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Exhibition Review – Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 2nd February to 14th July 2019

The V&A presents the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever staged in the UK on the House of Dior and the museum’s biggest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015. Spanning 1947 to the present day, the exhibition entitled Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams will trace the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most influential couturiers, and the six artistic directors who have succeeded him.

Based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, the exhibition has been reimagined for the V&A. A brand-new section explores the designer’s fascination with British culture. Dior admired the grandeur of the great houses and gardens of Britain, as well as British-designed ocean liners, including the Queen Mary.

The exhibition is spread across 11 sections and showcases the skill and craftsmanship of those associated with the House of Dior. The exhibition presents over 500 objects with over 200 rare Haute Couture garments shown alongside accessories, fashion photography, film, perfume, make-up, illustrations, magazines, and Christian Dior’s personal possessions.

The first section looks explores Christian Dior’s life from his early career as a gallery owner and the founding of the House of Dior in 1946.

The New Look focuses on Dior’s famed Bar Suit from his ground-breaking first collection in 1947.

The Dior Line showcases ten defining looks made between 1947 and 1957 during Christian Dior’s tenure at the House.

Dior in Britain considers Dior’s love of England and how he held his early Dior fashion shows in country houses and grand hotels around Britain.

Historicism examines the influence of historic dress and decorative arts in the House of Dior’s designs from 1947 to today, Dior had a love of the 18th century, and the Belle Époque fashions.

Travels explores how travel and different countries and cultures have inspired the various designers at the House of Dior.

The Garden highlights the importance of flowers and gardens as a source of inspiration to the House from garments to perfume.

Designers for Dior spotlights the work of the subsequent six key artistic directors since Christian Dior’s death in 1957. Featuring the designs of Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Maria Grazia Chiuri.

The Ateliers showcases toiles from the Dior Ateliers in a unusual ‘cabinet of curiosity’ installation.

Diorama examines the wide range of the House of Dior, from accessories including costume jewellery, hats, shoes and bags.

The Ballroom celebrates the fantasy of the Ball and showcases 70 years of formal evening wear.

This remarkable, comprehensive  exhibition with over 500 objects including over 200 rare Haute Couture garments illustrates how Christian Dior transformed the face of fashion after the war with his New Look and how the House of Christian Dior as been at the forefront of fashion ever since. Dior’s vision included garments, accessories and fragrances, he launched Miss Dior, his first fragrance in 1947. Dior was one of the early pioneers of fashion as a global brand building a luxury fashion empire  built on great design and skills and talent of the Haute Couture ateliers associated with the brand.

The exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams runs from 2 February – 14 July 2019.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the V & A website here

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Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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Hidden London: Goodwin’s Court in Central London

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

For all the modern development in Central London, there are small areas which can transport a visitor into the past.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of those areas is Goodwin’s Court which is an narrow alley that runs between St. Martin’s Lane and Bedfordbury, in an area, just north of Trafalgar Square.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Goodwin’s Court first appears in the records in 1690 and replaced Fishers Alley which had occupied a similar location in preceding years.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

What is really unusual about Goodwin’s Court is that since the late 18th century, it has changed very little and walking in the alley you feel that are transported into London of the past. The area was once full of these type of a small, murky courts. The row of shops in the court, that have typical Georgian bowed shop windows date back to the 18th century.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Goodwin’s Court has been hidden away for so long that information about these shops have been long forgotten and the shops are now small offices for a number of businesses. The doors to the offices have a number of decorative door knobs, knockers, and nameplates.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Although Goodwin’s Court is generally off the main tourist trail, it does attract a number of photographers and rather strangely is often visited by Harry Potter fans. Although there is no obvious connection to Harry Potter, tours often describe the alley as the inspiration for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Goodwin’s Court was not just a mystery to people in the present, 100 years ago Punch magazine writer E V Lucas found the alley and wrote about it in his book Adventures and Enthusiasms published in 1920.

My second little street—disregarded by Wheatley and Cunningham altogether—has only just come into my own consciousness: Goodwin’s Court, which runs from St. Martin lane to Bedfordbury. It is not a street at all, merely an alley, one side of which, the south, is the least Londonish row of dwellings you ever saw, and the other side is the back doors of the houses on the south of New Street—that busiest and cheerfullest of old-world shopping centres, where Hogarth’s ghost still walks. New Street is famous in literature by reason of the “Pine Apple” eating-house where Dr. Johnson in his penury dined regularly for eightpence: six-pennyworth of meat, one pennyworth of bread, and a penny for the waiter, receiving better attention than most of the clients because the penny for the waiter was omitted by them. Take it all round, New Street (which has not been new these many decades) is not so different now, the small tradesman being the last thing in the world to change.

