Sunday, March 31, 2024

A Room Full of Copies


There is one large gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum that contain copies or casts of artworks from all over the world. Here is perfect cast of Michelangelo's David.  

Behind David in the lower right you can see a small cast for Donatello's David.

Just to the left of David is a copy of a famous painting that resides in the Vatican Museum. It's a perfect copy of Raphael's The School of Athens.  

This room in the museum was created especially to display these plaster casts that have been part of the museum's collections since the museum was founded in 1851.  

The museum collected these "copies" so that people who didn't have the means to travel could enjoy them and learn from them.

The copies of Trajan's columns are especially impressive.  

I especially liked the cast above.  It is described as a Tympanum dating between 1852-54 from England.   A little research found that this was over a doorway in a church in Shobdon that was demolished in the 18th century.  Two doors from the church were erected in a park in Shobdon as a folly.  This copy was made from that folly in the 1850's.  I found a site with a photo of the original here.  It's very worn but it can still be seen.

To the right is cast of a tabernacle dating to 1876 from Belgium.  

Here is a cast of a massive pulpit.  The cast was made in 1865 but the original from Pisa dates back to 1302.  

If you would like to see a little video tour of this room, there is a short video at this link.

This room is just crammed full of fascinating things to see.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

The Brompton Oratory


I've walked past the Brompton Oratory church once or twice before when I've visited London but I had never been inside.  This time I decided to see what it was like on the inside.

It is located on Brompton Road next door to the Victoria and Albert Museum.  The church is a Neo-classical, late Victorian Roman Catholic Parish.

I slipped inside to have a look around.  As I expected, the church is very grand with lots of marble and gold leaf trim.  It looked as though the church was being prepared for a wedding with two chairs set by the altar and floral trim along the pews.  

The church reminded me of the churches I've visited in Italy.  It had that same grandeur and elegance. 

Sunday, March 17, 2024

The London School of Economics


On one of my walks around London, I found myself wandering around the campus of the London School of Economics.  There were a lot of modern buildings tucked away behind the older hotels and office buildings.  

"The London School of Economics is a place where people with different perspectives engage in respectful debate about major issues for the world."

We could use more of that type of thinking.

That is where I found this incredible piece of art from Turner Prize winning artist, Mark Wallinger.  It was installed here in 2019 and is called "The World Turned Upside Down".  

It is definitely a statement about the turbulent times we live in.  

Mark Wallinger has created many artworks some of them a bit controversial.  He was the first artist to have a work appear on the 4th Plinth at Trafalgar Square.  You can see that sculpture and more at this site.  

Sunday, March 10, 2024

The Worshipful Company of Cutlers


When I was in London last October, on a beautiful, sunny Sunday, fellow blogger Steve (Shadows & Light) and I took a walk into The City to do some exploring.  Along the way, we made a discovery of this beautifully adorned building called Cutlers' Hall.  We wandered over to get a closer look and discovered wonderful terracotta frieze running above the windows.

The frieze consists of 33 figures all depicting the 4 main facets of the cutlers' craft.  They are forging, grinding, hafting and finishing.  

The Worshipful Company of Cutlers is one of the most ancient livery companies in the city of London.  It received its first royal charter from Henry V in 1416.

The company traded in knives, swords and other implements with a cutting edge.  Over time it has shifted from weaponry to domestic wares like cutlery, razors and scissors.  

The building today is used for meetings and events and can be rented by anyone.  The website for the company explains more about the history and has photos from inside the hall.  The man who created the wonderful terracotta frieze on the outside of the building was Benjamin Creswick (1853-1946).  He placed them on the newly built hall in 1887.  
I love London, there is history around every corner.  Take a look at that blue plaque on the wall to the left.  It says it's the site of the Royal College of Physicians (1674-1825).  Medicine was vastly different when the college stood on that site.  

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Sutton Hoo


Have you seen the movie "The Dig" with Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan? It's an excellent movie available on Netflix and it's based on a true story about a the discovery of an archaeological site of major historical significance.  It's an excellent movie that really touched me when I saw it several years ago.  

I wanted to take another look at the pieces from that dig that are now on view at the British Museum.  

One of the most important pieces was this helmet which dates to between 620 and 625 AD.  

In addition to the actual helmet above, the museum also had a replica made to show how the helmet would have looked all those years ago.  

It's quite magnificent.  

Also on display were some of the other treasures found at the site called Sutton Hoo in Suffolk England.  The site has been described as a ritualistic burial site of great significance.  Most likely that of a king or ruler of that period.  I'm very pleased that Basil Brown, the man who made this incredible discovery has finally been given the credit that is due to him.

If you haven't seen that movie, I highly recommend it.