Sunday, November 27, 2016

Waterhouse Square

Because I love the city so much, I've been to London many times and there is one thing every visit has proven to me, there is always something new to discover.  On this last trip in October, I spent less time riding the tube to destinations and more time walking and that is how I discovered this beautiful place.  It's located along busy Holborn Street near the boundary with the City of London (the square mile financial district).

The building appealed to me immediately with it's arched entrance and more arches on the inside courtyard.  The building is historically listed and was designed by architects Alfred Waterhouse and his son Paul Waterhouse and was built in phases between 1885 and 1901.  (Alfred Waterhouse is the same architect who designed the Natural History Museum in London, another gorgeous Gothic building.)

It was originally built for the Prudential Assurance Society who resided there until 1999.  It is now home to a variety of business offices and offers space for parties and banquets.  The offices of English Heritage are now located here.

Back in the far corner of the vast courtyard, there is a memorial to the staff of Prudential who died in WW1.

If I lived in London, I'd find this place a very appealing place to work.  I sat for a while in the courtyard just enjoying the surroundings.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

World Class Art Museum

Last Sunday I posted about a piece of performance art that I saw at the Tate Britain Museum so this week I thought I'd post a little more about the museum itself.  From 1897 to 1932, this museum was known as the National Gallery of British Art and from 1932 to 2000 it was called the Tate Gallery after it's founder Sir Henry Tate.  In May of 2000, the now famous Tate Modern was opened in a huge building that formerly housed a power generation facility.  With it's prominent location directly across the river from St. Paul's Cathedral, it seemed to quickly overshadow it's older sister.

In my opinion, this is a museum that should not be missed on any visit to London.  So, if the Tate Modern is on your list, try to squeeze in a visit to this outstanding museum too.  I'm pretty sure you'll thank me.

The art inside the museum is inspiring, provocative, imaginative and beautiful as it should be in any grand museum of art.  Here are two that particularly drew my attention.

This one is called "Crowd, Earls Court" by Edward Middleditch.  It was painted in 1954.  Middleditch was one of a group of artists called the "kitchen sink" artists who were at the forefront of realist art in the 1950's.

I wondered if he was related to Michael Middleditch, the creator of the London, New York and Paris MapGuides that I have used for many, many years.

This is a 17th century painting, artist unknown but and inscription reads that it is of two sisters of the Cholmondeley family who were born on the same day, married on the same day and gave birth on the same day.  The true identities of course are unknown but, it is thought that the painter may have been from Chester, near the Cholmondeley Estate.  I love a good mystery so this one appealed to my sense of intrigue.

On one side of the museum, I found this enclosed stairway area that I thought was an architectural work of art.

  I couldn't resist photographing the clean lines of this very quiet area of the museum.

Of course, when I'm in a grand museum of this scale, I always see ways to create my own artistic take on my surroundings.  That's why a photo of the grand dome over the center of the museum was a must.

And, a photo of the gorgeous spiral stair case under the dome was also appealing to my artistic side.

I am sad to say that I hadn't been to this museum since 1999.  I won't let that much time go by again. On that earlier visit, I saw a contemporary work that affected me in so many ways.  It made a powerful statement on society and morals and I can still picture it to this day.  It was called "Scrapheap Services" by Michael Landy.  The Tate still owns that piece and I gather it has been on display again at the Tate Modern.  (If you are curious, click the link)

On my next trip to London, this museum will be prominent on list of places to return to.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Performance Art at the Museum

When I visited the Tate Britain at the beginning of October, I didn't expect to see a performance art piece in one of the galleries.  In what is called the Duveen Galleries, I observed three lovely young women moving through the galleries and stopping occasionally to strike a classic pose.

The piece was created by British/Argentinian artist Pablo Bronstein who creates performance pieces as well as drawings and installations.  His work is all based in architectural interpretations.

I believe the piece was called "Historical Dances in an Antique Setting".

The women seemed to glide from room to room, totally oblivious to the people around them enjoying the performance.

I really love a museum that challenges the mind and invigorates the spirit and the Tate organization certainly does that.  You never know what you will see or experience in one of their museums.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Those Crazy Love Locks

I thought all those crazy locks on the bridges in Paris would be gone.  

I had read several articles about how the city was removing them because of the damage to bridges.

But, as you can see they are still around.  I wonder if these were moved to this location or if this is a spot they haven't yet stripped of the tons of locks.