Thursday, 26 September 2013

window latch, Jean-Jacques Rousseau meseum, Les Charmettes, France


“Everything is in constant flux on this earth. Nothing keeps the same unchanging shape, and our affections, being attached to things outside us, necessarily change and pass away as they do. Always out ahead of us or lagging behind, they recall a past which is gone or anticipate a future which may never come into being; there is nothing solid there for the heart to attach itself to. Thus our earthly joys are almost without exception the creatures of a moment...”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Meditations of a Solitary Walker

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

door jamb, bedroom, Jean-acques Rosseau museum, Les Charmettes, France

“To write a good love letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

water tank in the garden of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau museum, Les Charmettes, France


“The indolence I love is not that of a lazy fellow who sits with his arms crossed in total inaction, and thinks no more than he acts, but that of a child which is incessantly in motion doing nothing, and that of a dotard who wanders from his subject. I love to amuse myself with trifles, by beginning a hundred things and never finishing one of them, by going or coming as I take either into my head, by changing my project at every instant, by following a fly through all its windings, in wishing to overturn a rock to see what is under it, by undertaking with ardour the work of ten years, and abandoning it without regret at the end of ten minutes; finally, in musing from morning until night without order or coherence, and in following in everything the caprice of a moment.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “Confessions”

Monday, 23 September 2013

door latch*, Jean-Jacques Rousseau museum, Les Charmettes, France

“The people of England regards itself as free; but it is grossly mistaken; it is free only during the election of members of parliament. As soon as they are elected, slavery overtakes it, and it is nothing.”
― Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “The Social Contract and The Discourses”


the famous and influential The Social Contract was Rousseau's piece de resistance when it came to revolutionary thinking and abstract political thought. this work stressed a new concept; that of the "social contract". this contract was a mutual indenture between the people and the government, in which "the governed agree to be ruled only so that their rights, property and happiness [will] be protected by their rulers". the salient point of this entire work, onto which the French revolutionaries clung, was the idea that should this social contract be violated, "the governed are free to chose another set of governors or magistrates". this idea influenced both the formation of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen” (1789, the French Constitution) and the Declaration of Independence (1775, the American Constitution). its influence is also seen in the fact that both the French and American revolutions ended with "contracts", outlining the rights and liberties of the governed. these contracts specified that government should protect the rights of every citizen, not just the wealthy and powerful members of society. this idea, however, was sometimes taken too far: Rousseau was not, as some have believed, encouraging anarchist thought. rather than just a simple disagreement between a people and its leaders, it was only when political authority broke the basic premise of the social contract and individual liberty was replaced by inequality that Rousseau believed that government should be torn down. so, although he supported the dismantlement of a government IF the government was in breach of their 'social contract', Rousseau still believed in order and civil obedience
* think the philips screws aren't original 17th century

Sunday, 22 September 2013

window bars, outbuilding, Jean-Jacques Roussau museum, Les Charmettes, France

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they are."
Jean Jacques Rousseau, “The Social Contract and The Discourses

Jean-Jacques Rousseau influenced the French revolution by altering the idea of the effects of civilization upon natural freedoms. Rousseau was a composer, music theorist and novelist, as well as a political thinker of the Enlightenment. Rousseau mainly effected the French perception of civilization's consequences upon liberty and most of his works deal with the mechanisms through which humans are forced to give up liberty.  his main idea can be summed up in the first line of his most renowned work, The Social Contract (1762): "Man is born free, but everywhere is in chains". Rousseau argued that civilization affected liberty in a negative way, as opposed to the original perception in which civilization enhanced human liberty. Rousseau's idea of a perfect government was a republic. he believed that "a people could only be free if it ruled itself". he also believed that freedom was, in effect, "ruling oneself, living under a law which one has oneself enacted” or a system approved and made by the people. his ideas influenced many revolutionary figures - both negatively and positively - including Maximillien Robespierre (1758 - 1794), who twisted Rousseau's ideas, such as the idea that citizens have the right to rebel against their civilization, to fit his own purposes during the "Reign of Terror".

Saturday, 21 September 2013

back door with ring attachment, Jean-Jacques Rousseau museum, Les Charmettes, France

 “The greatest enemies of freedom are the extremely rich and the extremely poor, because one is willing to buy it while the other is willing to sell it.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau, “The Social Contract and The Discourses”

Friday, 20 September 2013

front door handle and escutcheon, Jean-Jacques Rousseau museum, Les Charmettes, France

i have just returned from two weeks in Italy and France
on the drive back i stopped overnight in Les Charmettes a picturesque hamlet near the town of Chambéry in the Savoie region of France; it is famed as a favourite retreat of the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778).
in 1728, Jean-Jacques Rousseau fled a watch-matching apprenticeship in Geneva and took refuge with Françoise-Louise de Warens, or Madame de Warens, who became his mistress and mentor whom Rousseau affectionately referred to as maman (mother) – she was 13 years Rousseau's senior.
in the summer of 1736, Rousseau and maman moved into a country house called Les Charmettes  which figures prominently in Rousseau's Confessions (Books V and VI) -according to him, his sojourn at Les Charmettes constituted "the short period of my life's happiness" and was instrumental in the development of his love of nature and the simple country life
during the revolutionary and subsequent romantic periods, Les Charmettes became a symbol of Rousseau's revolutionary thought as well as a shrine attracting such literary and political celebrities as George Sand and Alphonse de Lamartine
in 1905 Les Charmettes was classified an historical monument by the French government, the house and its grounds are now a museum open to the public

