Archive for London

A Collection of Time Travel experiences and ‘atmospheres’

Posted in Architecture, BRONTE BITES, Collections, DESIGN, HISTORY, Uncategorized, YORK BREAK with tags , , , , , , , on January 7, 2021 by echostains
The Vikings make their presence known

I have always had a yearning to travel back in time.  I’ve had four of these experiences – well not actually going back in time, but pretty near.  The first one was years ago at the Jorvic Viking centre in York, where you travel in a car backwards in time and come out into a recreated Viking village, complete with all the sounds, sights and even the smells (including urine).  This has now changed and there is a different way to travel now, which I find disappointing – they should have left the experience alone in my opinion.

The house in the Rock

the-house-in-the-rock-knaresborough-uk-bddyde

The second one was also in Yorkshire.  It was in a place called ‘House in the Rock’ in Knaresborough.  The owner Miss Nancy Buckle’s ancestor carved this house into rock in 1770 and generation after generation have lived in it.  Now that was like stepping back in time!  At the time we were shown around, the National Trust were doing their utmost to get their hands on the house  clean it up a bit and probably take the character away from what was/is  a family home. The place had a charm all of its own and I still can’t seem to find out if the Trust managed to get it. (I have since found out via the link since this post was originally written, that the owner was forced to vacate to enable renovations.  I have no information about what happened to it since).

House on the Strand

The third time I went back in time was when I read Daphne Du Maurier’s ‘House on the Strand’.  This is a strange book even for Du Maurier.  In brief: a man rents a remote house in Cornwall (of course) and agrees to be the guinea pig for a drug his biochemist friend has invented.  With its aid he goes back in time to the 14th Century where he has lots of adventures.  But each time he comes back reality blurs between the two worlds….  the book has intrigue and a very strange ending.

18 Folgate Street

The fourth time that I climbed into that time machine was last week when we visited Dennis Severs house, Folgate Street, Spitalfields, London.  I have always wanted to go to this house for years and have never quite got around to it – until last week.  We made an appointment and just went.  Dennis Severs, an American artist (b. 1948 -1999).  Severs moved to London and bought the run down house in 1979.   Folgate Street is very close to the Spitalfields market and at the time of purchase the area was more run down than it is now but attracting Bohemians and artists.

Dennis Severs House, one of the period bedrooms

Severs renovated and decorated each of the 10 rooms  in a different historical style, mostly from the 18th and 19th century creating ‘atmospheres’ and vignettes.  He did this on a budget of £500!  I first encountered this man, years ago in a Period Living magazine and was flabbergasted at how clever, innovative and resourceful he was and longed to see his house.  Though he lived there himself, Severs invented an imaginary family to people his house,  and he based this family upon the Huguenot silk weavers who would  have lived in the area at that time.  He called them the Jarvis family – and they are still alive in the house.  Whenever you enter a room you feel they have been there before you and just left, leaving clues like a half eaten piece of buttered toast and an upset teacup behind them.  the rooms are like living paintings.  in fact one room is actually based on a Hogarth painting!

more period drama

The house is crammed full of Sever’s collections of memorabilia, plus china, vintage clothing, ephemera.  But these are not dry museum type collections, these ‘props’ are scattered everywhere, as if it’s been casually left that way, nothing is ‘posed’.  Clay pipes lay broken in a fireplace, valentines are wedged into the frames of mirrors, cobwebs hang from the torn and damp velvet four-poster hangings in the poorest room in the house – the attic, where no fire burns.  To get a better idea of the experience (though I urge you to go if you possibly can)  Here is a short video starring the house – and the late Dennis Severs himself:-

Thanks

History of House in the Rock

house in the Rock image

Jorvic Viking Centre

Denis Severs House

Read all about Thomas Hill, a linen weaver who built the House in the Rock  by his great great grand-daughter Nancy Buckle here.  We have quite a few pics of this house somewhere which I shall have to find.  This pic came from  here though

Dennis Severs House website recommended and read what people who have visited say here  Severs video from here

Unfortunately we were not allowed photographs in the house, so these images come from herehere and here

Jorvik Viking centre image  here

What next? Cake Britain?

Posted in ART, exhibitions with tags , , on August 28, 2010 by echostains

Futureheads 'The Chaos' lyrics vs Miss Cakehead (chocolate cookies)

A new exhibition called ‘Art you can eat – Cake Britain’  in the Future Gallery, 5 Great Newport street London  WC2 gallery will run from 27th August 2010 until 29th.  All the work is made from sugar and flour, cake and other sweet things and made by the UK’s creative bakers.  The work will be devoured by the public and the proceeds shall be donated to charity.   Tate and Lyle Sugars are the sponsors.  Here’s a very early echostains blog post featuring some of my miniature efforts and a sugarcraft exhibition

'Cloud Cuckoo wedding cake' Stuart Semple vs Paul Baker

I’ve always been an admirer of cake art – its amazing what you can make from sugar. I’ve made decorative dough art in the past and even miniature food from fimo clay, but I can’t ever remember decorating a cake.  this is probably down to me not being very good with cakes (they always come out soggy or sink in the middle).  I’m much better with pastry though – must have cool hands:)

edible MacDonalds - a novel idea

Art you can eat – Cake Britain images from here and here: read about the Madartist teaparty who contributed here

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…..

