Archive | October 2014

Rosetta and the comet

From soft warm landing places for a cat to cold, hopefully not-too hard ones for scientific probes: Rosetta sent back this image on 26 October, taken from a distance of about 7.8 km from the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by NAVCAM, its on-board navigation camera.

The surface of

The surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, photographed from Rosetta. Photo by ESA, 26 October 2014.

The total area shown in this mosaic photo made up of four separate frames is approximately 1,200 metres x 1,350 metres. It shows part of the larger of the two lobes that make up the comet; the scientific probe Philae will be landing on the other, smaller lobe, but in a similarly ‘featureless’ area, if all goes well.

Philae’s landing is scheduled for Wednesday 12 November 2014. Philae will separate from Rosetta at 09.03 GMT; the descent will take some 7 hours. The signal confirming touchdown is expected to be received on earth at round about 16.00 GMT that day. I’ll be following it with bated breath.

Mmmm, comfy: Part 3

This was taken about ten years ago, when Hecate (aka The Humbug, Wabsy, The Piglet, Heckington Schmeckworth, The Wabulizer, Heckers, Tubsy, and any number of other nicknames) was fairly young and keen on finding herself comfy, already-warmed nesting spots …

She only did this a couple of times, but luckily I was on hand to record it. I don’t know whose dignity comes off worse—Hecate’s, or Chap’s. I mean, look at those slippers …

Hecate in her pant hammock. Mmmm, comfy.

Hecate in her pant hammock. Mmmm, comfy.

Stourhead’s autumn colours

Chap and I headed out to Stourhead this morning to get a fix of autumn colours. The gardens open at 9 and we got there at about 9.30, and there were already plenty of people there. Unsurprisingly most of them seemed to be taking photos.

We did our usual circuit walk around the lake, anticlockwise this time. The colours are pretty good this year but I wonder if the best is still to come.

Stourhead. The Palladian Bridge in the foreground and the Pantheon on the other side of the lake.

Stourhead. The Palladian bridge in the foreground and the Pantheon on the other side of the lake.

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The Temple of Apollo.

The Temple of Apollo.

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View across the lake to the Temple of Flora.

The Pantheon, newly reopened after restoration works this summer.

The Pantheon, newly reopened after restoration works this summer. Look at the red of that acer – it gives that lady’s coat a run for its money!

Beautiful Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) on the island in the lake.

Beautiful tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) on one of the islands in the lake.

in his grotto.

The river god, representing the River Stour, in his grotto.

Looking back at **8 through the grotto. Love the pebble floor!

Looking back at the river god through the grotto. Love the pebble floor! To the right in this view is the sleeping nymph.

The sleeping nymph in the grotto.

The sleeping nymph in the grotto.

The Bristol Cross, the Palladian Bridge and over on the other side of the lake, the Pantheon.

The Bristol Cross, the Palladian bridge and over on the other side of the lake, the Pantheon.

On the drive home from Stourhead, just to the south of the estate: fantastic little estate smallholding, with outbuildings for livestock. We could see geese, ducks and guinea fowl!

On the drive home from Stourhead, just to the south of the gardens en route to the wonderfully named village of Gasper: a fantastic little estate smallholding, with outbuildings for livestock. We could see geese, ducks and guinea fowl!

The autumn colours are still developing. Alan Power, the Head Gardener at Stourhead, gives updates on his Twitter feed, as well as tweeting some amazing photos (he’s definitely got a better camera and waaaaaay more skill than me!).

On it I found out that in August this year the gardens at Stourhead were Google mapped: soon you’ll be able to take a virtual walk around the estate, courtesy of Google and this young man!

And I have to include this photo that I found on Alan’s twitter feed: it’s the most stunning view of Stourhead, taken by James Aldred in May this year from one of the taller trees on the estate:

Stourhead. Stunning photo by James Aldred.

Stourhead. Stunning photo by James Aldred in May 2014, showing the Temple of Apollo on its heights, and the Palladian bridge in the foreground.

