The greatest thing I will ever create is my life. I adore the world and the people within it and get great enjoyment from sharing the things and experiences I come across.
Here is some uber doozie dopeness in Holllllland ^+^
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The Louwman Museum is the most spectacular collection of automobiles and art, sculpture and design. It is simply exquisite. From the architecture of the building and landscape of the grounds, to the presentation, layout and flow of the museum itself. The Louwman collection is not only vast, but perfectly composed. It is obvious each and every piece has been carefully selected and adored.
From teeny to large what is especially wonderful is the Louwmans invested in pieces that resonated of other peoples passion and loves also. Mr Toyoda's desk, Robert Mathewson's Swan Car, one of Elvis' Cadillacs, the Suzuki raced by Wil Hartog who was the first Dutchman to win the 500cc Grand Prix at the 1977 Dutch TT. A revolutionary McLaren racing car and the DB5 Aston Martin driven by Sean Connery in the James Bond film 'Goldfinger' sit with bronze, glass and silver sculptures, paintings, posters, gas bowsers and other collectables; all exemplary members of this exclusive family. Every single item on display has been thoughtfully and lovingly selected as the pièce de résistance of it's kind- the museum exudes passion.
I live by 'quality over quantity' - but this is a very, very rare instance where quantity is of exceptional quality.
The Louwman Museum, complied by two generations of the Louwman family, is home to the world’s oldest private collection of motor cars. The museum dates back to 1934 and now comprises over two hundred and fifty antique and classic motor cars. Experts regard the collection as one of the most beautiful in the World. Each item on display has its own story to tell, its own contribution to history. The motor car is a mirror of culture. Automobiles also mirror personality; I would have very much liked Mr Louwman ;)
The collection is housed in a purpose-built museum in The Hague, the city where P.W. Louwman established his Dodge and Chrysler import company. The building, designed by American architect Michael Graves, blends in sympathetically with its historic surroundings. The landscape gardens, designed by Lodewijk Baljon, complement the architecture of the building.
From Bugatti like my Great Grandmother raced, to Jaguars my Grandfather collected and restored to Cadillacs my Uncle adores and Aston Martins which are the ultimate car in my eyes (duly noted no Morris Minor in the collection!) there is something for everyones tastes.
Elvis Presley, the ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, loved Cadillacs, and so does my uncle who is a dead ringer for the man himself. Presley owned about a hundred of them and most were customised. His purple and pink Cadillacs have since become world famous. This Fleetwood with its 8.2-litre engine was also built to his specification. Dummy headlamps were placed over the original lights, a generous amount of chrome was applied and thick running boards were fitted with a light-organ, which flashed when the car doors were opened. The dashboard lights pulsed to the beat of the music on the radio. Needless to say the interior has plush upholstery. A so-called ‘continental kit’, an extended bumper with spare wheel housing, was added to the rear. This was first applied to the Lincoln Continental, hence the name. However, on this Cadillac the housing is actually too small to take a real wheel.
Sadly, Elvis did not have long to enjoy this car. He died in August 1977, aged only 42.
Forever linked: James Bond, Sean Connery, Aston Martin. This is the original DB5 that secret agent James Bond was given by the engineer ‘Q’ to carry out his mission in the film ‘Goldfinger’. The Aston Martin has the following gadgets:
- Two Browning machine guns behind the front indicators
- Hydraulic, extendable bumpers for use as battering-rams
- Revolving licence plates with English, Swiss and French registrations
- Extendable knives in the left rear hub to slash tyres
- A smoke dispenser to create a smokescreen
- A rear-mounted oil pump to create a slippery surface for pursuers
- A mechanism to scatter crow’s-feet on the road
- A bullet-proof screen to protect the rear window
- A navigation and radar system for tracking cars
- And, last but not least, an ejector seat to get rid of undesirable passengers
The deviser of all this lethal technology was Ken Adam, who worked on the production of the film. He was inspired by his experiences in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, when he flew a heavily armed Hawker Typhoon. All modifications to this DB5, which is one of four (three have survived) that were fully kitted out, were made in the Aston Martin factory. The scene where the car is handed over to James Bond was filmed in a corner of that factory.
Wil Hartog (born 28 May 1948) is a Dutch former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer.
Born in in Abbekerk, North Holland, Hartog became the first Dutchman to win a 500cc Grand Prix when he claimed a victory at the 1977 Dutch TT. Hartog won five Grands Prix during his career. Standing over six feet tall, he was at a disadvantage against his jockey-sized competitors yet he still managed impressive results. With his penchant for wearing all white riding apparel, he was nicknamed the white giant.
The angular, aerodynamic edges on the sides are typical of this very wide McLaren M8F, which was built for the effectively unlimited CanAm Series. It was the most significant model in a series of almost unbeatable racing cars which, in the hands of racing driver/constructor/team owner Bruce McLaren and his teammate Denny Hulme, dominated the CanAm Series at the end of the sixties. It even got to the stage where the race was referred to as ‘The Bruce and Denny Show’. Both men are New Zealanders, hence the kiwi, my countries national symbol, on the side of the car. YESSS! ^+^
In 1967, 1968 and 1969 McLaren and Hulme took turns in winning the title. However, in 1970 tragedy struck – Bruce McLaren was killed while test-driving the new prototype. In spite of these difficulties Denny Hulme managed to win the title once again.
