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The Cloisters

The Cloisters is a museum in Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, New York City, specializing in European medieval architecture and decorative arts, with a focus on the Romanesque and Gothic periods. Governed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it contains a large collection of medieval artworks shown in the architectural settings of French monasteries and abbeys, its buildings are centered around four cloisters—the Cuxa, Saint-Guilhem and Trie—that were purchased by American sculptor and art dealer George Grey Barnard, dismantled in Europe between 1934 and 1939, moved to New York. They were acquired for philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr.. Other major sources of objects were the collections of J. P. Joseph Brummer; the museum's building was designed by the architect Charles Collens, on a site on a steep hill, with upper and lower levels. It contains medieval gardens and a series of chapels and themed galleries, including the Romanesque, Fuentidueña, Unicorn and Gothic rooms; the design and ambiance of the building is intended to evoke a sense of medieval European monastic life.

It holds about 5,000 works of art and architecture, all European and dating from the Byzantine to the early Renaissance periods during the 12th through 15th centuries. The varied objects include stone and wood sculptures, illuminated manuscripts and panel paintings, of which the best known include the c. 1422 Early Netherlandish Mérode Altarpiece and the c. 1495–1505 Flemish Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries. Rockefeller purchased the museum site in Washington Heights in 1930, donated it and the Bayard collection to the Metropolitan in 1931. Upon its opening on May 10, 1938, the Cloisters was described as a collection "shown informally in a picturesque setting, which stimulates imagination and creates a receptive mood for enjoyment"; the basis for the museum's architectural structure came from the collection of George Grey Barnard, an American sculptor and collector who single-handedly established a medieval art museum near his home in the Fort Washington section of Upper Manhattan. Although he was a successful sculptor who had studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, his income was not enough to support his family.

Barnard led most of his life on the edge of poverty. He moved to Paris in 1883, he lived in the village of Moret-sur-Loing, near Fontainebleau, between 1905 and 1913, began to deal in 13th- and 14th-century European objects to supplement his earnings. In the process he built a large personal collection of what he described as "antiques", at first by buying and selling stand-alone objects with French dealers by the acquisition of in situ architectural artifacts from local farmers. Barnard was interested in the abbeys and churches founded by monastic orders from the 12th century. Following centuries of pillage and destruction during wars and revolutions, stones from many of these buildings were reused by local populations. A pioneer in seeing the value in such artifacts, Barnard met with hostility to his effort from local and governmental groups, yet he was an astute negotiator who had the advantage of a professional sculptor's eye for superior stone carving, by 1907 he had built a high-quality collection at low cost.

Reputedly he paid $25,000 for the Trie buildings, $25,000 for the Bonnefort and $100,000 for the Cuxa cloisters. His success led him to adopt a somewhat romantic view of himself, he recalled bicycling across the French countryside and unearthing fallen and long-forgotten Gothic masterworks along the way. He claimed to have found the tomb effigy of Jean d'Alluye face down, in use as a bridge over a small stream. By 1914 he had gathered enough artifacts to open a gallery in Manhattan. Barnard neglected his personal finances, was so disorganized that he misplaced the origin or provenance of his purchases, he sold his collection to John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1925 during one of his recurring monetary crises. The two had been introduced by the architect William W. Bosworth. Purchased for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the acquisition included structures that would become the foundation and core of the museum. Rockefeller and Barnard did not get along; the English painter and art critic Roger Fry was the Metropolitan's chief European acquisition agent and acted as an intermediary.

Rockefeller acquired Barnard's collection for around $700,000, retaining Barnard as an advisor. In 1927 Rockefeller hired Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. son of one of the designers of Central Park, the Olmsted Brothers firm to create a park in the Fort Washington area. In February 1930 Rockefeller offered to build the Cloisters for the Metropolitan. Under consultation with Bosworth, he decided to build the museum at a 66.5-acre site at Fort Tryon Park, which they chose for its elevation and accessible but isolated location. The land and existing buildings were purchased that year from the C. K. G. Billings estate and other holdings in the Fort Washington area; the Cloisters building and adjacent 4-acre gardens were designed by Charles Collens. They incorporate elements from abbeys in France. Parts from Sant Miquel de Cuixà, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Bonnefont-en-Comminges, Trie-sur-Baïse and Froville were disassembled stone-by-stone and shipped to New York City, where they were reconstructed and integrated into a cohesive whole.

