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Monthly Archives: May 2019

Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet at the Royal Academy from 30 June to 29 September 2019

In June 2019, the Royal Academy of Arts will present a survey of paintings and prints by the Swiss artist Félix Vallotton (1865–1925). This will be the first exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK since 1976. Greatly admired in his native Switzerland, Vallotton remains relatively little known elsewhere. The exhibition will serve as a rare opportunity to discover the highly original and innovative work of this often overlooked artist.

Comprising around 100 works from public and private collections across Europe and the U.S., the exhibition will demonstrate the intensity of Vallotton’s unique vision by bringing together outstanding examples from every period of the artist’s career.

The exhibition will be organised in thematic sections. The first will present Vallotton’s work from the 1880s, following his arrival in Paris at the age of sixteen. He avoided the contemporary movements such as Impressionism and turned instead to artists of the Northern and Dutch traditions with works like his earliest known self-portrait, Self-portrait at the Age of Twenty, 1885 (Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne) and the linear clarity of the painting The Sick Girl, 1892 (Kunsthaus, Zürich).

The second section will bring together work from a period of radical development for Vallotton. In the early 1890s he formed ties with the Nabis, a group of avant-garde artists including Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard. Like them, Vallotton was an attentive observer of contemporary life in Paris, though his unsparing caricatural illustrations and satires of Parisian society set him apart.

Vallotton distinguished himself as one of the great printmakers of his age. Magazine illustrations provided a stable income for the artist and La Revue blanche was a ready vehicle for his prints. Simple in design and bold in their use of black, his woodcuts provide sharply reductive imagery, owing in part to Japanese woodblock printing. Technically daring and bitingly satirical, the series Intimités, 1897–98, best articulates the artist’s unvarnished voyeurism and his exploration of the subtle power struggles and hypocrisies of the Parisian bourgeoisie. These are themes that are echoed in the celebrated paintings of interior scenes, 1898–99, such as The Visit, 1899 (Kunsthaus, Zürich), a masterpiece of enigmatic narrative.

The closing of La Revue blanche coincided with Vallotton’s marriage to the wealthy widow Gabrielle Rodrigues-Henriques in 1899, bringing with it a new financial security that allowed him to concentrate on painting. His early claustrophobic, psychologically charged interiors open up to light-filled rooms of well-appointed apartments, and the synthetic style of the prints is replaced with a broad, painterly realism.

From around 1904 onwards, the female nude became Vallotton’s principal subject. This section of the exhibition will present works such as Nude Holding her Gown, 1904 (Private Collection) and Models Resting, 1905, (Kunst Museum Winterthur). Here the subjects are depicted in a distinctive, hard-edged style, indebted to artists of the Northern tradition such as Cranach and, again, Ingres in the classical coolness and smooth surfaces.

A section will focus on paintings and prints produced during the First World War, an event that profoundly affected the artist. The cover of his portfolio This is War!, 1916 (Musée d’art et d’histoire, Geneva), Vallotton’s last series of woodcuts, features splattered red ink on the cover, while the six images, in strongly contrasting blacks and whites, capture the danger and terror of the ordinary soldier fighting at the front.

The exhibition will conclude with a survey of Vallotton’s landscapes and still-life paintings. This selection includes the artist’s remarkable paysages composés, landscapes based more on memory and imagination than composed from real life observation.

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

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Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
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The Strange History of Marble Arch


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

Many Londoners and visitors to London are confused by Marble Arch that stands rather forlorn on a large traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane and Edgware Road. The 19th-century white marble-faced arch was built with quite grand intentions which never really were realised.

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

John Nash was the favourite architect of the Prince Regent, later King George IV. Nash had successfully designed and planned such landmarks as Regent’s Park, Regent Street, Carlton House Terrace and parts of Buckingham Palace. Therefore Nash was the obvious choice to build a ‘Marble Arch’ which would be a gateway to Buckingham Palace and a celebration of British victories in the Napoleonic Wars.

Nash’s original design was based on the Arch of Constantine in Rome and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Nash had a model made which is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum that illustrates his design which was approved by George IV. The arch is faced with Carrara marble with other select marble extracted from quarries near Seravezza. The various sculptures and a equestrian statue of George IV that would crown the structure were commissioned in 1828.

However, after the death of the King George IV in 1830, Nash was sacked by the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, for overspending on the project. The architect Edward Blore was commissioned to complete the works in less grandiose and more practical fashion.

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

Blore found himself with a collection of statues and panels, but decided to complete the Arch without using most of the sculpture. The Arch was completed in 1833, the central gates were added in 1837, just in time for Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne.

