Studio: international art — 3.1894

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Sketching Grounds.

—No. VII Bruges

ETTERS FROM ARTISTS TO waiting t0 be restored to power—so that in its pre-

ARTISTS NO VII BRUGES sent state ^ carries one back into another century.

AS 'A SKETCHING GROUND Near tnis same Gruuthuus is a vibrant note of

BY WILLIAM PATTEN colour, one of several old gardens that would

gladden the heart of an
My dear E.,—All that I wish to Alfred Parsons or a Boutet
attempt in this brief letter is to show de Monvel, or any artist
you, as a fellow art student of limited who delights in disorder
means, how varied and considerable of old-fashioned flowers,
are the attractions which Bruges and It is no trouble to obtain
her surroundings present, either for a permission to paint it, ex-
holiday visit or for a summer's work, cept that an interpreter is
Nor need the cost deter you; excel- needed to convey the re-
lent board and lodging at four francs a quest. Another garden of /
day is surely less expensive than even this character is in the coiffure of the
a quiet inn in an English village, and Hospital of St. Jean ; the peasant women
for this moderate price I found com- building itself contains,

fortable quarters at the Cafe du Nord, you will remember, many famous pictures by
opposite the theatre in the Rue Memling, and his beautiful Shrine of St. Ursula.
Flamande. The proprietor and his The portal on the left side of Notre Dame is a fine
daughters speak French (Flemish, as specimen of Gothic architecture, like some rare
you know, being the vernacular old piece of delicate silver oxidised by time and
here), and one of the daughters exposure. Besides these you will be charmed
converses in English fairly with the Porte St. Croix, the Porte de Gand, the
well. The most direct route house of the St. Sebastian Society of Archers
'/fyjjjjfiZ from London is the Dover- (recently painted by M. Marius Michel), the
r ''jiyP Ostend boat to Ostend; exquisite Chapelle de St. Sang, adjoining the
|li thence to Bruges is only a Hotel de Ville, and the imposing Belfry Tower.
fpM matter of thirty minutes to One of the most old-world subjects, some little
* W~\ an hour by train. There you distance from the centre of the town, is the Church
M will find something like a of the Holy Sepulchre, which was founded in
^ resident English colony; in- 1427; the arrangement of the interior, with the
. /"' deed, I heard of one or two tombs of the founders, is most singular; it is be-
I English boarding houses, lieved to have been studied
which no doubt you could from its prototype at Jeru-
the belfry tower easily discover if you pre- salem, to which its archi-
ferred them. tect made two pilgrimages
Bruges is intersected by several canals, and all for the express purpose,
along these there are charming bits of colour that in Although to-day the
their picturesque abandon suggest Venice. Cafe's, average Parisian is hardly
with old verandahs looking over the water, gardens likely to take Thackeray au
which come down to the water's edge, many things grand serieux, either as
that might have been the subject of a " Martin a painter or as a literary
Rico" or "Joseph Pennell." I am thinking specially artist, yet these few words
of a tiny canal that comes up dramatically under the of his, found in a some-
iron-barred windows of the stately Gruuthuus, and what unknown essay, may
is almost lost among the buildings that hem it in. add weight to what I say :
The Gruuthuus was originally a palace, but it is " And so, we found this
now being adapted to the purposes of a museum, morning old Dowager
Bruges in olden days was a rich city; even now, Bruges basking in the
though it is left stranded by the diverted tide of pleasant August sun and
commercial prosperity, it retains that nameless looking, if not prosperous,
charm of dignity in its buildings, its streets, and at least cheerful and well-
its poor—that touch of feudalism which seems bred. It is the quaintest old windmill at sluis.
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