Construction took place over a five-year period from 1934. Rockefeller bought several hundred acres of the New Jersey Palisades, which he donated to the State in an effort to preserve

Centre of Scotland

There is some debate as to the location of the geographical centre of Scotland. This is due to different methods of calculating the centre, whether surrounding islands are included. In 2002, the Ordnance Survey calculated the centre using a mathematical centre of gravity method; this is the mathematical equivalent of calculating the point at which a cardboard cut-out of Scotland could be balanced on the tip of a pin. It becomes complicated; the centre point including islands was found to be at grid reference NN6678471599. This is on a hillside near Loch Garry, between Dalwhinnie and Blair Atholl and close to the A9 road and the railway line. Nearby, it is claimed that the centre lies a few miles from the village of Badenoch, it is marked by a stone set into a wall. The Ordnance Survey calculated that the centre of Mainland Scotland is at NN7673153751; the point is 5 km east of the mountain of Schiehallion, sometimes claimed to be at the centre of Scotland. Another cruder method is to take the intersection between the line of latitude midway between the most northerly and southerly points on the Scottish mainland, the line of longitude midway between the most easterly and westerly points.

In the days when Corrachadh Mòr in Ardnamurchan was undisputedly the most westerly point, this produced 56 degrees 39 minutes N, 4 degrees 0 minutes W near the summit of Schiehallion. However the construction of the Skye Bridge, arguably turning Skye into part of the Scottish mainland, may have upset some of these calculations. Less credible candidates for the centre of Scotland exist; the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1908 suggested the megalithic Faskally Cottages Standing Stones. The Society were aware of other contenders of the centre of Scotland: "Various spots have been so designated: a site at Struan, several miles to the N. W. of Faskally. Matthew Paris's map of 1247 shows a clear north-south divide to Scotland. Proverbially Stirling is the strategically important "Gateway to the Highlands", it has been said that "Stirling, like a huge brooch clasps Highlands and Lowlands together". There is and east-west divide as told in the story as recorded by Boece who relates that in 855 Scotland was invaded by two Northumbrian princes and Ella.

They united their Northumberian Anglian forces with the Lowland Strathclyde Britons in order to defeat the Highland Pictish Scots. Having secured Stirling castle, they built the first stone bridge over the Forth. On the top they raised a crucifix with the inscription: "Anglos, a Scotis separat, crux ista remotis, it may be the stone cross was a tripoint for the three kingdom's marches. In this way the stone cross in the centre of Stirling Bridge was the heart of Scotland; the centre of the Central Belt may be a point of interest. The Heart of Scotland services known as Harthill is close to the centre of the M8 motorway, Scotland's main road linking East with West. Cumbernauld in the Central Belt, is a watershed with one of its rivers flowing to the east and the other flowing west; this watershed test could apply to other sites like the summit of Ben Lomond being on the line of the Scottish watershed but Cumbernauld arguably has this property in its name. A map of Scotland's watershed has been produced for walkers.

There have been other centres suggested, such as the furthest point from salt water including sea lochs. A site centred about 8 miles north of the village of Calvine on the A9 west of Blair Atholl has been suggested; as with other topics like defining the location of the North Pole the answer depends on which criteria you choose. Some have claimed Gartincaber Tower for the title; some Stirlingshire residents consider it ahead of Stirling Bridge. Extreme points of Scotland Geographical centre of Europe Centre points of the United Kingdom heart of Scotland using qgis

Southcote, Bedfordshire

Southcote is a hamlet in the parish of Linslade, in Bedfordshire, England. It is in the civil parish of Leighton-Linslade; the hamlet name is Anglo Saxon in origin and means'southern cottage'. The hamlet, little more than one road of cottages, is located to the south of the small town of Linslade, to which it has become joined as Linslade has grown. Linslade has itself joined to the larger town of Leighton Buzzard and hence Southcote appears to be a small suburb of Leighton Buzzard; the Rothschild family who reside at nearby Ascott House maintain a stud farm at Southcote, own the remaining agricultural land in the hamlet. The stud farm and its adjoining former manager's house are known as "Southcourt Stud"; this leads to confusion as to the hamlet's true name as in the immediate vicinity is a Southcourt Avenue. Southcourt Cottage, a large Victorian house, close to the stud, was from 1922 to 1951 let by the Rothschild family to Sir Basil Henriques the philanthropist and social reformer, known for his work with Jewish youth in the east end of London.

Southcourt Cottage became a holiday home for these children. He wrote several books on reforming juvenile law, founded educational youth clubs in the Whitechapel area of the city. Southcote was transferred from Buckinghamshire to Bedfordshire in 1974. Media related to Southcote, Bedfordshire at Wikimedia Commons