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Monthly Archives: October 2019

Exhibition Review- Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits at the Royal Academy from 27 October 2019 to 26 January 2020

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

Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits is the first exhibition to focus on the artist’s self-portraits, the works covering almost seven decades provide a remarkable opportunity to chart Freud’s (1922-2011) artistic development. The exhibition brings together around 50 works, many from private collections and a number have not been seen publicly for several decades.

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

Lucian Freud is considered as one of the foremost 20th century British painters, he was the grandson of Sigmund Freud and arrived in Britain in 1933 after leaving Germany to escape the rise of Nazism. Freud moved to London in 1943 and over the next few years he became closely involved with the London arts scene, and formed a close friendship with fellow artist Francis Bacon.

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

The start of the exhibition contrasts his first major self-portrait, Man with a Feather, 1943 alongside his late work Self-portrait, Reflection, 2002.

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

The second section at Freud’s explores his early works, including his drawings and sketchbooks. They reveal that Freud uses his own self-image in a playful way with the mythological guise of Actaeon (Self-portrait with Antlers), 1949 and as a character in illustrations for plays and stories such as Flyda and Arvid, 1947.

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

Freud’s work from the 1950s began to take his self portraits and painting much more seriously illustrated by Hotel Bedroom, 1954 and Self Portrait 1956.

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

Unusually, Freud often used mirrors to capture his self image which allowed him to change his perspective which is seen in Hand Mirror on Chair, 1966 and Interior with Hand Mirror (Self portrait), 1967.

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

The 1980s and 1990s saw Freud’s artistic reputation rising in the UK and internationally and his work gained a self assurance and a new honesty,

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

Reflection (Self-portrait), 1985 possesses the penetrating stare for which Freud was famous. In 1993, Freud completed Painter Working, Reflection, 1993 which exposes his ageing body, depicting himself naked but for a pair of boots.

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

The section entitled Reflections in the Studio show Freud’s portraits of other people, including a large scale painting of his son, Freddy Standing, 2000-1.

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

Some of the final self-portraits, show the artist now in his 80s, world weary but defiant his face gaunt and built up with thick layers of paint.

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

Although many artists have portrayed their life’s journey in self portraits, Freud has an unusual relationship with his self image. He stated that “ I don’t accept the information that I get when I look at myself and that’s where the trouble starts” and ” I am not very introspective but I was very shy, so I tried to overcome it by being exhibitionistic.”

This fascinating exhibition explores these contradictions in Freud’s self portraits, the viewer traces the artist’s life from his youthful playfulness to the sombre reflections of ageing. Strangely considering his family connections, Freud is more concerned with the physical than the psychological. Known as an intensely private man, it is his portraits which are the vehicle that exposes him to the world outside his studio.

Visiting London Guide Rating – 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.
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There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Exhibition Review: Bridget Riley at the Hayward Gallery from 23 October 2019 to 26 January 2020

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

The Hayward Gallery presents a major retrospective exhibition devoted to the work of acclaimed British artist Bridget Riley, spanning 70 years of the artist’s working life. Bridget Riley at the Hayward Gallery is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of her work to date and runs from 23 October 2019 to 26 January 2020.

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

Bridget Riley achieved an international reputation for her pioneering works that explored the nature of abstraction and perception. In the 1960s, her iconic black-and-white paintings became associated with the emerging Op Art movement. Riley won the International Prize for Painting at the XXXIV Venice Biennale in 1968 and was the feature of a 1971 exhibition at the Hayward Gallery entitled Bridget Riley: Paintings and Drawings 1951-71. This exhibition includes over 200 works and 50 key paintings, it also features several large canvases that have seldom been seen in this country.

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

The exhibition starts in the Upper Galleries with ‘Beginnings’ which includes some of her early works before she moved into abstraction. Riley was influenced by the work of Bonnard, Matisse and Paul Klee and used drawing as a key component in finding out how to organise visual information.

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

An illustration of how Riley decoded others work is the section called ‘Looking at Seurat’, Riley made a study of Seurat’s painting The Bridge at Courbevoie in 1959. Rather than just a reproduction, she followed Seurat’s method in relation to colour, light and contrast.

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

By the beginning of the 1960s, Riley was ready to follow her own path with her Black and White series which includes Kiss, (1961), Movement in Squares, (1961) and Blaze 1, (1962). Riley seemed to have tapped into the spirit of the times and her work was acclaimed by critics and the public in the UK and internationally.

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

In the mid 1960s, Riley began to move on with ‘Curves’ with Drift 2 (1966) and towards the full use of colour in Aubade, (1975), Clepsydre (1976) and Streak 2 (1979).

