Friday 29 May 2015

Guildhall Art Gallery

Guildhall Art Gallery is home to some of City of London’s corporation’s 4,000 artwork with the some others held at the Old Bailey and Mansion House. The art gallery has recently undergone many changes which sees new displays with state-of-the-art lighting system as a way of celebrating its 15th Anniversary Re-hang. London’s Roman Amphitheatre can be found within the Art Gallery. In 1886, the surrounding buildings in Guildhall were turned into the Art Gallery and only bought pictures of London which came to market.
Views from outside the balcony window are in sight of St Lawrence Jewry, City Business Library (sporting the Coat of Arms) and the Guildhall. Looking at Guildhall Yard, you can find a curve on the tiled grounds, which is the exact location of the outline of where the Roman Theatre is on that level and underneath.
The gallery is split into different sections: Home, Imagination, Work, Love, Leisure, Faith and London. The balcony level of the gallery are all of the Victorian period with the exclusion of one image. The following are paintings of paintings that were given a background history on a tour provided by the Gallery staff:
William Shakespeare Burton is known for his work The Wounded Cavalier (1855) which shows a Puritan woman comforting a Cavalier Courier after he is wounded. Behind them stands a member of the parliamentary army who may be looking in disdain or jealousy at her care for their enemy.
John Collier’s Clytemnestra (1882) tells a story of Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon. Menelaus had asked Agamemnon for help when his wife Helen was taken from Sparta to Troy. Agamemnon seeking advice from the religious leaders told him to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to the gods in order for the winds to turn as it was working against them. Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter in order for his troops to set sail to Troy.

Agamemnon fought the Trojan War for 10 years and during this time, Clytemnestra having believed that her husband was dead, took in a lover. However, Agamemnon returned from the war with a mistress. Clytemnestra discovered that her daughter was murdered, becoming severely angered, she begun to plot against him. Having ran a bath for both Agamemnon and his mistress, she called for both to come in which she then beheaded the both. The depiction shows what had happened “after the murder”.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s La Ghirlandata (1873) is full of imagery of love from the garlands to the harp, yet it is punctuated with flowers of Monkshood at the painting of the painting. The artist Rossetti founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with two other artists as a way to rebel against the teachings of Royal Academy of Art as they encouraged their students to follow in the likes of artists like Leonardo da Vinci. These artists started a second wave of artists that didn’t follow on from using old paint, which required a second coating, hence changing the form of the original art. The prices of art during this era increased as a doing of Andrew Lloyd Webber, who bought up many for his collection.
John Everett Millais’s My First Sermon (1863), the one on the right, shows a portrait of his daughter who was made to sit down as her father drew her on the canvas. He was requested to come up with an artwork for an exhibition for the year after, thus creating My Second Sermon (1863), which was a humorous take on his first portrait when he had his daughter fall asleep after being sat through the paintwork. People were worried as the Archbishop of Canterbury was to give a speech at the exhibition on his new art of a girl having fallen asleep. In the end, they were relieved to find that the Archbishop took it lightly and made a joke that he was to keep an eye on the sermon in case they - like the girl - had fallen asleep.
John Singleton Copley’s Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar (1782) shows the moment of the siege of Gibraltar in 1782 which is held in the Copley Room of the Art Gallery. The painting itself took months for Copley to paint and he ended up with no money, so he set up a tent in Green Park for people to view the artwork for 4 shillings. During World War II, they feared that the artworks could be destroyed in the onslaught of the war and as the artwork was massive in size, they rolled it up. Even better for doing so as the gallery was completed destroyed following a bomb being dropped within the vicinity. The gallery was reopened again in 1999 by the Queen with the painting re-hung in 2010.
James Tissot’s Too Early (1873) is a literal take on the title itself, which I find to play on its own humour. The organiser (the lady on the far left) is engulfed in chatter about the music arrangements for the evening’s party, unbeknownst to her that there is a guest present in the hall. Appearing by the door some feet away from the organiser has two maids peering, having heard a guest has arrived early, as they share a giggle among themselves. The guest herself seems embarrassed by the situation as she looks down slightly while she brings her fan up to herself. It will only be a matter of time before the organiser is caught off guard having behold the sight of one of her guest arriving early. Her shock will only be monetary though, as by the doorway you’ll find that there are other guests appearing.

