This evening our Dutch hosts received us regally (literally) in the former Winter Palace in Lange Voorhout where the much-loved Queen Mother Emma lived and which now houses a permanent exhibition of the work of M.C. Escher. This is the only complete exhibition of all phases of Escher’s life and includes all of his best known work as well as many other illustrations of his developing interests and techniques. (I have illustrated this post with a picture I took of one of Escher’s cahiers.) The exhibition made me realise how strangely ignorant I was about somebody whose iconic images are quite so well known. Early on, Escher became fascinated with the geometry of Moorish tiles in the Alhambra and toyed with impossible combinations of differing perspectives (notably of Italian and Corsican landscapes). Optical illusions were, in a sense, the more basic emanations of Escher’s intuitive and visual mathematical skills (he had no formal training) that maybe achieved their highest expressions in his tessellations and treatments of infinity. ‘I try to show,’ said Escher, ‘that we live in a beautiful and orderly world, not in formless chaos.’