One particular discovery of this last trip to London was Sir John Soane’s museum house at Lincoln’s Inn Fields. I think I’d been there before, perhaps some twenty years ago, on my very first time in London – but, for some reason, the place had failed to strike me the way it has this time.
Now I’m rather in love.
In love with the unbelievable Crypt: you access the rear basement via the kitchen – and find yourself entirely surrounded by Sir John’s antiquities, filling every available space, piling up the walls, up to the eaves – in the most literal sense. Wherever you turn there is another statue, another fragment, another vase, another model, another, and another, and another… You pick your way from cabinet to small room, up narrow stairs, you look up and down this sort of antique-lined well, with its fanlight above… and then there is the room entirely lined with paintings – and not any paintings, either: a few Canalettos, a handful of Hogarts, a collection of Piranesi… Continue reading
That’s where I am as you read. On my way to London with a bunch of theatre friends for three days (and a half) of… oh, the usual, I guess.
Mary Poppins and the Phantom of the opera, the Sky Garden, Greenwich, the exhibition on stage costumes at the National Theatre… did I say we are a bunch of theatre folk?
I’m sure it will be great fun, and I’m curious about how I function in this kind of group. I am used to travel alone or – not so frequently – with one or two close friends… I don’t think I’ve travelled with a group in… twenty years? Likely longer than that. Then again, with most of these particular people I’m used to work on an almost daily basis, so…
I can’t wait. It’s been too long since I’ve been in London. It will be fun. I’ll let you know.
Now this was sparked by an exchange of mails with an archeologist friend. We came to discuss empires – falling and fallen, lost and surviving in shadows… which brought me to muse on my personal collection of Lost Empires – or, at least, of shadows I found, sometimes in strange places or in the pages of a book.
Lisbon, for instance, I found to be a strange place: melancholy, grand, and neglected, still dotted with ruins from the 1746 earthquake, with its tower overlooking the Tago, the cramped, untidy Alfama clinging around the crumbling castle, and caravels everywhere. Caravels are exhibited in museums, double as ex-votos in churches or children’s swings in parks, recur in trademarks and symbols everywhere… There is a sense of proud decay – as though the whole city whispered “let it all go to ruin, what matters now that the Empire is lost? Continue reading
So… some Shakespeare at the Globe, the Rose, a musical, the Museum of London, and then we’ll see. Continue reading
The first thing was the bus from Stansted, entering London through Shoreditch and Bishopsgate – passing by St. Botolph – and then Threadneedle Street, and seeing it all through memories of the Agas Map, and touring companies coming back to London after traipsing through the provinces, and people coming and going between Norton Folgate and the City, and the Pye Inn, and everything else… Continue reading
Up for some virtual time-travel?
Good, because we are off to OpenCulture today, to view this impressive 3D representation of pre-Great Fire London, realised by six students fo DeMonfort University.
Based on a combination of period maps and documents, conjecture and extrapolation, the animation is incredibly detailed, and looks very accurate. Little wonder that it has won the first prize in the British Library’s Off the Map contest. Well done, Pudding Lane Productions!
The page also offers links to the developers’ blog, the BL’s Digital Scholarship Blog, and a few other 3D historical representations .
Not Saturday, I know, but I just happened on this review of Ros Barber’s The Marlowe Papers – remember? – on Baroque in Hackney, poet Katy Evans-Bush’s lovely blog of “poetry, arts and culture”, and that led to this other review of George Dillon’s The Man Who Was Hamlet.
And it all made me remember how much I miss London.
And I thought I’d let you know, both about the review and the blog…