Saturday 29 November 2014


It is impossible for me to do justice to the splendours of Ephesus, a flourishing metropolis from the days of antiquity. 
We approached it from a high plain surrounded by hills and let the glories of its architectural remains unfold before us as we walked down through the city.
In the background a small theatre - the Odeum which originally had a wooden roof and in the foreground the Basilica, a municipal building where the Congress of Councillors met.
The city was originally thought to have been founded in 1000 BC but excavations carried out in the 1990s now date the original foundations to 3000 BC. 
steps leading up to the small Odeum theatre
Holding 1500 spectators this small theatre was used for concerts. It was also known as the Bouleuterion - a council chamber for Senate meetings 
One of the exit arches
Prytaneum, where religious ceremonies, official receptions and banquets were held. The sacred flame symbolising the heart of Ephesus was constantly alight in the Prytaneum
The Monument of Memmius situated on the north side of Domitian Square was constructed during the reign of Augustus in the lst century AD by Memmius, the grandson of dictator Sulla. The figures are his father and grandfather. Dictator Sulla was a hero to the Romans in Ephesus
A surviving stone base situated on the street known as Kathodos (the Way Down) carved with the symbol for physicians and hospitals - a snake entwined around a staff
On the other side of the same street is a stone base showing Hermes holding a ram and a caduceus also a symbol of medicine 
The Fountain of Trajan was constructed in honour of Emperor Trajan. It had a statue of the emperor in the central niche overlooking a pool surrounded by columns and statues.
Temple of Hadrian
Built before 138 AD the temple was dedicated to Hadrian who came to visit the city in 
128 AD
Hadrian's Gate is located at the junction of Curetes Street and Marble Way
650 years ago the ancient city of Ephesus was completely vandalised and its inevitable disappearance began. Over the following centuries it became covered in detritus, rubble, shrubs, scrub land, and brambles. Travellers knew of its existence as it is mentioned in the New Testament, Acts 19:34 - St. Paul was shouted down by a mob chanting "Great is Diana of the Ephesians". A British engineer, John Turtle Wood was designing railway stations for the Smyrna railway in Turkey, and became interested in finding the remains of the Temple of Artemis (also known as the Temple of Diana). In 1863 he relinquished his railway commission and began the search. The British Museum granted him a permit and a small allowance for expenses in return for property rights to any antiquities he might discover at Ephesus. Ever since then Ephesus has been slowly reclaiming its past.
Our arrival at the outstanding Library of Celsus made us gasp with delight. It was built in the 2nd century by the Roman consul, Gaius Iulius Aquila in honour of his father, senator Tiberius Iulius Celsus Polemaeanus. The library used an ingenious method of humidity control - it had air channels running behind the niches in which precious rolled manuscripts were stored. The correct interpretation of the library is a 'heroon' as it was built over the burial chamber of the deceased father.
Artists impression of the interior of the library 
Wisdom (Sophia)
This close up photo reveals the libraries monumental scale
The statues in the niches symbolise Wisdom, Knowledge, Intelligence and Virtue. They are copies of the originals which can now be seen in the Ephesus Museum, Vienna
Virtue (Arete) 
The three-arched gate beside the library was built in 40 AD by the slaves Mazeus and Mythridates for their emperor Augustus who gave them their freedom
A walk along Marble Way
to the Great Theatre located on the slopes of Panayir Hill. It has a seating capacity for 25,000 people and is the largest theatre in the Anatolian region. Originally constructed during the Hellenistic period in third century BC it was enlarged to its current size by the Romans
It is difficult to convey the scale of the Great Theatre, but this photo must represent about one third
Arcadian Street led down to the harbour. Entering from the port, all traders and sailors would first arrive in this street. Constructed in the Hellenistic period it was restored during the reign of Emperor Arcadius. On both sides of the street were shops and galleries. I read that it was one of only three lighted streets at that time, the other two being in Rome and Antioch. I am presuming that it was lit by flaming torches. There were water sewerage channels running beneath the marble flagstones down to the sea. 
 These monumental gates along with large warehouses stood at the entrance to the harbour 
Today the area where the harbour stood is now at least 8 km away from the Aegean coast
As our walk through Ephesus draws to its close we pass the remains of the house of the Virgin Mary.  A typical Roman example of architecture which is said to combine her house and grave. It is known that she came to the area with St. John who spend several years spreading the word of Christianity. It is where they both ended their days and is a place of pilgrimage, not only for Christians, but for Muslims too. Muslims recognise Mary as the mother of one of their prophets
A Brief Time line
Early Ephesus 6000 BC - 334 BC
Hellenistic Ephesus 3rd - lst century BC
Roman Ephesus 133 BC - 2nd century AD
The city was destroyed by Goths in 263 AD
Byzantine Ephesus Emperor Constantine l rebuilt the city 4th - 14th century AD
In 1403 Ephesus was completely ruined by 
Timer-Leng, a member of the Turkish Barlas Tribe (descendants of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire)