Blore used some of the friezes made for Nash’s arch in the central courtyard of Buckingham Palace. In 1835 many of the sculptures were given to William Wilkins to use in the construction of the new National Gallery. The Equestrian Statue of George IV, by Francis Chantrey that was due to be on top of the arch now stands on a plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Blore’s revised Marble Arch was erected as a formal gateway to Buckingham Palace in the 1830s but only lasted for seventeen years because when Buckingham Palace was enlarged, the arch seemed small and insignificant.

In 1850, the decision was taken to move the Arch to its current location of Cumberland Gate where it would create a grand entrance to Hyde Park in time for the Great Exhibition of 1851. The removal and reconstruction of the Arch was overseen by architect Thomas Cubitt who completed the complex process in only three months.

With vast crowds of people arriving for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, Marble Arch was considered a grand entrance to the park. Marble Arch became a familiar landmark and played its role as an entrance for more than 50 years. However this was to change in 1908 when a new road scheme cut through the park just south of the Arch leaving it separated from Hyde Park. In the 1960s, the roads were widened still further, leaving the Arch in its isolated position and effectively cut off from the park.

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

In 1970, the Arch gained its Grade I listed status and small park created around the Arch. Since then there has been a number of ‘ideas’ to relocate the structure but it is still remains a familiar if unusual landmark near the busy roads of Central London.

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

Like many London structures, there has been a number of ‘urban myths’ related to the arch. It is often said that the Arch was removed from Buckingham Palace because it was too narrow to allow Queen Victoria’s State Coach through. In reality, Queen Victoria’s coronation procession and Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation procession passed through the Arch with no problems. The second myth is that Marble Arch was a former Police Station. It was used by the police for accommodation and surveillance but was not a police station. Part of the myth can be traced to poet, Sir John Betjeman who filmed inside Marble Arch for a 1960s TV documentary and mentioned it was a police station.

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

Marble Arch is one of London’s landmarks and has led to the area around the Arch to be known as Marble Arch with its own tube station on the Central line. The location of the Arch has been a famous site for centuries, nearby was the former site of the Tyburn gallows, a place of public execution from 14th to 18th century.

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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Great London Sculptures : Paddington Bear Statue by Marcus Cornish at Paddington Station

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

London railway stations have featured in many books over the years, however in the Paddington Bear books, our cuddly hero is named after Paddington Station. The station plays a very important role in the books because it is within the station where he was first found by Mr. and Mrs. Brown when he arrives in London from Peru and the reason he got his name.

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

To commemorate this relationship, there is a life-sized bronze statue of Paddington in the station which was designed by the sculptor Marcus Cornish. The statue was unveiled by the Paddington Bear series author Michael Bond in 2000.

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

Michael Bond was working as a television cameraman for the BBC that he first came up with the idea for Paddington. He bought a small toy bear for his wife and named it Paddington because they were living near Paddington Station at the time. He began to write some stories about the bear and eventually his very first book “A Bear Called Paddington” was accepted by a publisher and published in 1958. Since the first book, Paddington books have sold more than thirty-five million copies worldwide and have been translated into over forty different languages.

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

Michael Bond lived in London, not far from Paddington Station where he continued to write until shortly before he died in 2017, aged 91.

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

In the books, we found out that Paddington originally came from Peru where he was brought up by his Aunt Lucy. When Aunt Lucy went to live in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima, she decided to send him to England to live. He was found by the Browns sitting on a small suitcase near the lost property office wearing a hat with a label round his neck with the words “Please Look After This Bear. Thank You.” Paddington is famous for his love of marmalade and especially marmalade sandwiches.

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

The sculpture recreates this scene, with Paddington sitting under a large clock with his suitcase waiting to be rescued.

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

Paddington has also achieved fame on television and more recently films, one strange but true fact is that the very first Paddington bear soft toy was designed in the UK by Shirley Clarkson who just happens to be the mother of TV personality Jeremy Clarkson. Now Paddington has his own shop on Paddington Station.

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

Nearby the statue is a colourful Paddington bench and plaque marking the making of the first Paddington film in 2013 and mentions that some of the scenes were filmed in the station.

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

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 – 21 to 25 May 2019

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been held in the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital, London every year since 1913, apart from gaps during the two World Wars. Although the title of Britain’s largest flower show has now been overtaken by RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the Chelsea Show is still considered the most prestigious and The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have announced some of the highlights for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 (21 – 25 May).

Show Garden Highlights

Encouraging people to reconnect with nature is a key theme at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show with gardens celebrating the beauty of the natural world. Seven-time gold medal winning designer Andy Sturgeon is back for show sponsor M&G Investments, drawing inspiration for his garden from nature’s power to regenerate. The woodland landscape will be colonised by young trees, ferns and jewel-like flowers, interspersed with stone platforms and huge burnt timber sculptures representing natural rock formations.