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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

‘How’s it going? here’s an update’

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART PORTFOLIO MY PERSONAL ART, BOOKS! DEAR READER I READ IT, DESIGN, exhibitions, FAVORITE ART: Art I LOVE, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES, period drama, TEAPOTS - A HOMAGE TO UNUSUAL TEAPOTS, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN, WRITING AND BLOGGING with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by echostains
 

  

Euphoria Borealis, Acrylic on canvas aprox 3ft x 4 ft

Time for a little update.  ‘Echostains’ itself is going well, many are reading but, not many are commenting – don’t be shy come forward and show yourselves!  ‘Bookstains’ my other blog is coming along alright, its early days yet, but I am enjoying doing it.  Although I keep saying it, I really do need to put a piece of art work on here from time to time.  So here you are – I give you ‘Euphoria Borealis’ (or Belly Laugh) which was the last painting for my graduation exhibition.  I had just completed a 10,000 word Dissertation, a 5000 word one about my personal project (‘Echostains’) which included 10 large paintings and 2 x 500 word essays as well as course work.  Wouldn’t you be laughing?  Of course I have much more recent work, it’s just a case of getting around to scanning some sketchbook stuff  or photographing the bigger pieces, but I am determined to do it! 

 

  

p5

As for my altered book which has disappeared yet again….one day I shall actually finish it!  I will have to revise the way I have documented this book.  I think the best way would be to make a gallery especially for it, so each page is linked with its own artist reference (because the project is an art project, underpinned with art history) and each pages should follow the other, like in a real book.  Lol!  I can see me making a blog just for my altered book!!!….not a bad idea 

 

The material for my  teapot articles are getting a bit tougher to find.  My favorite one lately is the making of the chocolate teapot.  I shall carry on though.  There’s no shortage of material for the weird and wacky design section either, so I will keep that going.  Some sections, like places are now a thing of the past, but this year we are hoping to go to new places nothing planned yet – except to see Iggy Pop in London in May, but do hope to fit a couple of exhibitions in whilst we’re there. 

 

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.

attack_of_the_killer_tomatoes

attack_of_the_killer_tomatoes

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?

http://www.healthline.com/blogs/diet_nutrition/2008/06/tainted-tomatoes.html

A Bohemian at heart? or an Ass in Bohemia?

Posted in LONDON (JAUNTS) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by echostains

French House pub and restaurant

Boho’s that we are (at heart) we were Pottering round Soho and popped into the French Bar, Dean Street. Packed out of course. The smokey atmosphere may be gone, thanks to the ban, but the pub still a kind of ‘aura’ lingering over it. This bar has a great history and some very interesting photo’s and art on the wall of bygone customers: all characters, nearly all dead.

The pub itself is lively enough though, full of all different ‘types’. Lol! Wonder what ‘type’ people would call us? (hence the title). Not keen on stereotyping myself: do not wish to join. However, one of the barmen was NOT very pleased about us taking pictures at all, he told us so in no uncertain terms-

‘Do you know, there are actors in here who don’t want to be recognised or photographed’ he said (in a very loud stage whisper lol!)

Actors who don’t want to be photographed or recognised! A novel concept eh …… The beggers should take their chances the same as everyone else! After all it’s a pub, not an exclusive club (like the Colony Rooms, which we tried to gatecrash once… and failed). You’d have to be EXTREMELY ‘recognised’ by the owner to get in there: disguises must NOT be worn

colony-rooms-soho

colony-rooms-soho

The offended man himself was sporting a large handle bar ginger moustache, glasses and curly hair: a cross between Mr Pastry and Billy Childish (and yes, we have got a pic of him, it would be rude of me to put it on this blog though.. … oh OK then, if you insist: it’s not like anyone is going to see it..)

mysterious-man-but-could-be-acting3

We did ask him if he WAS Billy, he said he wished he was. So did we. We like Billy, both as an artist (Stuckist) and a songwriter. In fact I must write about Childish later. But I digress as usual.

 

billy-childish3

http://www.billychildish.com/home.html

Earlier on we had gone to Fitzrovia. Now we ADORE Fitzrovia! I prefer it to Soho. All the interesting characters that used to hang round there. So many to write about, so many talented and interesting lives. Favorites include Bacon of course (got to write about the exhibition yet), John Deakin, FANTASTIC photographer and a well, not a nice character, but a character. John Minton, tragic artist. Nina Hamnett: artist in her own right and Queen of Bohemia, Jeffrey Bernard, the journalist.

nina_hamnett-1918-by-roger-fry

We went in the Wheatchief which was one of Dylan Thomas’s haunts, though you wouldn’t know it as they don’t exactly draw attention to the fact. I’m sure there used to be a plaque or something over the seats called ‘Poets Corner’ , but that’s gone now. Him and Caitlin had many a Ding Dong in this pub. But then they had rows any time, anywhere.

Back at the French House, before we were interupted by the barman, this is what we were trying to taking photos of.

past customers

Amongst all the memorabilia on the walls, I was rather quite taken with these. Now I don’t know if they are actual little watercolour sketches, pen and ink drawings or just pieces of wall paper, but I just LOVE them and had to snap em! I can recognise a few of the artists in the drawings/paintings.  And I am sure that a lot of them would be really pleased to be remembered…….. and recognised.

gone but not forgotten