Category Archives: London

Song of the Sea

 

Waiting Area
Waiting Area
Grey walls: grey seats
Grey walls: grey seats

Saw a fabulous animation film, Song of the Sea, at what was the old Renoir, now the Curzon Bloomsbury. The graphics were so beautiful you would be happy to have even a segment of any one of them on your walls. An Irish folk-type tale of a Selkie and her Selkie daughter and the pull of the sea.

But oh! the Stalinist plain concrete walls of the new Curzon, with only the odd splash of blood-red upholstered armchairs, grey seats and grey carpet. The Renoir was in sore need of a makeover but the first time i went to the new Curzon i vowed i wouldn’t go back, but Song of the Sea was only on there and how pleased i was to break my vow – I’m afraid one of many!

The Greville Room at the British Museum

Museum Artefacts
Museum Artefacts

The goodies in the museum’s big shops are for the hoi polloi – like you and me; those in the Greville Room are for the more discerning and the wealthier visitors.

Not sure any of those on this front table would be to my taste but there are some delicious smaller artefacts in the glass cases around the edges – beautifully carved wooden Netsuke, glass vases and beaded skulls – as well as Isnik ware, jackets and scarves – and much more.

Another Great London Museum – the V&A

The Inner Courtyard
The Inner Courtyard

I go to the V&A exhibitions often enough to be worth becoming a Friend. We always go early – as soon as it opens as 10am so we saw the fabulous Alexander McQueen exhibition when it was relatively uncrowded. It’s been so popular that the V&A is going to open for 24 hours on the final weekend.

The Victoria and Albert museum was established in 1952 after the Great Exhibition of 1851. Its aim ‘was to make works of art available to all, to educate working people and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Profits from the Exhibition were used to establish The Museum of Manufactures, as it was initially known, and exhibits were purchased to form the basis of its collections.’

In 1857 it was renamed The South Kensington Museum. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of the present building in 1899 and it was renamed The Victoria and Albert Museum

Crime in London

Hatchard's - London's Oldest Bookshop Established 1797
Hatchard’s – London’s Oldest Bookshop Established 1797

An excellent evening organised by the Society of Authors on Crime Writing. Two authors – Catherine Aird and Alison Joseph and Callum Sutherland, ex-CSI investigator for the Serious Crime Directorate. We were told it’s essential to get our facts right but also to leave a few red herrings to misdirect the reader.

Forgotten how fabulous Hatchard’s is – bank in the middle of Piccadilly opposite the Royal Academy – flying the Union Jack flag and with complete with the Queen’s Royal Warrant over the front door (I wonder what kind of books the Queen likes to read.).

You could spend hours In Hatchard’s browsing amongst their vast collection of books.

Barbara Hepworth at Tate Britain

But this is henry Moore's Family Group!!
But this is Henry Moore’s Family Group!!

You can’t take photos in the Barbara Hepworth exhibition so this is Henry Moore’s Family Group which is situated off the main concourse in Tate Britain.

I think I have always undervalued Barbara Hepworth’s work – I’ve mainly seen large formless works. I particularly liked her use of wood, especially those with threads like László Moholy-Nagy’s works. Like him, she was also interested in photograms – images produced by holding an object in front of a light sensitive plate.

Another of the fantastic museums we have in London. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!!

The Colonade at the British Museum.

Ionic Capitals at the British Museum
Ionic Capitals at the British Museum

Always find it difficult to remember which capital is which – Doric, Ionic or Corinthian and have to look it up in every time in Wikipedia. Here there are Ionic capitals on the fluted columns and a coffered ceiling.

I tried to Photoshop out the figure in a green t-shirt on the left but then decided it gives an impressions of scale – well that’s my shory anyway!!

My favourite London Library

 

Charing X Library
Charing X Library

Charing Cross library is my favourite London library. Set close to Chinatown, there is always a sprinkling of Chinese decorations as well as a considerable library of books in Chinese. The staff are friendly and helpful and. for someone with a painful hip. the fact that my bus stop is right outside is a big plus.

If I have enough time I can get off at a stop further on and shop for Chinese goodies in Chinatown.

Grumpy Lion

The Lion of Knidos
The Lion of Knidos About 350 BC

He’s allowed to be a bit grumpy –  the Great Court at the British Museum is a bit of a  comedown. The Lion of Knidos originally sat on a headland in Asia Minor (now Turkey)  facing the sea. Reflections from the coloured glass set in his eyes – now lost – may have been an aid to sailors navigating the treacherous coast.

He weighs about 6 tons and was carved from one piece of marble as a funerary ornament.

The hanging poster advertises A Night in the Museum.maybe try it when the family come to stay.

Serenity at the British Museum

Amenhotep 111 About 1350 BC
Amenhotep 111 About 1350 BC

The ancient Egyptian sculptors were wonderful at this sort of transcendent beauty.  According to the British Museum info, the original statue was between 7.5 and 8m tall, and stood on the West Bank of the Nile at Thebes.. You can see this fabulous head in the Great Court.

Jack the Ripper was here!!

116a
The entrance to our flats has been blocked off now
Excerpt modified from my memoir Woman in a White Coat

I recently discovered it was in the doorway of No 119 Wentworth Dwellings, two floors above the cold water tenement where we lived from 1931-1942, that at 2.55am on Sunday September 30th 1888, PC Long found a blood-soaked piece of Catherine Eddowes’ apron. The murderer, Jack the Ripper, left her mutilated body some distance away, in Mitre Street. His reign of terror in the East End of London, killing and disembowelling local prostitutes, ended three years later with the murder of Mary Jane Kelly.Wentworth Dwellings has now been gentrified and renamed Arcadia Court. The dirty grey bricks have been scrubbed clean to a pale honey colour and the sash windows, which constantly required new sashes, have been replaced by double glazed PVC casements. Instead of a broken down wrought iron gate into the courtyard, that entrance is bricked up too. Access is by a dark brown, highly polished, security door with key code entry in Old Castle Street.