Tag: Huntington Library

Too busy travelling to write a travel blog

Even on holidays in the ‘good old US of A’ I can’t keep away from the computer – although not much writing happening on my manuscript.

There are so many things I could write – about the things we’ve seen and done in two weeks (with still four to go). So what I will do is try to capture some of the highlights.

Like in Los Angeles – crazy, noisy, hot and smoggy still from the fires that are burning in deep crevasses in the far hills; freeways like spaghetti (clover-leaf? – no, spag is more like it); friendly people; and an oasis – the Embassy Hotel in Arcadia.

And amongst all the things in this crazy city, with the ability to restore one’s senses – the Huntington Library in Pasadena … with its Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.

In 1919, wealthy, railroad magnate, and a man of vision, Henry Huntington and his wife Arabella began the process of transforming their massive collection of rare and valuable books, their significant art collection into a centre of research, education and beauty.

Huntington Library_ The Book of Hours

Now, for $15, anyone can see, study or just marvel at the collections. Which is what we did. But not all of the 6 million items.

Imagine an opened copy of one of the illustrated manuscripts, ‘The Book of Hours’; or the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America or some early editions of Shakespeare’s works; or pages of Jack Kerouac’s working drafts with words scratched out. Then there’s the gallery filled with many of Thomas Gainsborough’s paintings with the Blue Boy up one end in the middle of the dim hall – capturing your attention as you enter the huge, parquetry-floored room.

Gainsborough's famous 'Blue Boy'
Gainsborough's famous 'Blue Boy'

And then, there’re the rooms filled with the the collections revolving around the history of Science,  Medicine and Biology and Physics – from Ptolemy, Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein.

My brain and imagination still reels from the experience.My brain and imagination still reels from the experience.

A copy of his telescope when he first saw the surface of the moon - accompanied by his words of wonder at the sight.
A copy of his telescope when he first saw the surface of the moon - accompanied by his words of wonder at the sight.

Next highlight will be deep in mesa country … not as famous as its deeper cousin up the road, but a magical place of pure colour to thrill the senses. (i.e. when I can get an internet connection again)