But it was of Goodwin’s Court that I was going to write, and of its odd houses—for each one is like the last, not only architecturally but through the whim of the tenants too, each one having a vast bow window, and each window being decorated with a muslin curtain, in front of which is a row of pots containing a flowerless variety of large-leaved plant, created obviously for the garnishing of such unusual spaces. Where these strange plants have their indigenous homes I cannot say—I am the least of botanists—nor do I particularly care; but what I do want to know is when their beauty, or lack of it, first attracted a dweller in Goodwin’s Court and why his taste so imposed itself on his neighbours. But for this depressing foliage I should not mind living in Goodwin’s Court myself, for it is quiet and central—not more than a few yards both from the Westminster County Court and several theatres. But it would be necessary for peace of mind first to find out who Goodwin was.

If you would a taste of ‘old’ London that recreates the world of Charles Dickens and Sherlock Holmes, take a trip down Goodwin’s Court.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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A Short Guide to Lambeth Palace

On the south bank of the Thames, opposite the Palace of Westminster is Lambeth Place which for nearly 800 years has been the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Lambeth Palace was acquired for the archbishop from around 1200 AD and has had a varied history which is documented within the palace in the Lambeth Palace Library. The library contains over 120,000 books as well as the archives of the Archbishops of Canterbury and other church bodies dating back to the 12th century.

Lambeth Palace 1685

The palace once stood in its own grounds and has many stages of development, the Crypt Chapel is the oldest part of Lambeth Palace with Lollard’s Tower later dating from 1435 to 1440. The early Tudor brick gatehouse at the front of the palace was built by Cardinal John Morton and completed in 1495. Further construction was added to the Palace in 1834 by Edward Blore.

The Palace was attacked in 1381 during the Peasant’s revolt and suffered considerable damage by Cromwellian troops during the English Civil War. After the Restoration, the Great Hall was rebuilt by archbishop William Juxon with a late Gothic hammerbeam roof. Founded in 1197, the Lambeth Palace garden covers just over 10 acres and is considered one of the oldest gardens in England.

Near to the entrance of the Place stands the former parish church of St Mary-at-Lambeth. The tower dates from 1377 and tombs within the church include some of the archbishops, gardeners John Tradescant the elder and his son of the same name, and Admiral William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. The church deconsecrated in 1972 and now houses The Garden Museum.

Many Kings and Queens have visited Lambeth Palace over the centuries, however Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 become the first pontiff to step foot inside the Palace. The Pope was welcomed to the Palace by the then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

As a working palace and family home, Lambeth Palace is not open to the public on a daily basis. However, visitors can go on guided tours or attend special open days when it is open.

For more information, visit the Lambeth Palace website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
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Exhibition Review: Bill Viola / Michelangelo at the Royal Academy – 26th January to 31st March 2019

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Royal Academy of Arts presents the work of the pioneering video artist, Bill Viola, with drawings by Michelangelo (1475 -1564) in an exhibition entitled Bill Viola / Michelangelo : Life, Death, Rebirth.  Both artists share a deep preoccupation with the nature of human experience and existence and the exhibition is  a unique opportunity to see major works from Viola’s career and some of the greatest drawings by Michelangelo, together for the first time. It is the first exhibition at the Royal Academy largely devoted to video art and follows Viola’s visit to the Print Room at Windsor Castle in 2006 to see Michelangelo’s famous drawings. The visit was a catalyst for this exhibition, which examines the affinities between the artists in seeking answers to some fundamental questions about life and death.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition is conceived as an immersive journey through the cycle of life, exploring the transience and tumult of existence and the possibility of rebirth. It opens with a group of works by both artists that reflect life and death,  Michelangelo’s The Virgin and Child with the Infant St John the Baptist, c. 1504-05, known as the ‘Taddei Tondo’ is featured opposite Viola’s Nantes Triptych, 1992 which consists of three screens that individually portray a woman giving birth, a figure floating and Viola’s own mother on her deathbed.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of the highlights of the exhibition is Michelangelo’s remarkable ‘Presentation Drawings’ of the 1530s (Royal Collection, London), the drawings were produced for a Roman nobleman and feature personal ideas on the nature of love and life. The drawings feature allegories on the nature of love and life with subjects matters that include the labours of Hercules and the fall of Phaeton.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Playing opposite these drawings is the video of Viola’s Man Searching for Immortality/Woman Searching for Eternity, 2013 . Life-size images of a nude ageing man and woman are projected onto two black granite slabs like elderly Adam and Eve.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Viola’s Sleep of Reason 1988, The Reflecting Pool 1977-79 and Surrender 2001 offer differing views of reality taking the familiar but giving a glimpse of other worlds lurking in the background.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The final galleries include a series of works that consider mortality and the possibility of rebirth. These include Michelangelo’s drawings of the  Crucifixion and Viola’s epic works; the five screen installation Five Angels for the Millennium, 2001 and the large projections Fire Woman, 2005  and Tristan’s Ascension (The Sound of a Waterfall Under a Mountain), 2005.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This fascinating and thought-provoking exhibition offers a contrast between Viola’s large installations and Michelangelo’s small and intimate works. In the darkness of the galleries, Michelangelo’s drawings are illuminated which builds on the religious and classical imagery.  In comparison Viola’s large videos seem abstract and less defined, although they do offers some ideas of the nature of reality.  Both artist’s are finally consumed by the idea of the body as a vehicle for that final journey, they depict bodies falling and rising in an endless cycle towards the unknown.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review – Pierre Bonnard : Colour of Memory at Tate Modern from 23rd January to 6th May 2019

