck me as spectacular. Once I stepped inside however this changed dramatically. The Sir John Soane museum essentially showcases all of Sir John’s home which contains, to put it colloquially, a whole lot o’ stuff. Walking through I wondered where he obtained many of the objects he had sitting throughout the building. 

After walking through Sir John’s library and his two studies I made my way into his picture room. Here I was utterly amazed to see a multitude of works by William Hogarth, most prominently a series of paintings entitled ‘A Rake’s Progress‘ which Hogarth is best known for. ‘A Rakes Progress’ depicts the life of a man named Tom Rakewell who abandons the mother of his baby, makes poor choices and spirals his life out of control before going mad. Hogarth elegantly displays this transformation on eight works of art, all of which Sir John had hanging on the wall of his picture room. 

The other part of the Soane museum that amazed me was the crypt. Down below Soane had a large variety of sculptures and other fascinating objects. Perhaps the most intriguing was the Sepulchral Chamber which featured the sarcophagus of King Seti I who ruled Egypt from 1303-1290 BC. Soane purchased the Sarcophagus from Giovanni Belzoni in 1824 outbidding the British museum and adding just another piece of history to his already vastly historical collection. 

After completing my tour of Sir John’s humble abode I was struck by the sheer amount of objects Soane had in his home. In certain parts of the house there was almost no room  to move around because there were so many things hanging on the walls. I can’t imagine anyone today keeping all of that fortune sitting around in their home. It would be stolen in a heartbeat. I also can’t imagine obtaining the sheer number of sculptures, paintings and trinkets that Soane had lying within. 


On Thursday night our class saw a performance of the Pitmen Painters at the National Theatre. Based off of a true story the play focuses on the life of four miners and how their lives are transformed through their appreciation of art. What’s significant about the Pitmen Painters is that they have next to no material possessions, are some of the most simple minded fellows on the planet and are unable to think in the abstract. The catch is that they are content with their lives for the most part. They don’t need much else. 

It’s funny how everyone’s definition of wealth is relative. When Oliver, one of the Pitmen Painters, started to appreciate art a whole new world was opened up to him and his life felt that much more expansive. The Pitmen Painters had a chance to go to London and upon coming back they saw that there was more out there than their little world in the mines.  I wonder what Sir John Soane would do if  the reverse happened and he had to spend a some time in the life of a Pitmen Painter? Somehow I think Soane would be a little bit thrown off. When you have the ability to get anything you want whenever you want it makes it hard to take a step back and take life as it comes to you. 

But is it?

To connect this to William Shakespeare’s As You Like It (which we saw at the globe theatre on Thursday) i’d like to point out the example of  Duke Senior who is usurped from his thrown and sent to the countryside where he forms his own court. Duke Senior is immediately thrown from a life of wealth and power into one of simplicity yet he seems to react completely unfazed. As we observe his actions throughout the play it actually seems that he enjoys the simplicity of  country life a bit more. He welcomes in Orlando and Adam when they have nearly perished from starvation even though he does not have the unlimited supply of food to offer that he would have had as Duke.


So…drawing from these three examples found right here in London I am about to get deeply philosophical. What is it we desire as students, with our  Dickinson education that costs us thousands of dollars? Do we wish to live a life where material possessions run our lives and collecting antiques becomes simply a hobby? Or do we wish to live a life of simplicity where all that matters is what is immediately around us? I’m guessing most people will fall in the middle somewhere. We have made the choice to take this year to learn and be immersed in another culture. Even though the majority of people in England speak the same language as us we have already realized that there are vast cultural differences here beyond our wildest dreams.  At the end of this trip we will have expanded our horizons and seen things that we’ve never had the opportunity to see before. That is a given. The key is what we take from these experiences. If there’s one thing i’ve learned from London so far it’s that things can change in a heartbeat here. It may be something as simple the weather, or something as vast as a new ethnic community moving into the east end. I hate to get cliche here but I think we can view London as a metaphor for life. There may be times where we find ourselves in Duke Senior’s situation where everything we thought was ours is completely taken away and we’re forced to adapt. Perhaps we’ll be faced with a life changing revelation like the Pitmen Painters when they discover art? Maybe we’ll even have the chance to live like Sir John Soane? All I know is that I am going to take in all I can of London in these next four days. Who knows what else can be found?

Tags: Henry · Museums · Theatre

My future home.

September 12th, 2009 · 1 Comment

   I have to say I was pretty excited when I heard that Sir John Soane’s Museum is filled with THINGS. Not only THINGS, but precious antiquities and works of art. Little did I know that these antiquities would include Images from the Past: Rome in the Photography of Peter Paul Mackey, a wooden mummy case, a Chinese printed scroll dated 1711, and Italian sculptures right in one’s backyard in Central London. Upon entering the actual museum, I thought “This is what my future home will probably look like.” Full of things that no one else would understand for why they are kept in a house but John Soane had a clear mission. To collect items that sparked his interest, his passion, items that would be questioned by others not only during his lifetime but centuries later. That would explain his construction choices, the placement of certain objects, the lighting, the different feel of each room and exhibition. All of these choices have made for a great museum.

   The tour guide at the door was not too happy when a couple of us acknowledged the fact that all we knew about Sir John is that he was an influential architect during the 18th Century. All he told us was to watch out for Sir John’s design of the windows, as how he intended for natural light to be used. With the words from the tour guide in mind: “Whether or not you will like the museum, you will not be able to deny that this is a special place” I proceeded to the living room, where Sir John actually did his “living” considering that this is the only room of the house that looked somewhat cozy. Observing his library filled with books of highest rarity, I knew I was in for a treat, and was going to find something that I was not able to in the rest of the museums seen in London. 

   The lighting of the constructed house was truly magical. Being a neo-classical architect upon constructing the museum in 1808-09 Soane used primary top lighting while including stained glass. After doing more research, the lighting and the architecture of Soane’s house seemed to provide toplit spaces and in miniature form an idea of the lighting contrived by Soane himself for the toplit banking halls at the Bank of England. Another aspect of the museum that I found fascinating was the room that holds all of the paintings collected by Soane throughout time. During the 1820’s and 1830’s, Soane collected works by contemporary artists, many whom were specially commissioned in order to encourage continuous painting by the students. Upon entering the room, one is under the impression that there is only one layer of paintings that are showcased in the room; however, upon a twist of a knob by a museum employee revealed layers and layers of art. As in a fairy-tale, Richard Westall’s Milton Dictating to His Daughters, Sir Joshua Reynolds’ The Snake in the Grass and Sir John Soane’s own sketches of Bank of London, Buckingham House,  Cambridge buildings were all in front of me. As I moved from room to room, I could not believe the riches that Sir John was able to collect and keep within his house.

   Questioning how he was able to store Roman sculptures made from stone and marble in his back yard, I left thinking that Sir John was one talented architect who had a major influence on the city of London but also someone who had major appreciation for art in general. His collection definitely required major monetary contributions which a person like myself will probably not be able to have  as a collectible in “my future home.” However, I do love the fact that the house is being used for the purposes that he set out for. It is a museum, a structure that allows students as well as any other individuals wishing to stroll through this house, to observe what this one man could find and collect.

Tags: Jeyla · Museums