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

Riley’s experimentation continued in the 1970s with ‘Stripes and Diagonals’, the use of colour became more complex and diagonal lines are used to break up the stripes.

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

Since the 1980s, Riley has experimented and refined her approach with a series of works, the unique nature of the Hayward Gallery, with its large spaces allow the installation of several key wall works (Composition with Circles 4, 2004, Rajasthan, 2012, Quiver 3, 2014).

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

One of the more unusual pieces of work is the only three-dimensional work that the artist ever realised, Continuum (1963/2005). The work allows the viewer to enter and enjoy an immersive experience.

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

The section called ‘Recent Developments’ explore Riley’s recent work using the disc has the primary form, the monumental wall painting Messengers has recently been installed at the National Gallery and here we have a small section of the same design and works from the Measure to Measure series.

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

This fascinating and entertaining exhibition provides a comprehensive study of one of Britain’s most original artists, Bridget Riley takes many of the ideas of perception and form and takes them to a different level. Many of her works are full of energy and action with a dynamic yet precise use of colour and form. Close inspection proves a challenge to the viewers who begins to question what they are actually seeing. This interaction is part of Riley’s mission to bring attention to the way that we percieve ourselves and the world around us.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and book tickets , visit the Southbank Centre 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.
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Rare Bronze Age hoard at the Museum of London Docklands fron 3 April to 25 Oct 2020

Havering Hoard site discovery (c) Archaeological Solutions Ltd

The largest ever Bronze Age hoard to be discovered in London and the third largest of its kind in the UK, has been unearthed in Havering. This significant find will go on display for the first time in a major exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands in April 2020.

A total of 453 bronze objects dating between c.900 and c.800 BC have been uncovered during a planned archaeological investigation, with weapons and tools including axe heads, spearheads, fragments of swords, daggers and knives found alongside some other unusual objects, which are rarely found in the UK.

Havering Hoard (c) Museum of London

Because most of the weapons appear to be partially broken or damaged, the exhibition will offer some suggestions about why these objects ended up being carefully buried in groups close together.

Havering Hoard (c) Museum of London

Objects from the hoard will be presented to the public for the first time next year at the Museum of London Docklands. All the archaeological work was agreed with and closely monitored by Historic England, assisted by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and further conservation and analysis of the artefacts is currently underway which will reveal more insights into this remarkable find.

Havering Hoard site discovery (c) Archaeological Solutions Ltd

Bronze Age finds of this type are very rare and discoveries like this develops the understanding of Bronze Age life. The exhibition is a unique opportunity for Londoners and visitors to find out more about their ancestors of the distant past.

Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery
Museum of London Docklands
Fri 3 Apr – Sun 25 Oct 2020
FREE

For more information, visit the Museum of London Dockland 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.
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Hidden London : Shad Thames

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

With all the modern development on London’s waterfront, it is easy to forget that for many centuries, the Thames was the main highway to bring in and send out goods.

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

For a reminder of working London, it is worth taking a walk to Shad Thames which is a historic riverside street next to Tower Bridge. The street known as Shad Thames goes back at least to the 18th century, although Shad Thames was only one street, the whole area was often known by the same title. The street starts near Tower Bridge and runs along the south side of the River Thames, behind a row of converted warehouses; it then takes a turn south along St Saviour’s Dock.

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

Nobody really knows what ‘Shad’ really means but could a corruption of ‘St John at Thames’, a St John’s Church once stood on the street. In the 19th century, the area had one of the largest warehouse complex in London.

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

The complex completed in 1873 was full of warehouses which held huge quantities of tea, coffee, spices and many other commodities. As well as the warehouses, there was many wharves, mills, and factories in the area.

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

Throughout the 20th century, the area went into decline as shipping began to unload goods further east and the last warehouses closed in 1972.

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

Like much of the London riverfront, Shad Thames and the surrounding area was regenerated in the 1980s and 1990s, when the disused warehouses were converted into luxury flats with restaurants, bars and shops on the ground floor. One of the leading figures in this regeneration was designer and restaurateur Terence Conran who was involved in founding the Design Museum (now relocated to Kensington) and opening a number of riverside restaurants including the Le Pont de la Tour.

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

Despite the development of the new flats, the converted warehouses retain many of their original characteristic features of brickwork, winches and large signs. One of most striking features of Shad Thames are the walkways high above the street. They were originally used from transferring goods between the warehouses.

