Another rainy day sent me off to the Gulbenkian Museum, which (along with the Gulbenkian Foundation, which funds the arts, social welfare, education and science) is housed in some interesting Modernist buildings.
The buildings are set in a beautifully landscaped park, and softened by lots of plants.
Calouste Gulbenkian was a very interesting man, who made his pile acting as a middleman in oil deals in Iraq post the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th Cent. His shrewd business deals lead to his nickname ‘Mr Five Percent’ (note to self, must look for a good biography).
His extensive art and textile collection would have probably ended up in the UK, had he not followed the French government to Vichy. The British government declared him an enemy alien and sized his oil revenues. You can’t blame him for being a bit miffed.
The collection is absolutely superb. My favourite pieces were the little, Egyptian cat sarcophagus (above) and the collection of Mamluk glass.