Update on Friday 31 October: I have just heard Alan Power on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, doing his annual description of the gardens, interviewed by the wonderful Eddie Mair. Alan has such a poetic way of describing the gardens, and his horticultural contributions are rightly a favourite part of PM’s annual cycle. He was recorded this afternoon, chatting for about 8 minutes on the programme, with the full 11½ minute interview available here. It’s well worth a listen: he clearly adores his job, the gardens, the plants and the people who visit, gaining pleasure from their pleasure, and he has a great eye for detail and a passion to share his delight in these fabulous gardens. A few lyrical snippets:

‘Trees in full autumnal song’

‘Early last week we had some wind come through the country … and on its way it undressed some of the trees’

‘On the island there’s a tulip tree that’s been rattled by the wind a little bit and its internal branches have no leaves left and it’s just haloed with a golden yellow’

‘And there’s architecture in the plants as well … looking across to the trees in the distance and there are some poplar trees and some birch trees by the grotto at Stourhead and they’re, they’re bolt upright you could describe them as, so their stems are really striking from a distance, really grey stems and they’re almost the same colour as the columns on top of the Pantheon, so you’ve got architecture within the soft planting and you’ve got the harder architecture of the eighteenth-century temples.’

‘The leaves have been falling gently and they haven’t been frightened by the frosts.’

Alan has been talking to PM about the autumn colours at Stourhead for six years now, and it’s just a delight.

Butterfly enamel jewellery: fluttery butterfly loveliness

I am still in my insect jewellery phase, and one of the types of which I have a few in my Etsy shop is enamel butterfly jewellery.

Art Deco enamel and silver butterfly ring. For sale in my Etsy shop (click photo for details).

Art Deco enamel and sterling silver butterfly ring.  1930s, British. For sale in my Etsy shop (click photo for details). (NOW SOLD).

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Art Deco enamel and sterling silver butterfly bar brooch.  1930s, British. For sale in my Etsy shop (click photo for details).

Art Deco enamel and brass butterfly brooch. 1930s, British. For sale in my Etsy shop (click photo for details). (NOW SOLD).

Hroar Prydz enamel and sterling silver, 1950s, Norway.

Hroar Prydz enamel, sterling silver and vermeil brooch. 1950s, Norway. For sale in my Etsy shop (click photo for details). (NOW SOLD).

In addition I have had two pairs of butterfly earrings in my shop, both of which have sold:

Hroar Prydz enamel and silver with vermeil butterfly earrings. (NOW SOLD).

Hroar Prydz enamel, sterling silver with vermeil butterfly earrings. 1950s, Norway. (NOW SOLD).

Volme Bahner enamel and silver butterfly earrings, Denmark. (NOW SOLD).

Volmer Bahner enamel and sterling silver butterfly earrings. 1960s, Denmark. (NOW SOLD).

Volmer Bahner enamel clip on earrings. Click on photo for details.

Volmer Bahner enamel and sterling silver butterfly clip on earrings. 1960s, Denmark. (NOW SOLD).

I have been trying to find out more of the history of this type of jewellery. From what I can make out, the trend for enamel and silver brooches and pendants of this type started in England in the early part of the 20th century, with jewellers such as Charles Horner, John Atkins and Sons, and EAP & Co making lovely examples in silver and enamel. Charles Horner is well known for his Art Nouveau enamelled pieces, and also his thistle and ribbon silver knotted brooches and hatpins, but he also produced beautiful butterfly brooches:

Charles Horner enamel and sterling silver butterfly brooch, hallmarked Chester, 1918. For sale at Tadema Gallery.

Charles Horner enamel and sterling silver butterfly brooch, hallmarked Chester, 1918. For sale at Tadema Gallery.

while John Atkins and Sons is perhaps the most famous maker of butterfly jewellery from this date:

John Atkins and Sons enamel and sterling silver butterfly brooch, hallmarked Birmingham 1916. For sale at The Antiques Centre, York.

Other companies continued the trend, through the 1920s and 1930s (when some of the butterflies are placed on distinctively Art Deco three bar mounts).

Art Deco butterfly brooch. For sale on eBay.

Art Deco butterfly brooch. For sale on eBay.

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Art Deco butterfly brooch. For sale on eBay.

Art Deco butterfly brooch. For sale on eBay.

Art Deco butterfly brooch. For sale on eBay.

