And this glorious altarpiece
And cherubs cradling the baby Jesus. This one we know was by Gaudenzio Ferrari (d.1546) who dabbled in art before he started manufacturing cars..
The 17th century artist of the painting below is known as the Master of the Sarasota Emmaus because they don't know much more about him. Could have been Dutch, could have been Italian. I don't think his atelier was on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
And here, adding to the wow factor was a Rubens of the Archduke Ferdinand.
In the grounds were gargantuan banyan trees - those long snaky things are actually the roots. You see a lot of them around here.
And then towards the waterfont was the Ringlings' own mansion (I notice that word is used a lot more in America), called Ca' d'Zan. This means John's house in the Venetian dialect. Appropriate, since the stately pile was modelled on a Venetian palazzo.
We took the cheapo self-guided tour - which meant we could only see the ground floor.
This was the ballroom ceiling, depicting dancers.
This was one of Mable's more modest get-ups.
You'd have to be careful not to put your wine glass down on that chest.
The wrought iron door was to stop the dogs going into the dining room. Presumably the elephants didn't have a problem with it.
Drat - wouldn't you know, I just bought myself a plastic orange peeler. I could have had one of these natty silver jobs.
All ready for beans on toast - oh I forgot, Americans don't eat them on toast.
I liked the bar, though, but it wasn't open.
This was a fridge. Makes a change from stainless steel. And guess what, we've got that kitchen floor too!
The Ringlings had a handsome boat, the Zalophus. They certainly had imagination when it came to names.
I asked one of the museum volunteers in some astonishment, "He made all that money by running a Circus? But no, of course not, he had the usual side interests - railways, land, property, whatever. It was certainly a splendid place to visit and we weren't finished yet.
to be continued.