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

With its picturesque buildings, cobbled streets and proximity to the river, it is not surprising that Shad Thames is a popular location for films and TV programmes. Films which have used Shad Thames include The Elephant Man (1980), The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), A Fish Called Wanda (1988), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001). The original Oliver! (1968) was filmed in the area, Charles Dickens used the slum area Jacob’s Island which was located near Shad Thames for the home of villian Bill Sikes and where he meets his bitter end.

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

Although it is near Tower Bridge, Shad Thames is largely overlooked by visitors but is used mainly by residents and office workers. However if you want a taste of 19th century London, it is well worth taking a stroll down the cobbled streets of Shad Thames.

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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Crossrail Place Roof Garden in Canary Wharf

 

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

The Crossrail Place Roof Garden is a 300-metre enclosed garden which opened in 2015 that sits above the new Crossrail Station in Canary Wharf. 

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

The unique latticed timber roof design by Foster + Partners spans 310m along its length It is filled with 780 triangular pillows which are continually filled with air. The roof allows air flow and natural irrigation to reach the plants in the roof garden.

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

The gardens have been planted with species from all corners of the globe, The designers have tried to draw on the area’s heritage, planting plants that are native to countries visited by ships of the West India Dock Company, which used to unloaded their cargo in the area where the station now sits.

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

The gardens sits almost exactly on the Meridian line and the planting is arranged by hemisphere. Asian plants such as bamboos, Japanese maple, magnolia to the east, and plants such as ferns,strawberry Tree, and sweet Gum tree from the Americas to the west.

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

Within the Roof Garden is a 60 seater performance space and features a number of sculpture in and around the garden. 

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

The Crossrail Place Roof Gardens have free admission and are open daily to the public until 9pm (or sunset in summer).

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: Nam June Paik at Tate Modern from 17 October 2019 to 9 February 2020

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

Tate Modern presents a major exhibition of the work of Korean artist Nam June Paik, the artist is best known for his pioneering use of emerging technologies. The exhibition organised by Tate Modern and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is the most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work ever staged in the UK, bringing together over 200 works which covers the whole of the artist’s career.

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

Nam June Paik (1932-2006) was one of the first artists that foresaw the power of mass media and new technologies and began to experiment with using the electronic image through a number of innovative ways such as TV sets, live performances, global television broadcasts, single-channel videos, and video installations.

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

One of the early installations in the exhibition is TV Garden 1974/2002, dozens of television sets appear from a garden of lush vegetation. Paik ‘s surreal arrangement contrasts the natural and the artificial world.

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

Nearby is TV Buddha 1974 in which a sculpture gazes through its own image through a closed circuit television and One Candle (Candle TV) 2004, both provide evidence of the way Paik brings together modern technology and ancient wisdom.

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

Paik had studied classical music in Tokyo and when he arrived in Europe in the 1950s, he was drawn to avant-garde composers like Stockhausen and Cage. He began to experiment in producing his own music and the Exposition of Music room in the exhibition features a number of his works.

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

In the early 1960’s, Paik began to recognise how television was being used to manipulate its viewers, a television in the exhibition features President Nixon making a speech and Paik’s first robot work Robot K-456 1964 was a response to the fear that television was a danger to democracy. The artist began to experiment with electronic art.

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

As Paik’s career developed he began to collaborate with a number of artists, composers, designers and poets, the exhibition features his work with composer John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham and artist Joseph Beuys. Paik’s collaboration with cellist Charlotte Moorman developed into a number of performances incorporating Paik’s television sculptures which include TV Cello 1971 and TV Bra for Living Sculpture 1969.

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

The Transmission room explores how Paik was one of the first artists who understood the potential of telecommunications to deliver art around the world in long distance live collaborations.

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

His 1993 video wall entitled Internet Dreams refers to his prediction of a large global information network, Paik used the term ‘Electronic Superhighway’ in 1974.

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

The large installation One Candle (Candle Projection) 1989 brings the artist back to the ideas of Zen Buddhism and how evertthing is connected and changing.

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

The exhibition ends with the dazzling installation Sistine Chapel 1993, recreated for the first time since he was awarded the Golden Lion for the German pavilion at the Venice Biennale over 25 years ago.

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

This fascinating and playful exhibition offers the opportunity to discover the wonderful world of Nam June Paik. Although not widely known, his pioneering work into the arrival of the mass media and the digital revolution deserves greater recognition. Because of his background he made many connections between Eastern and Western cultures especially regarding the ways that things are interconnected. Paik recognised the potential and the dangers of the new types of media with his innovative and entertaining works.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book 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

Great London Sculptures: The Broad Family by Xavier Corberó in Broadgate

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

The Broad Family is a series of sculptures on a massive scale but is a family portrait of two parents with a child and even a dog with a ball. Although the family is created in an abstract form, if you look closer, two highly polished shoes can be seen peeking from under the child’s figure. This surreal aspect shows the artist ability to use materials and space and offers the odd surprise.