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Tate Modern presents the UK’s first major Pierre Bonnard exhibition in 20 years, the exhibition entitled  Pierre Bonnard : Colour of Memory explores the work of French painter and how he developed his own unique style. The exhibition brings together around 100 of his greatest works from museums and private collections around the world.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition spans four decades from the emergence of Bonnard’s unique style in 1912 to his death in 1947 and  shows how the artist constructed his paintings to express moments of particular significance.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition begins with Young Women in the Garden which illustrates how Bonnard would take an initial image but would continuously work on the canvas for months or years to get to a stage where the artist is satisfied. This particular painting was started in 1921-3 but was not finished till 1945-6. Not all his paintings took so long to complete but Bonnard liked to explore the idea of time and memories.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Bonnard lived with his partner Marthe de Meligny for 30 years before they got married in 1925, Man and Woman 1900 seems to celebrate their unconventional lifestyle and many of the artist’s early paintings featured Marthe in domestic scenes or vibrant landscapes  like Dining Room in the Country 1913, The Lane at Vernonnet 1912-14 and Coffee 1915.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Marthe was often the model for a series of nude studies especially that often involved water like Nude in the Bath 1936, and Nude crouching in tub 1918.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Bonnard bought his first car in 1911 and travelled extensively all over France, on these trips he developed his work on landscapes. His landscapes like Summer 1917 were generally more concerned with colour than just representation. Bonnard often visited Monet at Giverny and was inspired by the large water-lily canvases.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

After the First World War, the death of his mother led Bonnard to work on a series of domestic scenes often centred around meals, The Bowl of Milk 1919 illustrates how Bonnard was using different perspectives to record domestic scenes.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

His house in Vernonnet in Normandy was a constant inspiration where he could explore the relationship between man-made and natural environments. These studies led a more abstract approach with The Violet Fence 1922 and Studio with Mimosa 1939-46 .

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition concludes with a group of works created towards the end of Bonnard’s life, while spending the Second World War in Le Cannet in the South of France.  The war led the artist to look back on a lifetime of memories and create works that showed the beauty of the world and not the horror and  devastation.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This fascinating exhibition offers the opportunity to study the works of Pierre Bonnard, although often overshadowed by other French painters of the period, Bonnard deserves to be recognised for this own unique style. Bonnard’s use of intense colours and modern compositions inspired many later artists to experiment with capturing fleeting moments, memories and emotions on canvas. In a period in which the world was tearing itself apart, Bonnard concentrated on the small pleasures of everyday life that enabled himself and other people to survive the severe political and social turmoil. 

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Tate Modern website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Manga Exhibition at the British Museum – 23 May to 26 August 2019

Kohada Koheiji © The Trustees of the British Museum

In May 2019 the British Museum will present the largest exhibition of manga ever held outside of Japan. Manga are Japanese comic books or graphic novels with a twist, serialised in magazines and read by a global audience. A multi-billion-pound business that embraces anime and gaming, manga are a global phenomenon and have forged a new international visual language. The original translation of the characters for manga was ‘pictures run riot’, associated with the great 19th-century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai whose miscellaneous drawings of people, animals and nature were published as ‘Hokusai Manga’. Since then, however, the medium has evolved to become a form of immersive story telling with unique characters and embracing universal issues. The Citi exhibition Manga will bring to life the art of manga, looking at how it emerged in Japan and grew to be a worldwide cultural phenomenon. It will explore manga’s enduring appeal and cultural crossover, showcasing original Japanese manga and its enormous influence, from anime to gaming to ‘cosplay’ performance art.

With its world-renowned Japanese collections and expertise, and working in partnership with manga artists, editors, publishing houses and specialists in Japan, the British Museum is uniquely placed to take visitors on a journey through the phenomenon of manga. From earlier forms such as the comic or dramatic designs by famous Japanese artists such as Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889) and others through to the 21st century, today there is indeed a manga for everyone. Featuring unprecedented loans from across Japan, the exhibition will reveal the inner-workings of this billion-dollar industry. The exhibition design and interpretation will transport visitors into the immersive world of manga. Visitors will be able to enter a rendering of the oldest surviving manga bookshop in Tokyo, go inside the artists’ world, meet the manga editors and be ‘manga-fied’ in a special photo booth. Audio and video installations will help bring the world of manga and its characters to life. The exhibition will also explore Manga fandom through big conventions such as Comiket and World Cosplay summit, immersing the visitor in the experience of one of these events, as well as providing an opportunity for visitors to try on a costume and share via their own photos.