In the 1950s the very talented Scandinavian enamel jewellers picked up on the trend, the Norwegians in particular, and makers such as David-Andersen, Marius Hammer, Kristian M Hestenes, O F Hjortdahl, Aksel Holmsen, Ivar T Holth, Finn Jensen, Bernard Meldahl, Einar Modahl, Hans Myrhe, Arne Nordlie, OPRO, Hroar Prydz, and J Tostrup all produced enamelled butterfly jewellery. I featured some of the David-Andersen butterfly pieces in my earlier blog post on Norwegian enamel jewellery.

These pieces are highly collectable, and understandably so—the beautiful colours and designs, and the skill of the makers make these lovely pieces to own, with their jewel-like bright colours. A sign of how collectable they are is provided by the number of digital collections on Pinterest. Search for ‘John Atkins butterfly’ on Pinterest and you get this fabulous array of jewellery: totally droolworthy and I could lose hours looking at them all.

Favourite websites: OCEARCH.org Global Shark Tracker

Ever wondered where great white sharks get to when they’re not peering in at cage divers or dining on hapless seals? Well, the answer is on the OCEARCH website: for several years now, great whites and other apex predator sharks have been tagged and their locations recorded every time they surface and send a ‘ping’ to the satellite tracking system.

Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias).

Great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). Photo by Terry Goss.

It’s a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these magnificent creatures: there are tagged populations off the East Coast of the United States, the West Coast of South America, and the South African coast. The researchers have named all the sharks, and my favourite is Lydia, a great white shark.

Lydian being tagged on 2 March 2013, off the coast at Jacksonville, Florida, United States.

Lydia being tagged on 2 March 2013, off the coast at Jacksonville, Florida, United States. At the time of tagging she was 4.40 m (14 ft 6 in) long and weighed approximately 900 kg (approx. 2,000 lbs).

Lydia is a very well-travelled shark: earlier this year she headed east from the eastern seaboard of the US to the middle of the Atlantic. To the very middle, in fact: for several weeks in March and April she swam down the line of the Mid Atlantic Ridge.

Lydia's track on ocearch.org.

Lydia’s track on OCEARCH.org.

It’s fascinating to see where the sharks go, and how far and how quickly they travel.

OCEARCH is a wonderful organisation, undertaking research vital for the conservation of these beautiful creatures. Here’s a little about them, from their website:

‘OCEARCH enables the brightest scientists in the world by giving them approximately 15 minutes of access to live, mature great white sharks (and other species) to conduct up to 12 studies including tagging and sampling. OCEARCH captures mature sharks that can range between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds on average, maneuvers them onto a 75,000 lb. custom lift, then releases the shark after researchers have completed their 15 minutes of work. The shark is guided by hand in the water on and off the lift. OCEARCH is a leader in collaborative open source research, sharing scientific data and dynamic education content in near-real time for free to the public through the Global Shark Tracker, enabling students and the public to learn alongside PhDs.’

Hurrah for OCEARCH, and hurrah for open source research: it’s not just the scientists who benefit.

Malmesbury Abbey, and the sad tale of Hannah Twynnoy

A couple of Sundays ago Chap and I headed north, and visited Malmesbury Abbey and Cherhill in north Wiltshire. I wrote about Cherhill in a previous post, and now it’s Malmesbury Abbey’s turn, and also the sad tale of one of the inhabitants of the Abbey’s graveyard.

South front of the nave of Malmesbury Abbey. Photo by Adrian Pingstone.

South front of the nave of Malmesbury Abbey. Photo by Adrian Pingstone.

'Malmesbury Abbey from the North-West' by Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1791. Watercolour on paper. One of a series of sketches Turner painted of the Abbey.

‘Malmesbury Abbey from the North-West’ by Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1791. Watercolour on paper. One of a series of sketches Turner painted of the Abbey. Tate Britain.

But first, a little about the Abbey itself. It is a wonderful building: its slightly unprepossessing exterior when viewed from the south doesn’t really prepare you for the interior, I feel. As you approach the south door you get the first hint that something exceptional is here: the Norman arch over the entrance porch is simply stunning. Its 850-year-old carvings tell the stories of the creation, the journey of the patriarch and kings, and the life of Jesus.

The Norman porch at Malmesbury Abbey.

The Norman porch at Malmesbury Abbey.

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Inside the porch: six of the Apostles

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Inside the porch: the other six.

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Inside the porch, over the inner door: Christ and attending angels.