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

Xavier Corberó was a Catalan sculptor, best known for his public sculpture and was also the designer of the 1992 Summer Olympics medals.

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

Corberó was born in 1935 in Barcelona and studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London in the 1950s. In the 1960s, the artist acquired an house and plot of land in Esplugues de Llobregat, a village in the outskirts of Barcelona, and developed a complex for artists and exhibition spaces. The complex also houses a significant sample of Corberó’s sculptures and personal collections.

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

Corberó had his first individual exhibition in Munich in 1963 and had exhibitions in New York City, Japan, and many European cities. His large sculptures can be seen in Barcelona, London, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Beirut, Kuwait City, Chicago, and New York City.

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 – Inspired by the east: how the Islamic world influenced western art at the British Museum from 10 October 2019 – 26 January 2020

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

The British Museum presents a new exhibition which explores how western artists have been inspired by the Islamic world. The exhibition entitled Inspired by the east: how the Islamic world influenced western art covers five centuries of artistic interaction and charts the long and complex cultural interactions between Europe and North America in the ‘west’, and North Africa and the Middle East in the ‘east’.

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

The exhibition centres on the tradition known as Orientalism, which developed in the ‘west and often offered a representation of the east that was considered ‘exotic’ and ‘mysterious’. Orientalism was at its peak during the 19th century when western artists and writers began visiting the Middle East and North Africa in greater numbers.

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

The exhibition seeks to trace the origins of Orientalism back much further, to the 1500s. It also provides evidence that Orientalism was not just restricted to painting but influenced many types of visual and decorative arts such as ceramics, photography, glass, jewellery, manuscripts, clothing and contemporary art.

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

A section of the exhibition explores how artists from the Islamic world were influenced by European artistic styles and technologies like photography to create work that was often supported by social elites in the region. Highlights of this section include works by Ottoman photographer Pascal Sébah, and a number of decorated portrait medals from the Middle East, heavily influenced by European styles.

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

Objects from the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia and key objects from the British Museum’s Islamic collection illustrate this story of cultural exchanges. Highlights include paintings by leading Orientalists including Eugène Delacroix, John Frederick Lewis and Frederick Arthur Bridgman with British artist Edmund Dulac’s original illustrations for a 1907 edition of the Arabian Nights, and ceramics by Théodore Deck, a leading French ceramicist in the late nineteenth century.

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

Orientalism is now often considered with some suspicion and often associated with a distorted view of Islamic culture. To recognise this, the exhibition concludes with four contemporary reactions to the imagery of Orientalism by Middle Eastern and North African female artists. These works including Lalla Essaydi’s Women of Morocco triptych and Inci Eviner’s 2009 video work Harem.

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

This fascinating exhibition illustrates that the cultural exchange between any societies is often fraught with misunderstandings and prejudices. This was certainly the case with Orientalism which developed against the backdrop of considerable distrust between the Christian and Islamic world. Even in the Middle Ages, the scientific advances, craftsmanship and high learning of the Islamic world were well known, however it was not till the 19th century that people visited the Middle East and North Africa in greater numbers. Some of the earliest visitors were writers and artists who often exaggerated the ‘exotic’ to sell their works and colonialists who sought to promote European culture over indigenous cultures. Against this background it is not surprising that Orientalism is a controversial term in the modern world.

After its run at the British Museum, the exhibition will open at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia from 20 June – 22 October 2020.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Recommended

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

 

Museum of London displays a Rare Silver Plate owned by Samuel Pepys

(c) Museum of London

The Museum of London has acquired and is displaying an extremely rare silver plate, originally owned by Samuel Pepys. The silver plate, with knife and fork scratch marks offers a fascinating link to the life and times of Samuel Pepys, the naval administrator and famous diarist.

(c) Museum of London

The rim of the plate is engraved with the coat of arms of the Pepys family, and the underside has London hallmarks. Also on the plate’s underside are the date letter for 1681/2 and the maker’s mark ‘MK in a lozenge’ indicating that it was made in the workshop of Mary King in Foster Lane: just five minutes’ walk from the Museum of London. There’s a much later scratched inscription, reading: ‘date 1681’.

