The Baltic states Margaret Campbell
Margaret Campbell is leading Cox & Kings’ Baltic States: The Riches of Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania Royal Academy art tour later this year (3-13 July 2013). Margaret was a lecturer in the history of design at Edinburgh College of Art, specialising in western European design and architecture. She has also accompanied cultural tours and cruises throughout northern Europe as far as the Baltic states for more than 20 years.
How and why did you become interested in the Baltic states?
In 1979, I first visited Finland and, looking across to Estonia, I always hoped it would be possible to see the Baltic states, as if memories of a childhood book, where the peoples of these three countries could be pictured in their traditional dress and setting – impossible during the period of the cold war and Soviet control.
What do you enjoy most about leading a specialist tour such as this?
After my desire was fulfilled in 2004, I have since returned to Estonia and Latvia a number of times and I am now looking forward to sharing the delight and amazement that I first experienced when seeing Baltic art nouveau (Jugendstil) as well as traditional art and craft.
What do you most enjoy about visiting the Baltic states?
Following each visit, I like to reflect how each country maintains its individual identity so well, yet still expresses its European character.
Which visit on the tour are you most looking forward to (and why)?
I love returning to Tartu and Riga, both Hanseatic towns, but Riga, with its superb examples of art nouveau architecture, probably trumps them.
If you could only recommend one book to read before departure, what would it be?
This is tricky. Initially, a good comprehensive guidebook such as the Rough Guide to The Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania by Jonathan Bousfield, Penguin (most recent edition).
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