The present Abbey is the third house of worship to stand on the site, and this incarnation was substantially completed by 1180. Its construction continued piecemeal over the next two hundred years, and it had a spire taller than that of Salisbury Cathedral (which is a whopping 123 metres (404 feet) high, the tallest in the UK) at the east end, and an impressive tower at the west end. The spire and the tower on which it was built fell around 1500, and the tower fell abut 50 years after that: both collapses demolished large parts of the building. All that is left intact today is the nave of this once-enormous abbey. It is still used for worship, and is a much-loved building surrounded by the ruins of its former glory.

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West window of the nave and enormous Norman columns.

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Looking up at the south wall of the nave.

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The ceiling of the nave with ornate bosses.

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The Watching Loft above the south side of the nave.

The 14th century tomb of King Aethelstan (c.893/895-939 AD), who is buried in an unknown spot somewhere in the Abbey grounds.

The 14th century tomb of King Aethelstan (c.893/895-939 AD), who is buried in an unknown spot somewhere in the Abbey grounds.

The 17th century font in Malmesbury Abbey.

The 17th century font.

One of the many monuments on the walls to the great and the good of the area. This one commemorates

One of the many monuments on the walls to the great and the good of the area. This one commemorates Mrs Elizabeth George of nearby Steeple Ashton, who died in 1734.

Stained glass window designed by Edward Burne-Jones and made in the William Morris workshops in 1901.

Stained glass window designed by Edward Burne-Jones and made in the William Morris workshops in 1901.

A beautiful Jacobean carved oak chair near the altar.

A beautiful Jacobean carved oak chair near the altar.

And wow—look at these flowers. They greet visitors and worshippers alike as they come in through the porch, and whoever was on the flower rota when these were done gets a gold star from me! Such a simple and beautiful arrangement of blue delphiniums, white asters and a white umbellifer—possibly Ammi major (also known as Bishop’s Lace, which is appropriate)—plus foliage.

Flowers in the entrance to the Abbey.

Flowers in the entrance to the Abbey.

Hannah Twynnoy bears the sad distinction of being possibly the first recorded death by tiger attack in the United Kingdom. Little is known of her apart from her gravestone, and a memorial plaque which provided some details of her life and sad demise, but which has since been lost. Apparently Hannah was a young barmaid at the White Lion Inn in Malmesbury, and one day somehow got close enough to a tiger displayed by a visiting menagerie for it to be able to maul her, with fatal results. She died on 23 October 1703, aged 33 years. She was buried in the Abbey grounds, and her headstone reads:

In bloom of Life
She’s snatchd from hence,
She had not room
To make defence;
For Tyger fierce
Took Life away.
And here she lies
In a bed of Clay,
Until the Resurrection Day.

Hannah Twynnoy's gravestone.

Hannah Twynnoy’s headstone in Malmesbury Abbey graveyard.

The west front of Malmesbury Abbey.

The west front of Malmesbury Abbey.

The Old Bell viewed from the Abbey graveyard (nice table tomb in the foreground).

The Old Bell viewed from the Abbey graveyard (nice table tomb in the foreground). The Old Bell claims to be England’s oldest hotel, dating back to 1220.

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Just outside the Abbey grounds is Malmesbury Market Cross, dating from c. 1490.

Filming locations: Stourhead

We are so lucky to live close to the beautiful landscape gardens of Stourhead, near Mere in south-western Wiltshire. Chap and I visit often, and we are about due another visit to see the gorgeous autumn colours there.

Stourhead. The Palladian Bridge in the foreground and the Pantheon on the other side of the lake. Photo by Inglenookery.

Stourhead. The Palladian Bridge in the foreground and the Pantheon on the other side of the lake. Photo taken April 2011 by Inglenookery.

The house at Stourhead was built by Henry Hoare between 1721—1725, and the gardens were developed soon afterwards. They were brought into greatness in the mid-eighteenth century by Hoare’s son Henry Hoare II, with the damming of the small River Stour to form the lake, the building of the various temples, planting of the trees and development of the landscape features.

Stourhead Estate is managed by the National Trust. The charity’s properties are often used for filming, especially for period pieces (I’ve previously written about Montacute House, Mompesson House and Saltram House).

