Recently we travelled to the county town of Stafford. For some reason we don't go there very often but this time we had a special reason for visiting.
We wanted to see the Rob Ryan exhibition at the Shire Hall Gallery. There was a festive Christmas market outside the hall with lots of lovely tempting food and drink and beautiful crafts and flowers.
The words on the banner are 'Your job is to take this world apart and put it back together again - but even better!!!'
There are both original paper cuts and prints in the exhibition. As well as some wonderful decorated pottery cats and dogs to reflect the ceramics heritage of Staffordshire. I was thrilled to see these as I have my own pair of painted cats purchased when we first came to live in the county. The middle section of the exhibition featured Rob Ryan's illustrations for the book 'The Gift' with words by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
Here is a (link) to a post on the blog 'Spitalfields Life' about the opening of the Rob Ryan exhibition in Stafford with some wonderful photos of the Staffordshire cats.
Whilst we were in the Shire Hall we had a cup of coffee in the cafe on the balcony overlooking the exhibition and then had a quick look in the old court rooms. You can sit in the viewing gallery and play recordings of past court proceedings - it's very atmospheric and reminds me a little of the court in The Judge's Lodgings at Presteigne.
Outside the market was in full swing. I loved this old Citroen van with its open side. They were selling some lovely things like scented candles in pretty cups, festive door wreaths and bunches of lavender in wooden garden trugs. Lots of pennies needed though!
This is the outside of the Ancient High House museum. We usually pop in here for a look around but didn't this time. It's very interesting inside; especially the panelled rooms where King Charles I and his nephew Prince Rupert of the Rhine stayed in 1642 as they passed through the town on their way to nearby Shrewsbury.
Above is the very pretty Church Lane. In summer this lane is full of brightly coloured flowers in tubs and hanging baskets. At the top of the lane is the church of St Mary.
It was time to move on as we hoped to call in at Amerton Farm on our way home. I'll leave you with some more images of Stafford. I bought a copy of the exhibition poster as a souvenir!
Thanks, Diane for introducing me to the wonderful work of Rob Ryan.