Saturday, 23 March 2013

Notting Hill

Notting Hill without the carnival or Hugh Grant. 

This is a place where even the church is in retailing. 

‘Turquoise Island’ was designed by Piers Gough and is a public toilet / florist. The shop on the tip of the island is run by florist Nikki Tibbles.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Courtauld Gallery

Visited the excellent “Becoming Picasso” exhibition at The Courtauld Gallery. (A little tip – it’s only £3 on a Monday rather than the full price of £6). The exhibition includes work from his breakthrough year of 1901 and includes pieces from his famous ‘Blue’ period such as ‘Harlequin andCompanion’ and ‘Child with a Dove’.  All well worth seeing.

The real surprise was the permanent collection, which included a fantastic Modigliani ‘Female Nude Sitting’, a Van Gough self-portrait, and Monet’s ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’ none of which I expected to see.  I know this is a terrible photograph of a fantastic work of art but I could not resist including it.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Sir Arthur Sullivan

This splendid monument is in honour of Sir Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame) and is in Victoria Embankment Gardens, in front of the Savoy Hotel. It was designed by William Goscombe. The scantily clad, weeping muse is the metaphorical figure of the angel of music. 

It is inscribed with words from Yeoman of the Guard, "Is life a boon? If so, it must befall that Death, whene'er he call, must call too soon". 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

20 Fenchurch Street

This is not an optical illusion but the as yet unfinished tower block at 20 Fenchurch Street. It is becoming known as the “Walkie Talkie”. I hate it when buildings are known by their nick-name rather than official address, such as 30 St. Mary Axe a.k.a. “The Gherkin” or 122 Leadenhall Street a.k.a. "The Cheese Grater". Sounds more like a fun fair than a financial centre. Maybe that explains the mess we are all in.

This 160m, 525ft tower is not that popular. If all buildings bent over at this angle the roads and walkways would become dark and claustrophobic.  It was only given planning permission after agreement was reached to reduce it’s original height. Designed by Rafael Viñoly and costing over £200 million the structure appears to be bursting out of its foundations. The top three floors will feature a sky garden and public viewing area. This type of access to London’s tall buildings, such as the Heron Tower and the exorbitantly priced Shard, can now be enjoyed by all and not just those fortunate to live or work in such buildings.