Multi RHS gold medal winning designer, Sarah Eberle returns to Main Avenue with a garden celebrating 100 years of forestry with The Forestry Commission. The Resilience Garden looks ahead to the biggest challenges facing our forests in the future, exploring how they can be made resilient to a changing climate and the increasing threats of pests and diseases.

A celebration of the environmental benefits of trees, this time within an urban space has influenced the design of The Savills and David Harber Garden by Andrew Duff. The garden seeks to create a beautiful, sustainable woodland clearing within a city, featuring bio diverse trees and greenery known to remove harmful pollutants from the atmosphere.

Three gardens on Main Avenue this year represent striking natural landscapes. Last year’s People’s Choice winner Mark Gregory is designing once again for Welcome to Yorkshire, inspired by the canals and waterways found in the West of the county.

Jon Snow for Trailfinders is sourcing inspiration from further afield bringing the temperate rainforests of South America to Central London complete with lush planting and dramatic waterfalls. In contrast the The Dubai Majlis Garden designed by Thomas Hoblyn evokes a Middle Eastern feel inspired by the sculptural beauty found in arid landscapes.

The importance of having access to nature and green spaces for all ages and abilities has inspired the brief for The Greenfingers Charity Garden designed by Kate Gould. Intended for a hospice to provide a fun, interactive and uplifting space where seriously ill children, their families and friends can come together and embrace the benefits of being in the fresh air and engaging with the natural environment.

Chris Beardshaw, winner of Best in Show 2018 and multi gold medal winning designer Jo Thompson complete the talented line up designing Show Gardens in 2019.

Space to Grow Highlights

For the second year Royal Hospital Way will be populated by inspiring gardens offering new ideas and inspiration in the Space to Grow Category.

Joe Perkins is taking on his first solo garden for social media giant Facebook. The theme of the garden is connectivity, celebrating the positive benefits of social media as a powerful tool for engaging in real world issues, connecting people and driving positive social change. The Facebook Garden: Beyond The Screen takes on a coastal theme to reinforce this message as coastal habitats are constantly changing and evolving and are rich and diverse environments where many species can thrive.

Vibrant colours and exotic leaves bring rural Africa to central London promoting the importance of Giving Girls in Africa a Space to Grow. Women produce much of Africa’s food, the garden designed by Jilayne Rickards highlights the work CAMFED does to educate and empower those reliant on agriculture in communities hardest hit by climate change to use climate-smart, sustainable agricultural techniques to provide for themselves and their families.

Education also underpins the message of The Montessori Centenary Children’s Garden designed by Jody Lidgard, an engaging space to nurture children, teaching them about the natural world and future of horticulture with new technology including hydroponics, aeroponics and vertical planting techniques.

Water features prominently in a number of the gardens planned for Chelsea 2019 and lies at the heart of Paul Hervey-Brooks The Viking Cruises Garden, a space created from a water meadow with multi-stem river birch and winding streams running through to a pool and concrete terrace.

The Warner Edward’s Garden by Helen Elks-Smith incorporates water in a playful and imaginative way as it appears and disappears throughout the garden like the natural springs at the distillery’s home of Falls Farms. The design takes inspiration from architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece ‘Fallingwater’.

Artisan Gardens Highlights

Small is beautiful when it comes to the Artisan Gardens and this year’s line-up promise to inspire and excite as traditional materials and methods are revitalised through new design approaches.

A garden celebrating 70 years of land-based education at Kingston Maurward College embodies the artisan approach as the college’s blacksmith, engineering, countryside management and horticultural students will all contribute towards the final design.

Annie Prebensen and Christina Williams were last at Chelsea in 2010 when they won gold and best Artisan Garden, the pair return with a garden celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Donkey Sanctuary, highlighting the vital role donkeys play in improving the lives for some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world.

Walkers’ Forgotten Quarry Garden designed by Graham Bodle takes inspiration from a quarry at the bottom of the garden at Walkers Nurseries, featuring reclaimed items and materials from the quarry.

The Great Pavilion Highlights

British horticulture remains at the heart of RHS Chelsea as the UK’s top nurseries fill the Great Pavilion with thousands of immaculate plant varieties on display.

For the first time the Great Pavilion will also house a judged walk-through Show Garden by internationally renowned British Designer Tom Dixon and home furnishings retailer IKEA. The immersive garden hopes to raise awareness that it is both possible, affordable and rewarding to grow your own food in the city using sustainable urban growing techniques. Upon first impression, the garden looks like a natural hillside landscape, on closer inspection, the viewer can see a subterranean, and futuristic high-tech garden with edibles and plants growing in an immersive horticultural laboratory.

