Archive for the LONDON (JAUNTS) Category

Happy 10th Birthday Tate Modern!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, exhibitions, LONDON (JAUNTS) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by echostains

Tate Modern from the riverside

The month of May is nearly over and I cannot let it pass without wishing Tate Modern a Happy 10th Birthday.  I have been to the Tate Modern many times and seen quite a few exhibitions.  The Tate Modern galleries are built  in the space of Bankside Power station which closed in 1981 and the building was converted by Herzog and de Meuron: the contractors were Carillion.  It is a National Museum of International art.

Louise Bourgeois 'Maman'

In 2001 I remember seeing Maman the  gigantic spider of then 89-year-old French-born sculptress Louise Bourgeois.   The turbine hall is a colossal space  (five storeys tall with 3,400 square metres of floorspace).  the spider 30 ft high and made of blackened stainless steel  carried 26 white marble eggs underneath her belly.  She towered over people who gazed up in awe.  Another exhibition I saw at the Tate was Katherina Fritsch (b. 1956 Germany) whose sculptures reflect fairytales and myths. I wrote a post about this exhibition here.  2001 was the year I saw the Turner Prize at Tate Britain – won by Martin Creed with his famous light  which turned on and off…… 

In 2002 Anish Kapoor’s  (b. India 1954) Marsyas was the star of the Turbine Hall.  150 meters long and 10 storeys high, this sculptural form was inspired by Titian’s 1576 painting ‘The Flaying of Marsyas’.  The Greek myth tells the tale of  Marsyas, a satyr who was flayed alive by the God Apollo because he played the flute better than the God.  This sculpture ran round the Turbine Hall. 


 I wondered what would happen if someone blew through this gigantic trumpet!

Marsyas by Anish Kapoor

I was also fortunate to see the Matisse Picasso exhibition that year which I greatly enjoyed.  The way the work was juxtaposed showed the playful rivalry between the pair, each one spurred on by the other to come up with new work, new visions.  I believe Picasso needed this and at the time Matisse was the one who could give him a run for his money.  I still have a souvenir cup of that exhibition and woe betide anyone who breaks it:)

flowing hair matisse and acrobat by picasso

In 2003 I saw an exhibition by sculptor Eva Hesse  (b 1936 – 1970 Germany) exhibition at the Tate Modern.  This artist worked with string, resin and latex in her sculptures. 

Eva Hesse

 I later incorporated  into my paintings.  Apart from this fact and the feeling that the work looked stranded in its environment, I can’t remember too much about it.

Among other exhibitions the Hogarth (2007) one really stands out.  I really like Paula Rego’s transcription of Hogarth’s Marriage a la Mode where the artist carries on the story of the ill-fated marriage in contemporary times.  I also chose Rego’s Snow White and her Stepmother to transcribe (see Transcription in my categories).  William Hogarth’s narrative painting fascinates me and I was very well versed in the story of the series Marriage a la Mode.  but I was amazed at just how small these paintings actually are! The details are quite astounding considering the scale of these paintings.

marriage a la mode the marriage settlement

Francis Bacon 2008 was an exhibition very much looked forward to by me.  He is a  favorite artist of mine.  We saw work there we had never seen before: works from private collections leased especially for the retrospective.  As usual the raw power of the paint rippled through the room giving the paintings a brooding presence.

Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X 1953 Bacon

 Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko had an exhibition in 2009.  We didn’t go.  A lot of people really vibrate to Rothko, but I find him very heavy and depressing.   I would have liked to have gone to Chris Offili’s exhibition this year, but we just didn’t have time.  In between Tate modern there are always other exhibitions on at Tate Britain, The Royal Academy, The National Gallery and the Barbican. 

Other important exhibitions I have been to in London include:-

Encounters 2000 National Gallery,

Frank Auerbach retrospective, The Royal Academy 2001,

 Lucien Freud retrospective,Tate Britain 2002, 

Desire unbound surrealism, Tate Modern 2002, 

  Andy Warhol retrospective, Tate Modern 2002, 

  Transition, 2002 Barbican Gallery,

  images from here here and here

Don’t forget my Blogspotlight interview here with artistatexit0

A postcard from London

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN, HISTORY, LONDON (JAUNTS), PAST PLACES with tags , , , , on May 8, 2010 by echostains

Just a short slide show of some of the places we went to and the sights we saw in our recent trip to London.  From treasures of the V and A which would fill a whole post,  to the Ten Bells pub in Spitalfields where some of Jack the Ripper’s victims frequented…..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Reptilian Window Gazing

Posted in DESIGN, LONDON (JAUNTS), PAST PLACES with tags , , , , on May 7, 2010 by echostains

delightful shoes (at delightful prices.....)