This Brooke Swan Car is truly extraordinary. It was the creation of the eccentric and wealthy Englishman Robert Nicholl ‘Scotty’ Matthewson, who lived in early 20th century Calcutta, the capital of what was then British India. Matthewson wanted to shock the local elite with his car, and he certainly succeeded in doing so.
The bodywork represents a swan gliding through water. The rear is decorated with a lotus flower design finished in gold leaf, an ancient symbol for divine wisdom. Apart from the normal lights, there are electric bulbs in the swan’s eyes that glow eerily in the dark. The car has an exhaust-driven, eight-tone Gabriel horn that can be operated by means of a keyboard at the back of the car. A ship’s telegraph was used to issue commands to the driver. Brushes were fitted to sweep off the elephant dung collected by the tyres. The swan’s beak is linked to the engine’s cooling system and opens wide to allow the driver to spray steam to clear a passage in the streets. Whitewash could be dumped onto the road through a valve at the back of the car to make the swan appear even more lifelike.
The car caused panic and chaos in the streets on its first outing and the police had to intervene. Matthewson sold the car to the Maharaja of Nabha, whose family owned it for over seventy years.
The car was discovered years later in its original state, albeit in poor condition. The sumptuous Indian silk upholstery had been eaten away by rats. In 1991 it came into the ownership of the Louwman Museum and was fully restored. New upholstery was commissioned from an Indian weaving mill following the discovery of remnants of the original material under the seats. All the gadgets were made to working order again. In 1993 the Swan won the Montagu Prize at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance in California.
To accompany the large ‘Swan Car’ The Marahaja of Nabha had this smaller version made for use on his estate in the 1920s. The body was hand-beaten from steel sheet and fitted with an electric motor. It was called the 'Baby Swan' or 'Cygnet'. Note the cygnets at the front. This is probably the oldest Indian-made automobile.
Both cars are now reunited in the museum, like ‘mother and daughter’.
Above: muses, amazing engines, filigree cars, Art Nouveaux posters, illustrations, grills, bowsers and magnificent interior achritecture- pwwooah, if I only could show more!
Art or an ostentatious and vulgar display of wealth? This is the 1955 equivalent to driving a customised hot pink Porche while wearing a matching velour jumpsuit on yourself and chihuahua- hold on.. nah, that's kinda funny hot. This thing is disturbing- more like using the chihuahua to furnish the Porche. Visitors to the Earls Court Motor Show in London in 1955 must have been in dismay when they saw this Daimler on the stand of Hooper coachbuilders. Its extraordinary characteristics are golden trim, zebra-hide upholstery, an ivory (!) dashboard and a zebra mascot on the radiator. It is a disturbing relic of the mentality held by some in the 1950's towards Africa and the animal inhabitants.
Created by Lady Docker, a former nightclub dancer who married Sir Bernard Docker (the chairman of BSA, which owned the Daimler company) in 1949, after two previous millionaire-marriages. Lady Docker believed that the Daimler marque was not widely recognised and needed to do something to enhance its reputation. She took on the role of stylist and as of 1951 she commissioned Hooper to build a new and ostentatious display model every year. This was the 1955 model, which was further fitted with a cocktail bar, a picnic basket, leather cases, and ivory make-up utensils.
Eventually, the management at BSA had enough of the Dockers’ flamboyant and indulgent lifestyle, especially since England had not yet recovered from the effects of the war. Sir Bernard was removed from the board and the cars were stripped of their accessories before being sold off.
The Golden Zebra had multiple owners and was restored to its original state between 1998 and 2006. Zebra hides were imported from Kenya for the upholstery. Needless to say, the dashboard is no longer made of ivory but a combination of ivory wood and sycamore.
After the BSA affair, Sir Bernard and Lady Docker were gradually excluded from high society and lost more and more of their possessions. They spent their last days in a bungalow in Jersey as tax exiles. Good triumphs evil... thank goodness.
After winding your way through the displays, you arrive into a grand hall. Original house fronts, sourced from around The Hague create an authentic 1920's atmosphere. The houses are furnished and filled with all sorts of amazing and interesting goodies in their own right. Artisan level food is accompanied by attentive old world service- simply Deeeee-vine ^=^
Whether you are a motor enthusiast, appreciate art and design or just like to wander amongst beautiful things, this is on the top of my list of wonderful ways to spend time. Quite. Magnificent.
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The M.C Escher collection is housed in the former Winter Palace of Queen Mother Emma of the Netherlands. The royal ambiance of the building has been maintained to the highest standard and much to my delight- incredible contemporary chandeliers are installed in the rooms.
These contemporary masterpieces by Rotterdam based artist Hans van Bentem take controversial forms; a skull, gun, shark and bomb are a few, however they mange to sublimely and seamlessly integrate modern cool into their traditional chic environment.
Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is one of the world's most famous graphic artists. He was born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, as the fourth and youngest son of a civil engineer and had a privileged and culturally rich childhood.
He is most famous for his so-called 'impossible constructions' and optical illusion drawings. What most are not so aquatinted with are his wonderful, more realistic works created during the time he lived and traveled in Italy.
M.C. Escher was a prolific artist. During his lifetime he made 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches. Like some of his famous predecessors, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer and Holbein, M.C. Escher was left-handed. Escher was not only a graphic artist, but also illustrated books, designed tapestries, postage stamps and murals.
Following are some of my favourite Escher works ^=^