View from the Pantheon looking across the lake to the Palladian Bridhge and . The tTemple of apollo is on the high ground to the right of the photo. Photo April 2011 by Infgelnookery.

Stourhead. View from the Pantheon looking across the lake to the bridge and the Temple of Flora. The Temple of Apollo is on the high ground to the right of the photo. Photo taken April 2011 by Inglenookery.

Stourhead is more famous for its gardens than its associated Palladian mansion, and I am always surprised at how little it has been used as a location for filming. Part of the reason might be that it is one of the Trust’s most popular properties, with the gardens open every day apart from Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Even though it has many visitors every day, the gardens are so large that they rarely feel crowded. In 2012—2013 it was the most visited NT property for which a charge is made, with 356,023 visitors (other open country sites in NT ownership, such as Avebury or the Coastal Paths, are free to visit and so counts of visitor numbers are not easily available.)

Stourhead. View of the lake from the Temple of Apollo. Taken by Inglenookery

Stourhead. View of the lake from the Temple of Apollo. Photo taken September 2013 by Inglenookery.

I can only think of it appearing in two films: the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, in the scene when Mr Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) first proposes to Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley), filmed in the rain at the Temple of Apollo, and the brief scene with Elizabeth running across the five-arched bridge over the lake; and the scene in Barry Lyndon, the 1975 film directed by Stanley Kubrick, where Barry (Ryan O’Neal) talks to his mother (Marie Kean) on the bridge, with the lake and the Pantheon in the background in some shots, and the Temple of Flora in the background in another.  There must be others, I’m sure—I just can’t think of any.

Stourhead. The Temple of Apollo starring in Pride and Prejudice (2005).

Stourhead. The Temple of Apollo starring in Pride and Prejudice (2005).

The bridge at the lake at Storuhead, satrring in

Stourhead: the bridge at the lake, starring in Pride and Prejudice (2005).

Stourhead in a scene from Barry Lyndon.

Stourhead in a scene from Barry Lyndon: the bridge with the Pantheon in the background (1975).

Barry Lyndon (Ryan O'Neal) with his mother (Marie Kean) on the bridge at Stourhead.

Barry Lyndon (Ryan O’Neal) with his mother (Marie Kean) on the bridge at Stourhead, with the Temple of Flora in the background.

Barry Lyndon (Ryan O'Neal) on the bridge at Stourhead, with the Pantheon in the background.

Barry Lyndon (Ryan O’Neal) on the bridge at Stourhead.

We we very lucky when we visited in September last year—the Festival of the Voice was taking place, and it was magical to hear unaccompanied choral works drifting in the air as we walked around the garden. We stopped at the Pantheon to listen to this (apologies for it being filmed sideways on. I have no idea a) how to film or b) how to edit …)

Short National Trust history of the house and gardens.

Quinces

Today we had our annual quince harvest: it basically entailed one of us poking the fruit with a long stick and the other trying to catch them before they hit the ground. We had a couple go in the pond and poor old Chap got walloped in the mouth by another, so it wasn’t quite the charming scene of bucolic plenty and activity that we might have envisaged. Anyhow, we ended up with a good haul of fruit. Some were starting to rot on the tree and many had split (they always do, every year, without fail—no idea why), but they are all usable, in whole or in part.

Some of our quinces harvested today, alongside some Cox's apples for scale.

Some of our quinces harvested today, alongside some smallish eating apples for scale.

The quince (Cydonia oblonga) is a fantastic fruit, and I don’t know why it isn’t more commonly grown. The blossom is so pretty—opening out of a spiralled bud, the single pale pink cup-shaped flowers are like turbo-charged apple blossom.

Quince flower buds.

Quince flower buds on our tree, 25 April 2007.

Quince blossom.

Quince blossom on our tree, 25 April 2007.

Quince tree in bloom (Cydonia oblonga) behind a miniature lilac (Syringa microphylla) in our garden.

Quince tree in bloom (Cydonia oblonga) behind a miniature lilac (Syringa microphylla) in our garden, 28 May 2013.

The fruit looks like a big yellow lumpy pear, and smells amazing. The fruit never ripen sufficiently in the UK to be eaten raw, but make a great addition to apple pies and crumbles, and even better make a superb jelly, and also a cheese to go with cold meats. A single quince left in our fruit bowl will scent the whole house. Cooked, it has a grainy texture similar to pears, but the taste is rather different.

