Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Nimble Fingers


Detail from a statue of  Enriqueta Rylands at the John Rylands Library in Manchester city centre. John Rylands 2-1

Even given the graininess of this image I find the detail amazing, the knuckles, the sinews, the muscles all carved from stone. I wonder what the sculptor would make of the amazing hand transplant that has made the news here in the UK.

Enriqueta presides over the reading room of the library, that she founded in memory of her husband,

John Rylands 8-1 

many things in society may have changed with the passing of time but the fabric of the library is as it was in 1900 when the library opened to readers.

reading room john Rylands -1

I can’t help but muse on the fact that the current exhibition housed in the glass cabinets at her feet  is entitled Fifty Years of Clockwork Orange would surely be enough to to bring a blush to those blanched  Victorian cheeks. Goodness from her vantage point she can even see The Rocking Machine 

The John Rylands Library allows and encourages photography (no tripods, no flash) and invites its visitors to share their images on Flickr. They also make a very decent brew of tea in the cafe, at £2.50 for a pot for two we thought it a city centre bargain. Mr Uphilldowndale and I didn’t have long to linger, I’d like to pop back one day to take some photos that are a little more considered, I’ll add it to the list.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

13 thoughts on “Nimble Fingers

  1. Very nice photos. Also looks like a nice library, one where silence might still be the order of the day!

    No tripod and no flash? Either a very steady hand or a VR lens.

  2. Oh my! She and her library are beautiful. I’m not sure I would get much reading done there, but to take in those surroundings would not be a wasted trip.

  3. Those hands are amazing! It looks as though even the fine hairs on her skin were captured in stone.

  4. Interesting post, and links, along with terrific pictures. xx

  5. Libraries – wonder how long we will have them?

  6. That is amazing. Painters used to charge more for hands. I wonder if sculptors did the same. Top posthumous marks.

  7. Well that was interesting. Beautiful hands. I must show them to Betty Beeby.

    I must say the Victorians were rather different in the privacy of their own minds and bedrooms than they were in, let’s say, the public square. At least the Victorians Around Here were. I actually appreciate a certain amount of reticence, but I am an old bat. Clockwork Orange was one of Rob the Firefighter’s favorite books. I couldn’t get through it.

    (A note for the next visit – Scott Thomas carries a beanbag to museums that allow photos but no tripods. He can usually find a railing or shelf to plop it onto, and then rests the camera safely on top.)

    • Violence, I’m afraid* I can’t read it or watch it as ‘entertainment’ or ‘leisure’. I suspect it is because my own imagination is just too vivid, I am hypersensitive… the ‘drama or thrill’ it creates to a narrative is lost on me, it simply distresses and disturbs.
      As for the photography, I didn’t have a beanbag, but there was much leaning and lodging on pillars, door frames and display cases…

      *’I’m afraid’ an interesting choice of words, given the topic..?

  8. I want to go to there.


  9. Pingback: Overdue Library Books « Uphilldowndale

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