Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Serpentine

The Serpentine is a 28 acre lake in Hyde Park. It was added to the park in 1720 by Queen Caroline, wife of George II to add recreational activities to the park. It had been used as a hunting forest by Henry VIII in 16th century and among other things a location for settling differences. It’s where the Duke of Hamilton and Lord Mohun killed each other in a dual in 1712. The Duke was the ambassador to Paris while Lord Mohun was regarded as being of ‘the basest sort’ (whatever that is). If only such distinguished public figures could resolve their disputes like that nowadays.

From some angles the Serpentine seems to have wiped the London skyline from view. You could almost be in the countryside.

There are two Serpentine Galleries in the park with one having the newly constructed Magazine Restaurant grafted onto the side of it. The design is by controversial architect Zaha Hadid and created a lot of fuss during its design and construction. I think it looks good and more to the point it works well as a restaurant, making good use of the space and natural daylight.

The other Serpentine Gallery is famous for the annual Serpentine Pavilion construction it hosts each year. Close by is ‘Rock On Top of Another Rock’ an installation by Fischi & Weiss.

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