Certainly if we ever move it will be the first tree we plant in our new garden. We planted our present tree about 15 years ago. We went to Landford Trees, a tree nursery in south-east Wiltshire, and chose the variety ‘Meeches Prolific’. It started fruiting after only a few years, and seems to have a repeating pattern of an ‘on’ year for fruit, when we might get three large carrier bags full, and an ‘off’ year, such as this year, when we get only one.

Young quince forming on our tree. They are deliciously fuzzy at this stage. 4 June 2007.

Young quince forming on our tree. They are deliciously fuzzy at this stage. 14 June 2007.

Last year's bumper harvest ripening. When they are fully ripe they are bright yellow against the green leaves - fantastic! 30 September 2013. I think we harvested them about 10 days after this photo was taken.

Last year’s bumper harvest ripening. When they are fully ripe they are bright yellow against the green leaves. Taken on 30 September 2013. I think we harvested them about a week after this photo was taken.

Rather fuzzy photo of the tree laden with last year's crop. taken 30 September 2014.

Rather fuzzy photo of the tree laden with last year’s crop, taken 30 September 2013. ‘Meeches Prolific’ certainly lived up to its name.

We planted our quince next to the pond as apparently quinces like damp conditions; we prune it every year in the winter to keep it a manageable size as we have such a small garden.

I have always loved quinces—we had a quince tree in our garden when I was a child, planted by my parents along with a walnut and a mulberry tree, all of which fruited beautifully (though we never got to the walnuts before the squirrels did). One lunchtime on my first dig abroad, in north-eastern Greece, one of the local workmen offered me a slice of quince picked from his garden, and I was amazed to find it could be eaten raw: we just don’t get enough heat and sunlight in the UK to ripen them. It was delicious, but sadly that is still the only time I have been able to eat quince like that: it’s cooked or nothing here in the UK.

Our favourite thing made with quinces is quince cheese: it is like a thick paste, and goes wonderfully with cold meat such as ham or pork. Here is a River Cottage quince cheese recipe which gives great results:

Quince cheese

A fruit cheese is simply a solid, sliceable preserve—and the princely quince, with its exquisite scent and delicately grainy texture, makes the most majestic one of all. It can be potted in small moulds to turn out, slice and eat with cheese. Alternatively, you can pour it into shallow trays to set, then cut it into cubes, coat with sugar and serve as a sweetmeat. A little roughly chopped quince cheese adds a delicious fruity note to lamb stews or tagines—or try combining it with chopped apple for a pie or crumble.

Servings: Makes about 1 kg of quince cheese.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 70 minutes, plus time to stand

Ingredients:
1kg quince
500-750g granulated sugar
Food-grade paraffin wax, for sealing

Method:
Wash the quince. Roughly chop the fruit but don’t peel or core them. Place in a large pan and barely cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until soft and pulpy, adding a little more water if necessary. Leave to stand for several hours.

Rub the contents of the pan through a sieve or pass through a mouli. Weigh the pulp and return it to the cleaned-out pan, adding an equal weight of sugar. Bring gently to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer gently, stirring frequently, for an hour and a bit until really thick and glossy. It may bubble and spit like a volcano, so do take care. The mixture is ready when it is so thick that you can scrape a spoon through it and see the base of the pan for a couple of seconds before the mixture oozes together again.

If you’re using small dishes or straight-sided jars, brush them with a little glycerine.?This will make it easy to turn out the cheese. If you’re using a shallow baking tray or similar, line it with greaseproof paper, allowing plenty of overhang to wrap the finished cheese.

When the cheese is cooked, pour it into the prepared moulds or jars. To seal open moulds, pour melted food-grade paraffin wax over the hot fruit cheese. Jars can be sealed with lids. Cheese set in a shallow tray should be covered with greaseproof paper and kept in the fridge.

For optimum flavour, allow the quince cheese to mature for 4–6 weeks before using.

Eat within 12 months.

You beauty!

You beauty!

Quince tree (Cydonia oblonga) in the orchard at Lytes Cary, a National Trust property in Somerset, 26 April 2009. Lovely blue camassia growing underneath, along with cow parsley and pheasant's eye narcissi.