You can’t go to London without window shopping – you just can’t help but gasp at the wonderful window displays.  I always wanted to be a window dresser and much admire the artistry which goes into these displays.

Who wouldn't want to use this door handle?

One of the best streets for this is Regent Street and Old Bond Street.  Home to Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen among many other world-class names.

Lizard lady at McQueens

Here’s a few photos we took of these shops.  I had to have a pic of the Alexander McQueen shoes – unbelievable!

shoe detail

more of the serpent look

At the moment McQueen has gone very serpentine with the snake skins and reptilian look.  this makes for very colourful clothes and accessories – quite chameleon like and changeable – just like fashion! 

Alexander McQueen Old Bond Street London

see the McQueen new looks here…and sigh

Alexander McQueen shop here

London belonged to me – for a bit

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN, exhibitions, HISTORY, LONDON (JAUNTS), PAST PLACES with tags , , , , , , on May 6, 2010 by echostains

Iggy Pop

We’ve just come back from London where we spent a few days.  We crammed a lot into those days (as usual).  We managed to see the Rock legend Iggy Pop in concert at Hammersmith Apollo (excellent energy!).   We went to a wonderful perfume shop (recommended by Jadepaloma).  Perfume and Iggy Pop – interesting  juxtaposition eh?

Ormonde Jayne comes highly recommended


We went to the V and A Museum and took lots and lots of pictures….in fact each once could be a separate post.  We went to Dennis Severs House (which I shall be doing a piece about, and which I hope you find as interesting as we did).  We went on a ‘Secret London’ walk that lasted two hours and found out lots of interesting facts.

Billy Childish

Plus we were in time to see the Billy Childish exhibition at the ICA.  Billy Childish is another interesting person who I need to write about.  We went in the French House in Soho as usual, got ripped off with what we unlaughingly refer to as ‘Turpin Taxis’ – though at least he had the courtesy to wear a mask!  Lots to write about plus a new category……..

Dennis Severs pic from here

Iggy Pop pic from Here

Billy Childish pic here

The Bronte’s Personal effects

Posted in BRONTE BITES, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, LONDON (JAUNTS), YORK BREAK with tags , , , , , on February 9, 2010 by echostains

George III mahogany desk formerly belonging to Charlotte Bronte

I was interested  to hear about a desk, purported to have belonged to Charlotte Bronte and a Geometry set and art box belonging to Emily.  They were auctioned off at Sotherby’s (see the results on the Bronte Blog HERE.  The owner William Law was a keen collector of Bronte memorabilia and bought directly from Rev. Arthur Bell Nicholls.

Emily Bronte's art box

I did see a writing set  at  the Bronte Parsonage Museum in September last year, but frustratingly I can’t remember whose they were,  (Our trip HERE).  I do think personally owned articles like this set the owner in context and bring their lives alive for Bronte followers.  Sadly, personal Bronteana is very rare now and it is not very often that these kind of items come up for auction.  It does make me think though: how many people  still own Bronteana – that people will never get the opportunity to see?  Perhaps these items shall be guarded and treasured or perhaps future generations will sell them or even just loan  to the Bronte Museum for us all to enjoy, – I hope so..

Bronte writing desk detail

 More of my posts about our trip to  Haworth;=

Staying at Wuthering Heights (as one does)

Did the REAL Charlotte Bronte just Stand up?

Black Sheep Branwell – It wasn’t All Rock and Roll

Haworth STIL Wuthering and Very Much So!

An article by the Yorkshire post about these exciting finds HERE

Or for more Bronteana, why not pop over to the Bronteana Blogspot HERE

The Bronte Parsonage Museum Blogspot has more to say on this and other acquired Bronteana




Let the celebrations begin!...well put them on hold

Let the celebrations begin!...well put them on hold

Yes that’s right!  This is my 300th post since I began blogging on 28th November 2008!  What on earth have I found to blog  about every day? (well very nearly every day).  Well some days lots and other days, not so much.  But I have got into a routine now and I don’t want to spoil it.  I even blog in advance and schedule when I go away (that’s how bad the bug is lol!)

A scene from Rear Window...who is watching?

A scene from Rear Window...who is watching?

I’m still not much the wiser about who is reading my blog IDENTIFY yourselves please !!  But my stats keep going up so I might be doing something right (or wrong – even that can be entertaining!!).  Sometimes the type still keeps coming out BIG, but these are just glitches.  I have now got loads more categories.  These can be found on the left hand side, and there are absolutely loads in my archive.

one of my weird and whacky...only beautiful by Boontje, witches utensil

one of my weird and whacky...only beautiful by Boontje, witches utensil

Trust this milestone to come about on a Saturday (bad day for me as I am super busy).  Still, there’s loads of stuff to check out, including my ‘Watched’, ‘Dear Reader I read it’ (of which I will be adding to very soon as I have bought 3 new books today).  ‘Weird and Whacky Design’ is proving popular, though it’s so hard  to find them now: some of them look so normal to me…I’m beginning to worry lol!

frys-five-boys-chocolate-desperation-pacification-expectation-acclamation-realisation.....that its gone? well it HAS gone!

frys-five-boys-chocolate-desperation-pacification-expectation-acclamation-realisation.....that its gone? well it HAS gone!