Iconic multi RHS Gold medal winning rose breeder, David Austin Roses will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary at the show with a sensual display of award winning roses along with some exciting new introductions.

Perennial is celebrating its 180th year of supporting those in the horticultural industry with a walk through feature ‘The Perennial Lifeline Garden’ designed by London College of Garden Design Graduates taking inspiration The Laskett Gardens in Herefordshire bequeathed to the charity by Sir Roy Strong.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show (21 – 25 May 2019)
20 May  Press Day
21 – 22 May  RHS members only
23 – 25 May  RHS members and non-members
25 May 8am – 5.30pm (sell off starts at 4pm)

Venue: Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3 4SL

For more information or to book tickets for London Shows, visit the RHS website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 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

Review: Grand Designs Live at ExCeL London – 4th to 12th May 2019

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

The crowds made their way to ExCeL London for the first day of the Grand Designs Live show. Grand Designs Live is based on the Channel 4 series and is hosted by Design guru and TV presenter Kevin McCloud.

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

Grand Designs Live includes top expert advice, new product launches and specialist exhibitors in project zones. All aspects of home creation and improvement are covered including self-builds, renovation or finding ideas and inspiration to create your dream home.

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

Underlying the show is the importance of design in your projects and there are over 500 brands, across six different sections covering Build, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Gardens, Interiors, Technology and Design Arcade to provide inspiration.

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

For advice, there will be RIBA architects, building suppliers, kitchen and bathroom designers on hand, you can ‘meet’ some of the Grand Designers in The Grand Theatre.

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

Kevin McCloud and the Grand Design team are great advocates of being eco-friendly and recycling and the show features Kevin’s Green Heroes which features eco-innovations that come to life.

The Upcycling Hub is a new area of the show which puts the focus on the art of upcycling. Skilled upcycling designers give visitors an insight into their craft through live demonstrations, as well as showcasing artisan pieces.

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

The Under the Stairs Project is a competition for Interior Designers, aiming to inspire visitors and encourage them to take home new ideas, information and supplier contacts. This competition focuses on the uplift in the use of unconventional spaces.

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

The Green Finger Campaign is a response to the latest UK State of Nature report that shows over half our wild species; plants, insects and birds are in decline. The show is packed with green products, free eco advice, activities and talks to raise awareness of what people can do to protect and enhance the nature in your garden.

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

Walking around the show, you can be inspired with a large number of innovations and design ideas. From large lodges for your garden to paintings for your walls, each section has plenty of interest to create improvements for your home and garden. Experts are ready to offer advice for any of your projects and you can buy the latest products from a vast array of exhibitors.

Grand Designs Live runs from the 4th to 12th May 2019 at ExCeL London.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets , visit the Grand Designs 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

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2019 from 10 June to 12 August 2019

Acclaimed British painter, Jock McFadyen has been awarded the role of co-ordinator of the 251st Summer Exhibition. McFadyen with the Summer Exhibition Committee intends to build a unique platform for artists at all stages of their career to present recent work.

Highlights within the Main Galleries will include a ‘menagerie’ in the Central Hall curated by Jock McFadyen RA, with works by artists including Polly Morgan, Charles Avery and Mat Collishaw.,Jane and Louise Wilson RA will organise two gallery spaces, one of which will showcase light and time based work. Spencer de Grey RA will curate the Architecture Gallery, which will explore the theme of sustainability.

The celebrated artist Thomas Houseago will show a group of large-scale sculptural works in the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard that respond to the Academy’s statue of Joshua Reynolds, which has stood in the courtyard since 1931. This will be the first time that the courtyard will be dedicated to an artist that is not a Royal Academician as part of the Summer Exhibition.

Further artists exhibiting in this year’s Summer Exhibition include Jeremy Deller and Marcus Harvey alongside Royal Academicians such as Tracey Emin RA, Gary Hume RA, David Nash RA, Wolfgang Tillmans RA and Honorary Royal Academicians, Anselm Kiefer and James Turrell. The celebrated German filmmaker and photographer Wim Wenders Hon RA will be taking over the free McAulay Gallery, with a series of panoramic photographs.

The Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show which has taken place every year without interruption since 1769. The members of the Summer Exhibition Committee serve in rotation, ensuring that every year the exhibition has a distinctive character, with each Royal Academician responsible for a particular gallery space. Works from all over the world are judged democratically on merit and the final selection is made during the eight-day hang in the galleries. This year the Royal Academy received over 16,000 entries. Around 1200 works, in a range of media, will go on display, the majority of which will be for sale offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original work. A significant part of funds raised continue to contribute to financing the postgraduate students at the RA Schools.

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