Quince tree (Cydonia oblonga) in blossom in the orchard at Lytes Cary, a National Trust property in Somerset, 26 April 2009. Lovely blue camassia growing underneath, along with cow parsley and pheasant’s eye narcissi.

Niels Erik From: Danish silversmith

PLEASE NOTE: Even though this is an old post, I update it every time I get a new piece of Niels Erik From jewellery for my shop. So if you are interested in his wonderful jewellery, do bookmark this page!

I have a real soft spot for the work of Niels Erik From, the Danish jeweller (1908—1982). He is considered one of the greats of Danish silver design, and his pieces are very collectable. I am lucky to have some of his jewellery for sale in my Etsy shop at the moment. It’s always a great day when I get my hands on some of his beauties!

(As this blog post was getting rather unwieldy, I have moved all the NE From items I have sold to a new blog post, which can be found here.)

NE From chrysoprase necklace with 1977 London import mark. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From chrysoprase necklace with 1977 London import mark. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From chrysoprase necklace with 1977 London import mark. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From chrysoprase necklace with 1977 London import mark. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From chrysoprase necklace with 1977 London import mark. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

Rare 1967 NE From amethyst modernist necklace. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

Another view of my rare 1967 NE From amethyst modernist necklace. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

NE From sterling silver square link bracelet. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

Another view of the NE From sterling silver square link bracelet. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From plain sterling silver band. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From rhodochrosite ring. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From chrysoprase and sterling silver ring. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From chrysoprase and sterling silver ring. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From sodalite and sterling silver modernist ring. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

N E From rose quartz modernist bangle. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

N E From rose quartz modernist bangle. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

NE From rose quartz and sterling silver ring, this one with a smaller head at 13 mm diameter. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on pohoto for details.

N E From amazonite and sterling silver modernist ring, another of the smaller-headed versions. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for detail.

NE From rose quartz ring, with a larger head at 16 mm diameter. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

Niels Eric From modernist rose quartz clip on earrings. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

Niels Erik From rose quartz modernist bracelet. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From Baltic amber pendant and chain. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

N E From vintage modernist amethyst ring.

N E From vintage modernist amethyst ring. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

NE From sterling silver calla lily / petal bracelet, this one with eight large links (the same size as the links in the necklace). Varies from the bracelet above as it has a square-sectioned bar toggle. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

NE From sterling silver calla lily / petal bracelet, this one with eleven small links. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

NE From sterling silver calla lily / petal bracelet, this one with eleven small links. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

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NE From sterling silver calla lily / petal design brooch, a double sprig with 9 small petals. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

NE From clip on earrings in sterling silver. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery: click on photo for details.

NE From sterling silver ring. For sale in my Etsy shop, Inglenookery. Click on photo for details.

N E From rose quartz modernist ring. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

N E From rose quartz and sterling silver modernist ring, larger size head 16 mm diameter. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

N E From Baltic amber and sterling silver modernist ring. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

N E From Baltic amber and sterling silver modernist ring, smaller size head 13 mm diameter. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

N E From Baltic amber and sterling silver modernist ring, larger size head 16 mm diameter. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

N E From rose quartz modernist ring, in sterling silver. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

N E From rose quartz modernist ring, in sterling silver. The ring is UK size H 1/2, US size 4 1/2, European size 46 1/2 and has an internal diameter of 17 mm. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

Another N E From rose quartz modernist ring, in sterling silver. The ring is UK size N, US size 7 1/4, European size 54 and has an internal diameter of 18.5 mm. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

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Vintage modernist tiger’s eye and sterling silver ring by N E From. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

NE From rose quartz brooch. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

NE From rose quartz and sterling silver bracelet. For sale in my shop: click on photo for details.

NE From rose quartz and sterling silver bracelet. For sale in my shop: click on photo for details.

NE From beauties soon to be in my shop. The ring is already listed: click on photo for details.

NE From beauties in my shop: see the individual photos above for details. (Update: the pendant and ring have now sold. Sorry!)

Despite the high regard in which his work is held, I haven’t been able to find out too much about Mr From. He first started working as a silversmith in 1931, and he registered his silversmithy in Nakskov, in south Denmark, in 1944. His earlier pieces developed out of the organic Skønvirke style, a Scandinavian development of the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements. From designed these early pieces himself, and they are characterised by floral and foliage motifs, as well as other inspirations from nature, such as fish.

