Azzedine Alaia Design Museum

Glorious dresses from Azzedine Alaia at the Design Museum

So often displays of dresses are a disappointment as the  mannequins used do not do the designs justice and the dresses end up looking limp and the best idea of the real glory of the frock comes only from an old photo of a celeb wearing it. Not the case here!  These dresses by Azzedine Alaia shine and stun you as soon as you enter the room and stay with you when you leave.

Azzedine Alaia Design Museum

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Buckingham Palace

Prince and Patron at Buckingham Palace

Each summer Buckingham Palace opens its doors to the public while the Queen is away on her holidays.  You can tour the palace and see its richly decorated state  rooms and extraordinary art gallery.  But there is more!  A special exhibition accompanies the opening of the rooms and as it’s Prince Charles’ s 70th birthday this year, he gets to chose his favourite pieces of art  to put on display in an exhibition entitled Prince and Patron.

Entering Buckingham Palace is always a treat and they even laid out a red carpet for visitors to walk up!

Buckingham Palace

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The Painted Hall, Greenwich.

The Painted Hall in Greenwich is a wonderful sight at any time but during their restoration project you can climb a huge scaffolding and see the artwork close up.   There’s a massive conservation project going on before the hall reopens in full splendour next year.

What is the Painted Hall? They certainly didn’t spend too much time thinking up the name!  The enormous hall is covered in an array of extraordinary art work.  Dating from 1694, the hall was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, the finest architects of their day, the paintings were added between 1707 and 1726 by Sir James Thornhill.  If that name sounds familiar it’s because he painted the interior of the dome at St Paul’s cathedral and  this major commission pre-dates St Paul’s so the Painted Hall was a huge boost to his career.   He was paid £1 per square yard for the wall work and £3 for the ceilings and as the whole lot came in at a whopping 40,000 square feet, which would have added up to a  reasonable sum – £6,685 apparently. The  21st century restoration is costing £10.5 million so let’s hope this work  lasts the 100 years their are banking on!  The tour costs are going towards this as well as a great deal of fundraising.

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Ice cream van

What’s on in London summer 2018

I send out a newsletter to subscribers with a preview of some of the great stuff on in London over the next 3 months but blog readers are able to enjoy it too. So here it is and I’m  happy to take any questions about anything featured.

IT’S YOUR LONDON NEWSLETTER FOR SUMMER 2018.

Here’s your Summer 2018 newsletter giving you a taster of the exciting events coming up in the next 3 months in our capital. If you want to hear more about anything listed (or other things you’ve heard about) send me an email (sue@itsyourlondon.co.uk) and I’ll get right back to you.

Have a look at Sue’s blog on the website (www.itsyourlondon.co.uk) to read about what I’ve been up to lately – a peek into life in London. I’m also on Twitter at @itsyourlondon so do join my 4000+ followers for the latest news and I’m on Instagram as @sueinlondon for some lovely photos.

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Serpentine Pavilion 2018

The Serpentine Pavilion 2018

The arrival of the Serpentine Pavilion each year is a sure sign that the London summer has started and yesterday I enjoyed the 2018 pavilion on a perfect June day in London.

Now in its 18th year, each Pavilion is strikingly different from every predecessor and the 2018 version is another delight. The architect is Frida Escobeda from Mexico City is the youngest person to be given this annual commission and only the second woman after the late Zaha Hadid, who was the first back in 2000 .  Frida said she was very surprised to be asked to take on this commission however she has proved more than worthy of this award as her work is a wonderful addition to the list of great Pavilions. She talked of the challenge of designing a temporary structure that would be in its site specific location for just 4 months and the would go on to an unknown location in a private collection.  I’d not realised Pavilions have a second life and it made me wonder where previous ones have ended up.

Serpentine Pavilion 2018

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National Portrait Gallery

Rebel Women at the National Portrait Gallery

I’m really familiar with the National Portrait Gallery, London, or so I thought until I was invited to preview their Rebel Women Trail.  Much to my shame and amusement I found a section of the gallery which had escaped me so I am very pleased to highlight it in this blog post.

The Rebel Women Trail is a brilliant way to highlight the number of portraits of women in the permanent collection, perhaps often overlooked.  The portraits in the trail were chosen by a select group of women featuring: Gillian Wearing; Miranda Hart; Liv LIttle; Sara Pascoe; and, Ali Smith.

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Mithraeum London

Stepping back into Roman London at the Mithraeum

Did you know you can visit a Roman temple right in the heard of London?  First discovered in 1954 in an old bomb site, the Roman Temple of Mithras was a sensation with huge crowds coming to see it but then the site was redeveloped and the temple was dismantled, moved and seemed to be an unloved treasure.   Then came Bloomberg, building a shiny new HQ on the same site and announcing plans to return the temple to its original position and open it up to the public again.   Bloomberg have delivered on their promise and a fully reconstructed temple is now open to the public and London has another important piece to add to its Roman jigsaw.

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