Exhibition Review – Reimagining Captain Cook: Pacific Perspectives at the British Museum from 29 November 2018 to 4 August 2019

The British Museum presents a new exhibition entitled Reimagining Captain Cook: Pacific Perspectives, this new free exhibition re-examines Captain Cook’s relationship with the people of the Pacific and includes eight contemporary artworks made by Pacific Island artists which have been acquired by the British Museum for this exhibition and are displayed for the first time.

The exhibition has seven sections with a  focus on a place where Cook is remembered: Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, New Caledonia, Hawaii, Vanuatu and Tahiti, as well as Great Britain. Cook’s experience of each place was different and these sections  explore his encounter and his legacy.

The contemporary works by artists from the Pacific Islands are all in some ways a direct response to Cook’s voyages and question ideas of conquest and civilization.

The exhibition contains 88 objects and images, including 14 contemporary works. Eight of these have been specifically acquired by the Museum for this display and are exhibited here for the first time. Highlights of the contemporary works include Māori artist Steve Gibbs’ Name Changer,  Captn Cook in Australia by Simon Gende, Aboriginal photographer and artist Michael Cook’s work Civilised #12  and Cookie in the Cook Islands by Michel Tuffery.

The contemporary artworks on show  provide a response to the traditional dialogue around Cook and offer new perspectives. New Zealand Māori artist Lisa Reihana ‘s  work Taking Possession, Lono was recently acquired by the Museum. The work is a still image taken from Reihana’s celebrated panoramic video work In Pursuit of Venus [infected]. Reihana inserts Europeans into the landscape in order to reimagine early encounters between Islanders and Europeans.

This fascinating small, free exhibition illustrates that the British Museum and a number of other museums are beginning to question some of their possessions. Many  islands of the Pacific were transformed by their encounters with Captain Cook. Two hundred and fifty years after he first set sail for the Pacific, this exhibition suggests that it is now time for Islanders voice to be heard in the debate about his legacy.

For more information, visit the British Museum 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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Exhibition Review – The World Exists to Be Put On A Postcard: artists’ postcards from 1960 to now at the British Museum from 7 February to 4 August 2019


The British Museum presents the first survey of postcard art to be held in a major museum in the UK. The free exhibition entitled The World Exists to Be Put On A Postcard: artists’ postcards from 1960 to now features over 300 postcard works of art from some of the most famous artists of the past five decades including Gilbert & George, Susan Hiller, Guerrilla Girls, Tacita Dean, Yoko Ono, Bruce Nauman, Dieter Roth, Gavin Turk and Rachel Whitehead. Many of these pieces will be on display for the first time.

The works in the exhibition are drawn from a major donation of over 1,000 artists’ postcards collected by writer and curator Jeremy Cooper. It was Cooper’s intention, this overlooked medium should be preserved for posterity. The collection which took 6 years to assemble is considered one the world’s leading collections of this art form.

Vast numbers of artists have created postcard art since the 1960s, but it has been a largely ignored element of contemporary art. Some of the earliest artists who used postcard art were from the Fluxus network of artists and musicians. A number of key avant-garde artists in the 60s took part in Fluxus, including Joseph Beuys, Dick Higgins, Alice Hutchins, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Ben Vautier, Robert Watts, Benjamin Patterson and Emmett Williams.

Endre Tot is featured in the exhibition participated in the Fluxus movement and became well known for his Mail art project which used media like telegrams and picture postcards.

The rise of identity politics in the late 20th century saw a number of postcards to send messages, feminists used the medium of postcards to challenge the accepted portrayal of women in the media.

Anti War sentiment led to a large number of political postcards including Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s War is Over! and Jasper John’s anti-Vietnam war work Art for the Moratorium.

Although the postcard was perfect for short messages as the graphic postcards section illustrates, it was also used for bigger ideas, the exhibition features work that deals with more conceptual issues.

One section of the exhibition looks at postcard invitations. They are very rare as they were often discarded once the exhibition or event had ended. Examples include the original silver and black invitation from Andy Warhols’s 1966 show Holy Cow! Silver Clouds!! Holy Cow! at the Contemporary Art Centre, Cincinnati, and the original invitation card for the Freeze exhibition.

Gillian Wearing and Gilbert & George are some of the artists of today who use postcards to get their particular message across.

This interesting exhibition provides plenty of evidence that well before the internet, artists were using common forms of media like postcards to send  subversive, political and  social messages. The exhibition illustrates that the decline of  the once ubiquitous postcard for digital forms of communication means that this kind of printed ephemera will quickly disappear. This small free exhibition allows visitors the opportunity to see some of the more interesting examples of a largely forgotten medium of contemporary art.