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Standen, East Grinstead - An Arts and Crafts Gem

It is a long time since we visited Standen, so when I saw an 'Amazon Deal' to stay at a hotel not too far away, it seemed an ideal opportunity to pay a return visit for H's birthday 
Last time we visited was when our sons were still at school. We had recently purchased an Arts and Crafts vase by the Della Robbia Pottery, Birkenhead at an Antique Fair.  The pottery which was established in 1894 was inspired and named after the work of the Florentine Renaissance sculptor, Luca della Robbia. 
I recall our sons walking into the Morning room ahead of us at Standen, and exclaiming to one another about all the Della Robbia Pottery to be found in the room. 
The lady attendant was very surprised, and looked at her file of notes to check whether they were correct or not. When we entered the room she made a point of telling us how very impressed she was with their knowledge. Like Luca's work, the pottery used a small and unique colour pallet, which if you know it, and our sons did, is instantly recognisable. 
3 images via
The pottery closed in 1906, and now all of their pieces are very collectible. Every pot is totally unique having traceable initials inscribed by the potter on the base. A book came out recently which puts names to the initials, along with some lovely old black and white photos showing the potters assembled together, and a short resume of their lives. 
Standen was the rural retreat of James and Margaret Beale, designed for them by Philip Webb. Webb also designed William Morris's home in south London, The Red House, Bexleyheath. Standen is recognised as one of the finest examples of Arts and Crafts workmanship. Of particular interest to us are the Wm Morris interiors accompanied by lots of interesting artefacts from his close associates which create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The house was in the process of being dressed ready for the Christmas season. Cameras without flash were allowed, but the National Trust purposefully keep the light levels very low to protect the fabrics. I apologise for the quality of my photos which give an inferior indication of the inside.
A square-cased piano co-designed by Baillie Scott, Arts & Craft Architect whose style was reminiscent of Voysey and C.R. Ashbee - Ashbee was the designer who set up the Guild of Handicraft which moved from London to Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds. He is more usually associated with silver bowls, chalices etc and jewellery 
A marble head of Margaret Beale when she was 84 by F.W. Sargent who was related by marriage to the Beale family
 'Fruit' was one of the earliest Wm Morris wall paper designs, previously known as Pomegranate produced in 1864
A cabinet by C.R. Ashbee 
The conservatory was devoid of many plants. Apparently both the warm temperatures during the summer months and several little creatures had caused some infestations on them 
In the Drawing room is a glorious hand-knotted wool carpet designed by J.H. Dearle for Morris & Company
 The mild steel fireplace in the Dining room with repoussé decoration designed by Philip Webb and made by John Pearson of the Guild of Handicraft
A Claret jug with silver mounts designed by Christopher Dresser (1834-1904). Christopher was regarded as the 'father of industrial design'. His simplicity of execution and boldness of design made him far ahead of his time. He was greatly influenced by Japan having spent 4 months travelling there. The profile of the handle on this Claret jug shows a Japanese influence

Chair backs covered in Wm Morris fabric 'two dragons'
Convex mirror - Repoussé copper frame designed by C.R. Ashbee and John Pearson featuring peacock motif and the motto 'O wad some power the giftie gi'e us to see ourselves as others see us'
Some of the Della Robbia pottery in the Morning room of which there must be about 12 pots
A painting on the landing 'The Baptism of King Edwin' by Ford Madox Brown
Next time will be a return to Turkey

Saturday 22 November 2014


Lokum - Turkish Delight to you and me -  has its roots in a culture that is almost as old as Anatolian history itself
Lokum is slightly chewy, not particularly sweet, and has a subtle flavour. Both the taste and texture is far removed from the Turkish Delight sold in the UK 
Its name in Ottoman is 'Rahatü'l Holkum' meaning contentment of the throat, it has been made in the Anatolia region for over 15 centuries
During the 17th century the fame of Lokum spread throughout the Ottoman Empire and in the 18th century it arrived in Europe. Lokum usually has a secret ingredient known only to its maker
Many natural flavours are used in Lokum from rosewater to pomegranate, lemon to bergamot. Sometimes it is filled with nuts, pistachio, hazelnut, etc and can be coated with coconut flakes, sesame seeds or a light dusting of icing sugar

Is your mouth watering?
I shall be away from the computer for a few days. We are heading off to belatedly celebrate J's birthday.