One of the most peculiar, unexpectedly Halloween-worthy Museums in the U.S., is in Doylestown

The Mercer Museum is a six-storey reinforced concrete castle designed by Henry Mercer (1856-1930), completed in 1916. Henry Mercer was a child of Doylestown who, having started his professional life as a lawyer, went on to become an archeologist, historian, avid collector, dog lover and a successful tile-designer.

By 1897, Mercer realised that handmade objects were being discarded in favour of new machine-made ones, and felt the need to collect and preserve them, and with them, parts of the daily life in America before the Industrial Revolution. He gathered almost 30,000 items ranging from hand tools to horse-drawn vehicles and, in 1913, began working on plans to build a museum to house his huge collection and share it with the world.

Among the oldest artifacts in the Mercer Museum are a 2,000 year old whale oil lamp and Native American implements dating to 6,000-8,000 BC.

Mercer Museum, Doylestown, PA

Tip: if you visit on a chilly day, leave your coat on! I think we were the only ones that used the cloakroom, not realising the building is so drafty, we might as well have been outdoors.

February 16th, 2020

Captivated at the Michener Art Museum

Outdoors

Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA

February 16th, 2020

Getting inspired at the Michener Art Museum

Indoors

Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA

February 16th, 2020

I Set Before You This Day || George R. Anthonisen

This work, part of the James Michener Museum collection, was created to honour Holocaust survivors and those who risked their lives to protect them from the Nazis during WWII. In all honesty, I didn’t mind the ephemeral intervention (by an unknown ‘artist’) – on the contrary, I thought it was harmless, and quite endearing.

James Michener Museum, Doylestown, PA

February 16th, 2020

Spirit World and Folk Tales || Princeton University Art Museum

It was in February but, somehow, felt like Halloween!

Princeton, NJ

February 15th, 2020

Treasure Hunting || Princeton University Art Museum

A walk through centuries and civilisations.

Princeton, NJ

February 15th, 2020

The Sacred Grove || Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Dating from Toulouse-Lautrec’s student days, this parody of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes’s The Sacred Grove mimics the style and subject of that allegorical composition celebrating the arts and muses but subverts the serious tone. A clockface appears on the ancient portico, a giant tube of paint is held aloft by one of the arts, and a circular loaf of bread, instead of a laurel crown, is held by the kneeling youth. The men advancing from the right are Louis Anquetin, a fellow student; Édouard Dujardin, Symbolist critic and founder of the Revue Wagnérienne; Maurice Barrès, Symbolist author; and Léon Bonnat, Lautrec’s first teacher. Lautrec himself is seen from behind, urinating on the ground, and a police officer tries to keep the intruders in line. [source]

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
The Sacred Grove, 1884
Oil on canvas

Princeton University Art Museum

The lion that was desperate

The painting portrays the four evangelists with their symbols: Matthew with the angel, Mark with the lion, Luke with the ox, and John with the eagle, receiving the divine inspiration to compose their gospels.

All well and good, but what about that poor lion silently begging to be rescued…?

Abraham Bloemaert || The Four Evangelists, ca. 1612–15 – oil on canvas

Enjoying the collection at Princeton University Art Museum

February 15th, 2020