James Tissot’s The Last Evening (1873) is a work of ambiguity with different interpretations taken from the picture of the French naval. Some critics have pointed out that it could be the lady in the armchair’s “last evening” as she seems quite sickly with a blanket drawn up to her. There are other interpretations that show that it could be the last journey of the people on the boat as they are surrounded by a somewhat gloomy sky and lifeboats which is a representation of a disaster that is imminent. Even the riggings which spun like webs seem to entrap them to their fate.
William Logsdail’s The Ninth of November, 1888 (1890) shows the Lord Mayor’s procession taking place. The tradition started off by King John who sought a Mayor chosen by the people and had the Mayor travel to swear loyalty to the Crown, which was set up then by the London County Council. The event is now held on the second Saturday of November. In this image, there are many things that are occurring and encouraged to be look at such as the boy in the bottom right as he warns of an impending doom of the carriage running over a gentleman’s hat if he does not pay him a ransom for it.

John Michael Wright’s Sir Hugh Wyndham, Judge of the Common Pleas (1670) shows 1 of 22 fire judges, appointed with this title following the Great Fire of London in 1666. They made legal decisions on whether people’s home were actually where they stated it to be in which they will give authorisation for them to rebuild their homes. Not only were homes lost but workshops as well, so they some would be left without any source of income until they had rebuilt their homes. The Lord Mayor felt that a great debt was owed to the fire judges.
William Miller’s The Ceremony of Administering the Mayoralty Oath to Nathaniel Newnham, 8 November 1782 (date unknown) shows the handover of the from the previous to the new mayor where  you can find all the fire judges in this image. Richard Paton and Francis Wheatley’s The Lord Mayor’s Procession by Water to Westminster London, 9 November 1789 (1789 - 1792) shows the Lord Mayor’s procession taking place down the river.

Moving more on to the modern times, you can find Leadenhall Market (1968) done by Jaqueline Stanley (top left) which was the location used to film a scene from Harry Potter. On the top right, you can see Smithfield Market (1969) showcasing the carcasses which was also painted by Stanley.
The Guildhall Art Gallery is free to go and you can do their highlights tour on the Friday with different tour guides at different times giving background history and their views on their selections of painting. You can also view the London’s Roman Amphitheatre which is just at the bottom of the Art Gallery.


Friday 22 May 2015

Somerset House - The Old Palaces Tour

The Old Palaces Tour is one of Somerset House’s tour that is run on a weekly basis, exploring the history that was before the building that it has become now. The tour takes runs twice on a Tuesday, except on major events which inevitably will have to put off the tours until they are over such as the London Fashion Show. Another tour of interest is the Historical Highlights of Somerset House which runs on a Thursday and Saturday. The tour gives access to the Strand baths located around the corner to Somerset House. 

Edward Seymour having taken over from Edward VI as king as he was too young to rule, proved to be very unpopular when he knocked down neighbouring buildings to extend the existing palace. He was arrested twice, with the first being let off, but the second time he was charged.
Queen Elizabeth took over the house but preferred to stay at St. James’s Palace. With the developments came a 3-storey gatehouse leading on to the Great Court, then on to the Great Hall and an ornate garden with views of the river.

During the 17th Century, the Somerset House Conference were formed beginning a peace treaty between the representatives of Spanish Netherlands, Spain and England. You can see a painting of them in the National Portrait Gallery in Room 2, showing them sitting around a table. To be noted that you can also see the interiors of the old palace walls in the painting.
3 Stuart Queens took to Somerset House as their personal residence. The first was Ann of Denmark who renamed the palace as Denmark House, who held social and cultural events of London giving a whole redesign to the palace. She erected a 13 feet high Italian fountain in the garden.
The second Queen, Henrietta Maria, erected a Roman Catholic chapel. Oliver Cromwell defaced and stripped the chapel causing an uprise against Henrietta Maria’s husband, King Charles I. Henrietta Maria fled to France while Charles I remained to fight off against Cromwell. In 1649, Charles I was executed and Oliver Cromwell sold off items which included all paintings at rock bottom prices, which meant that the nation had lost a lot of art treasures. Ironically, Oliver Cromwell lay in state after his death at Somerset House after removing a lot from the house. Henrietta Maria did return and redid the chapel and built a palladium gallery, but in 1665, she fleed again following the Great Plague.

Somerset House’s Deadhouse is where 5 memorial stones commemorating people associated the house can be found. These were designed for the chapel that once stood at Somerset House and were salvaged when it was demolished.

