Dome with a view

5 September 2013
Ben Pentreath

A small post for a Thursday evening. When I wrote my brief blog about the Pantheon, I had a very interesting email from a reader, an architect, Tom Matthews, in Colorado – who sent me these photos of students of the American Academy in Rome. Not quite sure when they were taken. The title of this blog is, after all, Inspiration, and I’m not sure I’ve seen anything quite so inspiring in a while. What would you give to be there? Thank you, Tom.

Perhaps the photographs are the Venn Diagram (don’t you love Venn diagrams?) of Pantheon blog and the crazy blog I wrote a while ago about the crane climber, Mr James Kingston – which, if you have not already seen it, I urge you to read right now. Happy vertigo.

Incidentally – thank you everyone for your many interesting and inspiring comments on the Italian blogs. I’m grateful to learn a lot more about buildings I love; and I’m really grateful to have had a prompt to go and see, with friends, Plein Soleil at the Curzon Mayfair last night – totally fantastic… what a great film, which I didn’t really know.  Shall we have an Alain Delon moment (for Friday morning?).

I will be honest – I learn as much as I ever write on this blog. Fun.

I’m writing on a perfect, balmy evening in London, which they say is the last night of summer… the temperature is meant to drop by 10 degrees overnight. We’ve had supper outside Susannah Hunter’s on Lambs Conduit Street, with our neighbour Maggie Owen, served by fabulous Ciao Bella, and, well, it felt a tiny little bit like being back in Rome, and all feels well with the world… but I, for one, am secretly rather looking forward to autumn now. Paris in the morning sounds glamorous, until you hear that Bridie and I, on a buying trip for exciting new things for the shop, are catching the 5.40am Eurostar and back to London tomorrow evening. Grim.

But then I am to Dorset, and I don’t know about you… I just can’t wait.

10 comments on this post


Ben – your garden is an absolute paradise. I wonder if you have ever posted a schematic or blueprint of the area, indicating what’s planted where? Kind of like the plans they have in Architectural Digest. I am so curious to see how it’s all put together. Thank you!

Robert Rowandsays:

I saw Purple Noon(Plein Soleil) in Cape Town when I was still at school and remember being amazed seeing one of the men wearing white shoes. Needless to say on my first trip to Italy in 1962 I bought a pair!

How odd that no one seems to have taken a photo into the interior through the oculus!

how cool is that? being able to stand on top of the pantheon. something new for that “bucket list”!

love your blog, new to it, but will be back!

it is summer in la-bloody hot.(as the brits say) fall has not reared her lovely head yet. adore the photos. xxpeggy


Parched and knackered after your Italy entires….feels like the long, long journey of Odysseus as we await your return to Dorset and all things living, peaceful and ….English.


An event horizon for that particular black hole! By the way, when are they going to get around to filling in the roof and give the floor polisher a break?!

I love Rome, it’s such a lovely city 🙂 I was there on a business trip two Chrismases ago and I think I overdid my shopping! I got several bedspreads as souvenirs and gift for friends 🙂 They are gorgeous!

Deby (in Canada)says:

I for one long for you to be in Dorset… loved Italy more than I can say but need some pictures of the Dorset countryside full of early autumn and perhaps a picture of the Morris in autumn sunshine…
Hope you and Bridie find great and tempting treasures…

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