“The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had some one pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: "Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “The Social Contract and The Discourses”

Friday, 6 September 2013

objet trouvé 1: st Therese's false hair piece

during the life of this blog i have found numerous rusty objects whilst walking along beaches, country footpaths and even city streets
 i have photographed many of them in situ but others i have taken out of their found environment (my garden is filling up with rusty bits and pieces, sorry, sculptures) and photographed them somewhere else
these are my objets trouves - objects which have not been designed for an artistic purpose, but which already exist for another purpose, the idea was first perfected by Marcel Duchamp (after Picasso) who used undisguised objects that are not normally considered art materials - the most famous example is ‘Fountain’ (1917), a standard urinal purchased from a hardware store and displayed on a pedestal, resting on its side
the use of found objects was quickly taken up by the Dada and Surrealist movements – the Surrealist leader, André Breton, defined objets trouves as "manufactured objects raised to the dignity of works of art through the choice of the artist" – continuing the tradition i have also given my photographs slightly surreal titles

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

London bridges across the river Thames: 20 Putney bridge


one story runs that "in 1720 Sir Robert Walpole was returning from seeing George I at Kingston and being in a hurry to get to the House of Commons rode together with his servant to Putney to take the ferry across to Fulham but he ferry boat was on the opposite side and the waterman, who was drinking in the Swan, ignored the calls of Sir Robert and his servant and they were obliged to take another route - Walpole vowed that a bridge would replace the ferry."

 the Prince of Wales apparently "was often inconvenienced by the ferry when returning from hunting in Richmond Park and asked Walpole to use his influence by supporting the bridge."
 construction of a bridge was first sanctioned by an Act of Parliament in 1726. built by local master carpenter Thomas Phillips to a design by architect Sir Jacob Acworth, the first bridge was opened in November 1729, as a toll bridge, it featured tollbooths at either end of the timber-built structure.[2]
 the bridge was badly damaged by the collision of a river barge in 1870. although part of the bridge was subsequently replaced, soon the entire bridge would be demolished and in 1886 it was replaced by the stone bridge that stands today
Putney Bridge has a church at both ends: St. Mary's church, Putney is located on the south bank and All Saints church, Fulham on the north bank. the bridge is often very busy on Saturdays, when Fulham F.C. are playing at home, as this is the main way for fans to cross the river.
 in March 1953, British serial killer and necrophiliac John Christie was finally arrested on Putney Bridge.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

London bridges across the river Thames: 19 Fulham railway bridge and footbridge

footbridge                                       railway bridge

Fulham railway bridge crosses the river Thames very close to Putney Bridge, and carries the London Underground District line between Putney Bridge station on the north, and East Putney station on the south, Fulham railway bridge can also be crossed on foot, on the downstream (east) side
the bridge is of lattice girder construction and 418 metres long, with 5 spans totalling 301 metres actually across the river, two further spans on the southern shore, and one on the north. It was designed by Brunel's former assistant William Jacomb, built by Head Wrightson and opened in 1889.

Monday, 2 September 2013

London bridges across the river Thames: 18 Wandsworth bridge


the first bridge on the site was a toll bridge built by Julian Tolmé in 1873, in the expectation that the western terminus of the Hammersmith and City Railway would shortly be built on the north bank, leading to a sharp increase in the number of people wanting to cross the river at this point - the railway terminus was not built, and problems with drainage on the approach road made access to the bridge difficult for vehicles. Wandsworth bridge was commercially unsuccessful, and in 1880 it was taken into public ownership and made toll-free. Tolmé's bridge was narrow and too weak to carry buses, and in 1926 a Royal Commission recommended its replacement.
 in 1937 Tolmé's bridge was demolished and the present bridge, an unadorned steel cantilever bridge designed by Sir Pierson Frank, was opened in 1940. at the time of its opening it was painted in dull shades of blue as camouflage against air raids, a colour scheme it retains. although Wandsworth Bridge is one of the busiest bridges in London, carrying over 50,000 vehicles daily, it has been described as "probably the least noteworthy bridge in London".

Sunday, 1 September 2013

London bridges across the river Thames: 17 Battersea railway bridge


the Battersea railway bridge - properly called the Cremorne Bridge, after the pleasure grounds in Chelsea and originally commonly referred to as the Battersea new bridge - is a bridge across the river Thames between Battersea and Chelsea and forming part of the west London line of the London Overground from Clapham junction to Willesden junction
the bridge was designed by William Baker, chief engineer of the London and North Western Railway, and was opened in March 1863, it carries two sets of railway lines and consists of five 37 m lattice girder arches set on stone piers
quite ordinary and uninteresting