The Devonshire-Ellis Malta Marina Penthouse

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


September 10th, 2016


maltapentHaving been in Asia for so long, I’ve missed a lot of my European heritage, and haven’t had a property anywhere in Europe since 1986. As I now wish to reconnect with the European part of my background, I’ve been looking for a suitable place to be. Eighteen months ago I purchased two apartments next to each other, overlooking the Msida Marina. The construction work looked like this:

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Russian Futurism & Malevich On The London Underground

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


August 15th, 2016


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The London Underground has many strange and weird stories to tell, but one that has almost fallen through the cracks of history is the Station designed by Russian Futurists in 1936. At the beginning of the 1930’s the Soviet Government decided to press ahead with plans for a Moscow Metro system, giving the design contract to do so to Lazar Kagonovich with a brief to include elements of Soviet superiority including the new Russian Futurist art movement, which was appreciated by Stalin as portraying a ‘new era’ of technical design based on an analytical approach and fascination with the dynamism, speed, and restlessness of modern machines and urban life that modern technologies of the day were ushering in.

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The Tintagel, Colombo. Colonial & Contemporary

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


July 12th, 2016


tinOne of the great things about Sri Lanka right now is the rise of quality boutique hotels. There are numerous 5 star brands being built in Colombo as I write, in addition to luxury resorts popping up along the coast. However, the country has a wealth of old colonial buildings, and many of these are also being upgraded and obtaining a new lease of life as boutique hotels and restaurants.

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The Mount – Chris Devonshire-Ellis’s Restaurant Development Project in Sri Lanka

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


July 6th, 2016


mount1This is “The Mount”, a British colonial Mansion dating back to 1860. I have just purchased it. The property sits on top of the highest hill in the Talpe area of Sri Lanka, hence the name. Its about 2km inland, overlooking Paddy Fields, and has some amazing mature trees – there are King Coconut, Jak, Olive, Woodapple, Mango, Cashew and Ebony all here, this is valuable stock. In its day it was a much loved family house, after having cleared out what was essentially jungle that hadn’t been cut back for years, lilies and other flowering plants began to appear.

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Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, Kandy

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


June 5th, 2016


cde-bamboo1I’m very fortunate that in Sri Lanka there are six renowned botanical gardens throughout the country. I wrote of the famous roses at the Hakgala Gardens in Nuwara Eliya earlier, Peradeniya’s Gardens date back rather more, to 1371 and their founding by King Wickramabahu III. Peradeniya’s speciality, apart from it being a beautiful 147 acres, is its 4000 different species and its collection of rare orchids. There is also a large resident population of Fruit Bats,  (Flying Foxes) which are the largest bat in the world and while mostly nocturnal, can be seen at any time of the day flying around the grounds.

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Udawalawa’s Elephants

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


May 26th, 2016


p1100595It’s back to Sri Lanka, and almost immediately into safari mode. I am fortunate that the Udawalawa reserve is just a 2 hour drive from where I live, and I have been several times to this impressive location, just south of the hills and mountains of Sri Lanka’s finest tea country. Adams Peak can be seen rising in the distance. I’ve written about going on safari at Udawalawa before   and it is always a great pleasure to be able bounce around amongst wild untamed lands. Udawalawa has Sri Lanka’s highest population of wild elephant, and my guest specifically wanted to see these. We were going to be in for a treat.

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Shoshtakovich’s Lost Opera Orango – Performed at the Mariinsky

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


May 15th, 2016


shosh1This piece comes from an abandoned 1932 project involving Alexsey Tolstoy and Alexander Starchakov as librettists. Long thought wholly lost, the intended opera suffered from poor timing that lead to its demise. Intended as a satire, it was being worked on just as Shoshtakovich fell victim to intense criticism over his opera “Lady MacBeth of Mtensk”. Tolstoy and Starchakov were also late with the delivery of their libretto, and Shoshtakovich first delayed, then abandoned the project, discarding the score.

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Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night at the Mariinsky

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis


May 1st, 2016


rimk3It is spring in St.Petersburg, with the Lilac out in the Parks, that beautiful blue colour and the sweet aroma so evocative of Russia. The evenings are already starting to get longer as well, there is light still in the sky at 10:30pm. Its such a beautiful city in the spring, and the Russians also have operas for all seasons. Rimsky-Korsakov was in fact a military man, but still found the time to write 15 operas, although he is best remembered for his “Scheherazade”. However, although his operas are not so well known in the West, all of them remain in the Russian repertoire, which is a good thing as amongst all of the Russian composers, Rimsky-Korsakov was the greatest Orientalist.  He collected folk songs from the near and far east, and wove lyrical motifs into a great deal of his music. He also borrowed a lot of his stories from old Russian and Asian folk stories – and especially the Middle East.

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