Visiting London Guide Rating –  Highly Recommended

For more information, 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.
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Exhibition Review – Rembrandt: thinking on paper at the British Museum from 7 February to 4 August 2019


The British Museum presents a new free exhibition entitled Rembrandt: thinking on paper which displays a remarkable selection of drawings and prints by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) that reveal considerable insights into the Dutch artist’s artistic processes.

The exhibition which marks the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death features over 60 works which illustrate Rembrandt’s artistic skill from quick sketches to fully realised compositions. The British Museum holds one of the most important collections of Rembrandt’s prints and drawings in the world, and this exhibition offers a chance to see works rarely exhibited.

This exhibition explores Rembrandt’s creative process with drawings and prints in displays mainly related to Rembrandt’s self-portraits, women, landscapes and biblical scenes.

Rembrandt was keen observer of life and often his drawings encapsulate the spontaneous moments of everyday life of his household like  Young woman sleeping (Hendrickje Stoffels?) (c.1654), Rembrandt’s early portrait of his wife Saskia ill in bed and Reclining female nude (1658).

Rembrandt is known for his wide range of self-portraits in print, and the various drawings depict himself in various guises and moods. On display is one of Rembrandt’s earliest prints, the unusually large Self-portrait, bareheaded, bust in frontal view (1629) of which only two impressions are known.

This is presented alongside Rembrandt’s later, well-known work Self-portrait drawing at a window (1648) where Rembrandt depicts himself at work drawing his own likeness on a copper plate. Rembrandt was one of the first artists to consider self portraits as a marketable product and he often experimented with his own self image.

A final section of the exhibition examines Rembrandt’s religious works, Rembrandt was particularly fascinated by the subject of St Jerome and the display features a selection of prints reflecting his changing interpretations of the saint.

Rembrandt was often at his most creative working on works of religious significance, his dramatic interpretations are shown in a remarkable degree with Raising of Lazarus (c.1632), Three Crosses (1653) and Ecce Homo (1655).

Rembrandt is among the most popular of the Old Master artists and this fascinating small exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view his creative genius on paper. The exhibition illustrates that the artist was equally at home with the everyday and the sacred, all his works display his ability to display humanity in all its guises with a technical skill that has been the envy of artists down to the present day.

Visiting London Guide Rating –  Highly Recommended

For more information, 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.
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Review : Museum of London Docklands in West India Docks

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

The Museum of London Docklands is a museum in West India Docks which tells the history of the River Thames and the growth of Docklands.

The museum opened in 2003 in grade I listed early-19th century Georgian warehouses built in 1802 on the side of West India Docks near to the Canary Wharf financial district. Much of the museum’s collection is from the Museum of London and archives of the Port of London Authority,

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

The museum includes series of multimedia presentations including videos and houses a large collection of historical artifacts, models, and pictures in a number of galleries. The museum also has a dedicated children’s gallery called Mudlarks, bookshop and cafe.

The museum through a series of permanent galleries tells the story of how the Docklands were created and how they have changed.

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

The gallery entitled No.1 Warehouse explores the museum building itself which was originally No. 1 Warehouse of the West India Docks. Opened in 1802, the West India Docks were London’s first enclosed dock system.The gallery illustrates how London’s historic docks and warehouses operated.

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

The Trade Expansion (1600-1800) and London, Sugar & Slavery (1600 – today) galleries consider the effect of global trade and some of its consequences.

City and River (1800-1840), The early 19th century brought great change to London’s river and port. The huge docks complex was just one aspect of the development. New bridges spanned the Thames and the Thames tunnel was completed.

The ever popular Sailortown (1840-1850) gallery recreates the atmosphere of Sailortown, the London district, close to the river and docks, centred around Wapping, Shadwell and Ratcliffe.

The First Port of Empire (1840-1880) and Warehouse of the World (1880-1939) galleries illustrate how London and the docks became the centre of world trade.

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

Docklands at War (1939-1945) shows how important the docks were for the war effort and how they became a prime target for enemy bombers.

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

The New Port, New City gallery (1945 – present) recounts the ups and downs of London’s upriver docks after the war culminating in their closure from the 1960s through to the early 1980s. It also shows how Docklands became the site of Europe’s largest regeneration project which was to divide government and local communities.

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

The Museum of London Docklands is a fascinating free museum in a historic building which tells the remakable story of London’s Docklands. Located near to the Canary Wharf financial district, it is an ideal oportunity to discover how the area became the centre for world trade before it became a centre for finance.

Location : Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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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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

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.
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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.
To find out more visit the website
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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.
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