Catherine of Brazanga was to take up residence with Christopher Wren refurbishing the palace. She left after her husband King Charles II died and returned to Portugal. Interestingly enough, it is said that she introduced tea drinking to Great Britain. George III and Queen Charlotte were given the house but declined as the place was in ruins. The Government exchanged rights to Buckingham House (now famously known as Buckingham Palace) for the old Tudor palace. The Govermnent had then demolished the whole building and rebuilt the grounds.
The grand finale to the tour is the Strand Lane bath which is also the location for the boundary of the old garden. The fountain measures 1.9m by 4.75m with a rounded end and 1.4m deep. Intrigue comes from the true origin which is completely shrouded with mystery as to when it was made and its mention in Charles Dickens’ Copperfield. It is said that it is not a Roman relic and was created in the early 17th century. It was acquired by the National Trust in 1948. It was originally used as a feeder to the fountain in Somerset House’s garden during Anne of Denmark’s residence.

Friday 15 May 2015

Shaun in the City - Timmy's Trail

Timmy’s Trail is part of a series of trails for Shaun in the City, with this trail covering Covent Garden, Waterloo Bridge, South Bank and the London Eye. Timmy’s Trail is 3km in length. There are 7 sculptures on this tail.
12. Ewe-nion Jack - The London Eye - Laura Cramer
13. Frida Baa-hlo - British Film Institute Reception, Belvedere Road - Ruth Broadway

14. Pink Plum - Somerset House, River Terrace - Roksanda Ilinic
15. Candy Baa - Covent Garden, East Piazza - Emily Golden

16. Another One Rides the Bus - Covent Garden West Piazza - Susan Donna Webber

17. Flash! - St. Martin’s Courtyard, Slingsby Place - Chris Haughton

18. Paradise Bunch - Earlham Street - Cath Kidston

Monday 11 May 2015

Instagram April 2015

Oh wow! A new feature to the blog will be my Instagram monthly updates starting with April 2015. I will be going through the background to the images that get posted on Instagram on a monthly basis.

So to start off...
Oh okay... this was taken at the end of March but I thought it very much deserves a mention. These neon-coloured pigeons were created by Patrick Murphy and had them perched on lampposts around Soho Square and Greek Street. These were suppose to up for a duration of 3 months starting from February 2015 but last week I saw that they were still there. So if you are in and around the area, it is very much a thing to look at before they take off completely.
This image is of Granary Square's fountains in full spurt some time in the evening. My phone seem to have completely removed a large chunk of photos which included the fountains, so I went back to take a fresh set. An app was just released when I returned which allowed users to play snake with the fountains. The app was not available from my app store so I shared my partner-in-crime's iPhone to play. We only played for about 15 minutes until the time hit 8pm until all games ceased and a stream of colours was unleashed, which is what we witnessed in the photo.
I took this photo in 2013 when I just finished work on a Saturday and met up a friend to walk along the side banks between London Bridge to Southbank Centre. We both took pictures of Southwark Bridge which was lit up against a backdrop of a hazy blue sky and lights of the City. It absolutely was wonderful to watch as we walked along the bank.
This is image is of the Larry sculpture from the Shaun in the City trail which can be found at the City of London Information Centre. I usually pop into the centre as there is so much things you can find there that shows how amazing London can be with its overly high abundance of things to do in London.
I went to the Bishops gate Institute as part of Open House last year with its rich history in the arts and history. The library there is a beauty to behold like the rest of the Institute.
I went to the Canalway Cavalcade on May Bank Holiday Monday and the sun was out on full streams bringing out the colours of the boats at Little Venice. There was so much to do on the day with sights to enjoy, food to indulge in and activities to get yourself stuck in. It is something I look forwards to doing again next year!


Friday 8 May 2015

Shaun in the City - Bitzer's Trail

Bitzer’s Trail is one of Shaun in the City trails follows the Shaun the Sheep sculptures around London’s business district. There are 14 sculptures covering 5km in total.

32. Rainbow - The View from the Shard Entrance, Joiner Street - Tatty Devine

33. Mittens - More London - Simon Tofield

34. Lenny - More London - Vivi Cuevas

35. Petal - More London - Emily Ketteringham

36. Globetrotter - Tower Bridge, South Tower - Sarah Matthews
* Sculpture moved to accommodate the London Marathon from 24 – 27 April.

37. Yeoman of the Baaard - Tower Pier - Vivi Cuevas

38. Shaun-xiĆ o - HM Tower of London - Stephen Taylor

39. Liberty Bell - Fenchurch Street Station, Fenchurch Place - Shaun in the City team

40. Kanzashi - The Lloyd’s Building, Lime St - Kate Strudwick

41. Shanghai Shaun - Leadenhall Market - Ashley Boddy

42. Robo-Shaun - Royal Exchange - Tim Sutcliffe

43. Ruffles - Devonshire Square - Deborah Wilding

44. The Pearly King - Liverpool Street Station near Platform 1 - Ruth Broadway

45. Mr Shaun - Finsbury Avenue Square - Mr. Men Little Miss