NE From rose quartz necklace, bracelet and earrings parure. Private collection.

NE From rose quartz necklace, bracelet and earrings parure. Private collection.

Niels Erik From sterling silver and amber brooch from the 19060s with a wonderful fish design. For sale at CuriousLouis at Etsy. (click on photo for details).

Niels Erik From sterling silver and amber brooch from the 1960s with a wonderful fish design.

From the 1950s onwards most of From’s pieces were designed by other designers, and have a markedly different look—out went the detailed, romantic designs from nature, and in came modernist, clean lines with abstract and geometric shapes. Occasionally the modern designs took nature as their inspiration, with abstract leaf and blossom shapes, but generally they followed the modern trend of the 1950s for sparse, minimalist design. But ever the canny businessman, From continued manufacturing some of the popular older Skønvirke style jewellery alongside the modernist pieces.

In 1960 From’s son-in-law Hilmer Jensen joined the company, and he took over following From’s death in 1982. However, the company failed to flourish and it closed in 1990.

I used to keep the pieces of his that I have sold listed here, but the page was getting too unwieldy. I have moved all my N E From sold pieces to a new page, here.

Niels Erik From amethyst and silver modernist bracelet, from the 1960s/1970s, for sale at Vintage Jewels.

Niels Erik From amethyst and silver modernist bracelet, from the 1960s/1970s, sold at Vintage Jewels.

Niles Erik From amethyst and silver modernist ring.

Niels Erik From amethyst and silver modernist ring.

A more detailed exploration of one of From’s designs can be found here, with more to come as I find time to write them!

The maker’s marks on From’s pieces varied over the years. On the earliest pieces in the Skønvirke style, the maker’s mark is ‘FROM 830.S’, with the 830 referring to the silver content of 830 parts per 1000.

'FROM 830.S' on a silver cufflink by Niels Erik From in the Skønvirke style.

‘FROM 830.S’ on a silver cufflink by Niels Erik From in the Skønvirke style.

An intermediate mark used in the 1940s and 1950s, on the earlier Skønvirke style jewellery, reading ‘FROM 925S’ in capitals:

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‘FROM 925S’ mark on one of the earlier Skønvirke style rings. The 925 refers to the silver content of 925 parts per 1000, ie sterling silver.

An intermediate mark used in the 1950s and 1960s, on the earlier Skønvirke style jewellery, reading ”N.E. From’ in flowing handwriting-like script; ‘925S STERLING DANMARK’ in capitals:

'N E From' in flowing handwriting-like script; '925S DANMARK' in capitals. Photo by Kitty's Antique Jewelry.

‘N.E. From’ in flowing handwriting-like script; ‘925S STERLING DANMARK’ in capitals. Note the Danish spelling of ‘DANMARK’ rather than the Anglicised ‘DENMARK’, suggesting this was for the domestic or Scandinavian market. For sale at Kitty’s Antique Jewelry.

while the same style is also used on a modernist ring from the 60s:

Modernist N E From amber ring I sold in my shop, with the same style of mark. Danmark spelling again. (NOW SOLD).

Modernist N E From amber ring I sold in my shop, with the same style of mark: Danmark spelling again. (NOW SOLD).

A different mark used from the 1950s onwards was ‘STERLING DENMARK N.E. FROM 925 S’. This mark occurs on both the modernist pieces and on the pieces in the earlier Skønvirke style that From continued to produce as they were so popular:

The maker's mark on the back of the clip on earrings in my Etsy shop, reading 'STERLING DENMARK N.E. FROM 925 S'. The 925 refers to the silver content of 925 parts per 1000, ie sterling silver.

The maker’s mark on the back of the modernist clip on earrings in my Etsy shop, reading ‘STERLING DENMARK N.E. FROM 925 S’. (NOW SOLD).

Mark ‘FROM 925 S.’ used in the 1960s and 1970s: il_570xN.757770170_cwllMark used in the 1970s: ‘N.E. FROM STERLING 925S. DANMARK’:

Mark on a brooch dating from the 1970s: 'N.E. FROM STERLING 925S. DANMARK'

Mark on a brooch dating from the 1970s: ‘N.E. FROM STERLING 925S. DANMARK’