Hello. Here is the first article from my trip to Lille, in northern France. Pauline Conolly helped me, but not very much. Dr Bob Conolly took the photographs. I hope you like our work. Editor Des. xxx
IN THE BEGINNING
In 1932 an architect from Lille called Monsieur Albert Baert built a most fabulous municipal swimming pool in the nearby town of Roubaix. It was the best complex in the whole of France, an Art Deco treasure. Next door to the baths was an old textile mill, and today these two buildings house a very special museum.
It only costs 5 euros to get in. They put a little sticker on your hand with the day of the week on it, so you can’t sneak in for free next day. My paw was too furry for it to stick though.
Oddly enough, the original swimming pool was left in place, and is surrounded by sculptures. Some famous artists are represented, such as Rodin, Joffre and Bugatti. I’ve only heard of Rodin to be honest. The crowning glory of this part is Ms Baert’s superb fan window. The glass has radiating shades of golden yellow, like the rising sun.
All the little shower cubicles and dressing rooms now contain collections of ceramics, textiles, jewellery and items of fashion; including avant-garde clothes and accessories. In the upstairs galleries there are showcases of textile pattern books. Pauline said some of the designs reminded her of William Morris.
SOME SPECIAL PAINTINGS
We spent quite a while looking at all these things and then we walked around lots of other rooms to see the paintings. Pauline loved the picture below because she used to be a cow herder when she was little (yes, truly!) . She wanted me to sit down with her and study it . So I did;
The first thing I noticed was that Pauline was wearing similar clothes to the girl in the painting. That’s a bit weird don’t you think?
My favourite artwork was what is called an installation. The artist Monsieur Daniel Marteau must have a very interesting brain! His work is called Girafe Observant une Taupe. That is French, and means ‘giraffe observing a mole’. Ha ha…how on earth did he think that up??
Of all the paintings in the museum Pauline said she liked one called La Tasse Bleue (The Blue Cup) the best. It’s by Jules Boquet, who died in 1932.
There was another interesting one with ladies working in a woolen mill. Pauline worked in one once….she has had a very chequered background! She told me the ladies were getting the wool ready for weaving. Sorry, I forgot to write down who painted this one.
Dr Bob sneaked off and later we found out he had taken a picture of a naked lady! Pauline looked a bit annoyed. Dr Bob said the lady was about to go swimming, so that’s why she didn’t have any clothes on. I think she was just showing off, though!
There is a very nice tearoom and a restaurant with a terrace and a garden, but we had eaten too much at the market in Lille that morning. Instead, we sat on the big stone ‘seats’ in the courtyard and ate some fruit.
GOODBYE MUSEE LA PISCINE
When people leave the museum they take off their stickers and put them on the gate, so Pauline and Dr Bob did it too. It’s sort of vandalism, but not really because the gate looks like a work of art;
One day someone might steal the gate and enter it in a competition, or auction it off. I really enjoyed my visit to the Piscine Museum. It was our landlady in Lille who told us to go there, so thank you dear Monique. If you would like to leave me a message, write in the box underneath here, then do the little sum. See you again soon, Editor Des. xxx