Another new category is ‘Living in the Past’, mostly about nostalgic things that have all but disappeared.  I’ve only just started this, but I shall have to get a move on as things are disappearing so fast, I can’t keep up! 

More in this sort of vein tomorrow, when I shall have a lot more time.  Cheers!

Attack of the Killer tomatoes! A conspiracy?

Posted in ART, HOME, LONDON (JAUNTS), PAST PLACES with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2009 by echostains
Survivor of 2008 and glad

Survivor of 2008 and glad

Doing really well with these resolutions so far!  OK, I know it’s only day 2, but nevertheless I am doing great!  After all the rubbish I’ve been eating at Christmas, I couldn’t wait to get back to healthy eating.  I thought I would do a nice healthy shepherds pie and some salad: (I’m odd like that ….)

Innocent? ...don't be fooled, a killer could be lurking

Innocent? ...don't be fooled, a killer could be lurking

The first mouthful  tasted absolutely FOUL!  At first I couldn’t work out what it was.  It tasted like disinfectant!  Sifting through it,  I found that it was the tomatoes!!!  Now these tomatoes (plum) look fine: they don’t taste fine though.  I still feel ill thinking about it.  And now I’m starving!!!  Oh well, it’s back to the drawing board, literally.  It’s about time I did a bit more on my Altered book, plus I’m still writing about the Francis Bacon exhibtion we saw at Tate Britain in London.



Looking for an image of plum tomatoes, I found this write up about tainted plum tomatoes!  I am now panicking! Attacked by a tomato!  What a way to start the New year eh?

Ghosts of the past – Walk This Way!

Posted in LONDON (JAUNTS) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2008 by echostains
St Pauls the indominable Dome

St Pauls the indominable Dome

No trip to London is complete without going on an organised walk (or two).  What better way is there to inbibe the history as well as getting good exercise?  According to the Walking guides, it is ‘The Jack The Ripper’ walks that are the most popular.  They can get up to 300 people at any one time: they need 3 guides for that!    We went on one a long time ago and have never forgotten it.  Those locations are still there and that’s part of the fascination I suppose; that ‘On this Spot’ etc.  Armed with the fact, theories and the tourist’s imagination, a vivid picture soon emerges.

Gaslit London

Gaslit London

Another walk we went on a while ago was ‘Bohemians and Bluestockings’.  This walk explored the lives of artists and writer that lived in Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia in the 1920s and beyond.  It was a very windy day and some building work was going on.  We staggered round with our hair on end and sand in our eyes.  You could spot the Boho’s in our group….  It was very interesting though.  Walk your own way….

Tower is now a private residence




This  trip  though we went on 2 walks; ‘The  Blitz’ and ‘Apparitions’ Alleyways and Ale’  .  Both were with Londonwalks: both were excellent.

The Blitz walk was with Helena.  This walk is centred around St Pauls and surrounding area.  The empathy and respect she has for her subject, not to mention the painstaking knowledge and research she has put into her presentation is admirable.  I’m not going to give a running commentary of where we walked , that would defeat the object.  Suffice to say that Helena’s facts and anecdotes bring the scenes of the London Blitz alive.  Her cut glass accent sometimes breaks into broad cockney to retell a particular anecdote, the contrast shows a keen sense of humour and also a bit of acting ability, trying to bring the scene alive for the walkers.

St Pauls War wounds

St Pauls War wounds

It was hard to believe that this area was a sea of fire  and that hundreds died, but the way that Helena relates it, makes it all so vibrant and real.  The pock marked shrapnel ridden fabric of St Pauls bear witness to the battering of London.  The fact that it is still standing acts as a metaphor to the courage of the British people: from the young soldier to the tin hatted old man.  It was ‘business as usual’ for London.  (St Pauls Tube exit 2 )

 ‘Apparitions, Alleyway’s and Ale’ is a walk led by Russell Richardson.  And what a great walk it is!  Alleyways aplenty there are and you even get to sample some ale halfway though the walk – and you will need it.  Not for the squeamish.  Russell is an excellent guide, who truely loves his work.  He keeps an open mind on the subject., though has had some very odd encounters whilst on this walk.  Again, I can’t give away all the stuff we learned or the route we took: suffice to say that if you go, you won’t be sorry.  One allyway we went down, which is reputably haunted, we took photos.  Imagine our surprise when we saw ORBS!  The figure in the black coat and boots is me by the way.