Golden Kamuy © Satora Noda/ Shueisha

The exhibition will look to include high profile loans from leading internationally famous manga artists; including Tezuka Osamu (Astro Boy and Princess Knight), Akatsuka Fujio (Eel Dog), Toriyama Akira (Dragon Ball), Inoue Takehiko (Vagabond and REAL), Oda Eiichirō (ONE PIECE), Hagio Moto (Poe Clan), Takemiya Keiko (The Poem of Wind and Trees), Kōno Fumiyo (Gigatown) and Higashimura Akiko (Princess Jellyfish). Going beyond manga, the exhibition will also features the global phenomenon Pokémon as one example of a gaming-based entertainment property.

There are many manga, with a vast variety of styles and subject matter so there is something for all ages, reflecting different voices, identities and forms of expression. Breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for the most copies sold for the same title by a single author, the manga ONE PIECE written by Oda Eiichirō is a global phenomenon. The story chronicles the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his band of young pirates as they travel the seas in search of the world’s greatest treasure, the legendary ‘One Piece’, so he can become the pirate king. Spanning 91 volumes, made into anime and even a Kabuki performance this manga is enjoyed by people of all ages all over the world.

Princess Jellyfish © Akiko Higashimura/ Kodansha Ltd

Manga can also tackle serious issues; for example, Princess Jellyfish (Kuragehime) a manga series primarily for women, written and illustrated by a woman, Higashimura Akiko. The series explores expression of gender and identity through a fictional apartment building in Tokyo where only female tenants are allowed. A friendship is formed between one of the tenants and the illegitimate son of a politician, who cross-dresses to avoid his patriarchal duties and to feel closer to his mother. Both of these examples demonstrate the ability of manga to reach and appeal to a wide range of audiences across multiple platforms.

The British Museum has itself starred in a manga, in Hoshino Yukinobu’s 2010 Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure, in which a popular character, professor of folklore at the fictional Tōa Bunka University, embarks on a gripping adventure of potential robbery and retribution in the Museum galleries.

One of the most exciting objects travelling to the UK for the exhibition is the Shintomiza Kabuki Theatre Curtain, generously loaned by the Waseda University Theatre Museum, Tokyo. At 17 metres long and 4 metres high, this giant curtain was originally made to be displayed between acts at the Shintomiza kabuki theatre and will be shown in its full dynamic splendour along one wall of the Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery. Created in 1880 by the painter Kawanabe Kyōsai, the curtain features painted demons and ghosts which emerge from the interplay of lines and colours, leaping out and blurring the worlds of reality and fantasy, as in much of Kyōsai’s art and the printed manga books he produced. Visitors will be able to glimpse the curtain throughout their manga journey in the exhibition, understanding the interplay between traditional brush art and modern manga. Due to the delicate nature of this incredible object, this will be the last time it will travel outside Japan. This exhibition provides a unique opportunity for many visitors in the UK to experience this impressive curtain that is among one of Japan’s most compelling artistic treasures.

Anime and gaming grew out of the manga art form and are immensely popular in Japan and internationally. Anime can trace its origins to 1917, growing in popularity from the 1960s to the global creative industry it is today. Anime will feature in the audio-visual content in the exhibition and an extensive public programme including anime film screenings, late events, lectures and workshops will be revealed in spring 2019.

For more information and tickets, visit the British Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

 

Great London Sculptures: The Traffic Light Tree by Pierre Vivant

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of the most unusual sculptures in London is located on a traffic roundabout near Billingsgate Market, close to the Canary Wharf Financial District.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The public sculpture entitled Traffic Light Tree was created by the French sculptor Pierre Vivant following a competition run by the Public Art Commissions Agency.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The sculpture is eight metres tall and contains 75 sets of lights, each controlled by computer.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Vivant was inspired to create the sculpture by London Plane Trees and the changing pattern of the lights reflects the never-ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial and commercial activities.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The sculpture was originally located on a roundabout in Millwall, at the junction of Heron Quay, Marsh Wall and Westferry Road. It was installed in 1998 and soon became a favourite with tourists and locals, however due to redevelopment in 2011 the sculpture was moved to a new location opposite Billingsgate Market where it had an official lighting-up ceremony in 2014.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

It is still known to confuse motorists but that is all part of the fun about having a Traffic Light Tree. The sculpture was the reason the roundabout it stood on was voted the best UK roundabout in 2005.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here