(c) Museum of London

Very little 17th century silver survives because it was often refashioned or melted down. This plate is one of just three surviving items of silver known to have belonged to Pepys. The other two are now in the United States of America.

(c) Museum of London

Samuel Pepys was born in London in 1633 and began work at the Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board 1660. In the same year, Pepys started to write his famous diary that became an important chronicle of London social life and current affairs in a time of considerable turmoil. Pepys was an avid collector of books, prints, silver, household-furnishings, ship-models and curiosities. As his wealth increased, so did his collection of silver plate which was considered an investment and a sign of wealth and status.

In 1666, Pepys placed an order with the Goldsmith Sir Robert Vyner for twelve plates increasing his stock of plates to thirty overall. However in September of the same year Pepys sent his money and plates off for safe keeping due to the Great Fire of London ‘About four o’clock in the morning, my Lady Batten sent me a cart to carry away all my money, and plate, and best things, to Sir W. Rider’s at Bednall-greene….His house full of goods, and much of Sir W. Batten’s and Sir W. Pen’s I am eased at my heart to have my treasure so well secured.

(c) Museum of London

Pepys enjoyed showing of his silver, in 1667 Pepys wrote: I home and there find all things in good readiness for a good dinner … we had, with my wife and I, twelve at table; and a very good and pleasant company, and a most neat and excellent, but dear dinner; but Lord, to see with what envy they looked upon all my fine plate was pleasant, for I made the best show I could, to let them understand me and my condition.

You can see Samuel Pepys’s silver plate on display in the Museum of London’s War, Plague and Fire gallery.

If you would like further information, visit the Museum of London 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 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: Gauguin Portraits at the National Gallery from 7 October 2019 to 26 January 2020

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

The National Gallery presents the first exhibition devoted to the portraits of Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), the exhibition entitled Gauguin Portraits explores how the French artist used the portrait to examine himself and many of his friends and sitters.

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

The landmark exhibition features over fifty works, including major loans from museums and private collections throughout the world and features a wide range of media including sculptures in ceramics and wood,  paintings and drawings. The exhibition covers the whole of Gauguin’s artistic career from his early years as an artist through to his final visit to the South Seas.

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

The first room of the exhibition is dedicated to self portraits and viewers can see the artist in a number of representations from the early Self Portrait, 1885 and Christ in the Garden of Olives, 1889 where Gauguin’s isolation and lack of success fed into a sense of persecution.  Gauguin was 35 when he committed to becoming a full time artist and the portraits provide evidence of the artist constantly reinventing himself.

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

Room 2 marks the period he artist spent in Brittany (1884–91) Gauguin turned his back on his life as a Paris stockbroker and become a leading figure of a new artists’ colony. The room also contains portraits of some of the friends and family including Madame Mette Gauguin in Evening Dress, 1884 and Interior with Aline, 1881.

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

Room 3 explores Gauguin’s relationship with Vincent van Gogh and Meijer de Haan, his famous working relationship with Van Gogh ended badly in 1888.

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

Room 4 covers Gauguin’s first Tahitian trip (1891-3) and illustrates some of the contradictions of the artist’s life. Although he wanted to escape from ‘civilisation’, he still looked for success in the art market. He was also disappointed to find that Tahitian women were encouraged to wear modest missionary dresses like Vahine no te vi ( Woman with a Mango) 1892.

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

Room 5 features work completed from his return to Paris and Brittany and his second stay in Tahiti (1893–5). His Self Portrait with Idol, 1893 illustrates how often his work at this time contains distinct Tahitian imagery.

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

Room 6 includes a selection of portraits in which Gauguin used symbolic objects, like still lifes to remember absent friends. Van Gogh is remembered by  Sunflowers with ‘Hope, 1901.

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

The final room of the exhibition is devoted to Gauguin’s late portraits. They are often an indication that he had become disillusioned by his life in ‘ Paradise’ .  Local bishop, Père Paillard, is portrayed as a lecherous devil (Père Paillard, 1902,) and Barbarian Tales, 1902 sees East meeting West. His last self portrait, made shortly before the end of his life, aged 55 shows a man ravaged by illness and tormented by his lack of success.

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

This fascinating exhibition offers considerable insights into the life and times of Paul Gauguin the artist.  His artist career is full of contradictions, on the one hand he seeks commercial success and validation but on the other hand he wants to turn his back on ‘civilisation’ and settle in ‘paradise’.  Gauguin seemed to be an ‘outsider’ regardless of where he lived, the portraits in this exhibition seem to illustrate that he often enjoyed his status as a rebel whilst at the same time seeking reassurance from the art world.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the National Gallery website here

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