London's Christmas lights

London’s Christmas Lights

I love London at any time but at Christmas the lights make it magical and cheer up the long winter evenings.  Here’s a trip around some of them for you to enjoy with me.   We have a wonderful mix of old favourites where areas have gone with the same lovely lights as in previous years and those who have gone for a new look.

Covent Garden have given us their festive mistletoe look again and the piazza has plenty of trees on show.

London's Christmas lights

London's Christmas lights

Also returning to a popular look is Regent Street with their magnificent angles filling the entire street.

Christmas lights in London Regent Street

Brand new for this year is the very moving display in Grosvenor Square.  The Ever After Garden is building each day  to an extraordinary total of 27,000 illuminated white flowers, each one a £10 donation to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.  I have a flower in there joining the love for lost ones and those currently working hard to survive cancer.  Every  flower comes with a label which adds to the poignancy.

London's Christmas lights

Selfridges used to have more impressive displays but this year was hard to fathom except for this delightful boat/moon montage.

London's Christmas lights

Oxford Street has moved on from it’s long standing display of silver balls to banners of changing light displays including their own name in case you were lost!

London's Christmas lights Oxford St

John Lewis Oxford Street have majored on their new hero, Eager Edgar.

Christmas lights in London John Lewis

St Pancras is a magnificent setting for an enormous tree and this year they are emphasising our links with France as the Eurostar station with an Eiffel Tower taking pride of place.

London's Christmas lights St Pancras

There are plenty more London Christmas Lights to come so watch this space for part 2!

George IV at Queens Gallery

George IV at the Queen’s Gallery

Scandals with the royals are nothing new and the George IV exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery gives us a peek into his life showing us his good points and what made him popular and a figure of fun.   He was famous and unpopular because of his extravagant lifestyle , his womanising and drinking but his collecting habit has left us with an extraordinary legacy, some of which is on display in this exhibition.  He was one of the great collectors of paintings and decorative  arts of his age but also the subject of much satirical ridicule for his lifestyle and for being out of touch with his people.  His reign was relatively short (1820-1830) but before this he was Prince Regent as his father George III was deemed unfit due to his mental health so George the younger effectively ruled from 1811.  This exhibition features of over 300 works from the Royal Collection gives us new and rich insights into the life of George IV.

George was a big spender but he was able to pick up a good deal of art, furniture and ceramics after the upheavals on the Continent following the French Revolution flooded the market with work which had belonged to the French aristocrats.  The furniture is grand, elaborate and somewhat over the top!

George IV at Queens Gallery George IV at Queens Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rainbow Portrait

Elizabeth 1’s lost dress at Hampton Court Palace

There’s rare and there is the only surviving item!   Elizabeth 1 is such a famous part of our history that I assumed we had many examples of her gowns tucked away in the royal collections. But it seems that is not the case and her finery has been lost in the centuries since her death in 1603, until something happened!  The Bacton Altar cloth, which has just gone on display in Hampton Court Palace, may just be the missing piece of history.

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The Moon exhibition at NMM Greenwich

Go to the Moon in Greenwich, London

There’s moon stuff everywhere as we mark 50 years since humans first stepped on its surface. I’ve watched the documentaries and read the articles so it was time to head on one of the top exhibitions in London celebrating this moment.   The National Maritime Museum’s The Moon caught my eye for its claim to be ‘the UK’s biggest exhibition dedicated to our celestial neighbour’!

The Moon gives us a chance to understand how the moon has been viewed, studied, mapped, been an inspiration for art and religion and finally a destination. The exhibition runs broadly chronologically and thematically and following that format here are some of my highlights.

Some fascinating old books show us how scientists over the centuries have puzzled at how the heavens worked and what this might mean for us on earth.  This tome uses paper disks so that if the reader follows the instructions on the left to move the disks on the right hand page, they can calculate the movement of the planets, the moon and the sun and even predict the next eclipse! Not bad for 1540…

The Moon exhibition at NMM Greenwich

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Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman at the National Portrait Gallery

Cindy Sherman’s major show at the National Portrait Gallery looks back at her long career at the peak of world photography .  She is most well known for taking pictures of herself but this is not a world of selfies as she creates a wide range of personas using herself as the model, many of which are unrecognisable as the same person.  This show covers her 40 year career with examples from each of her major series of work.

The exhibition takes us from her earliest work, featuring her degree show pictures through each stage of her developing different personas.  We go through film sets,  history portraits, magazine covers, pornography, fashion  to society women.   The range is staggering and often it’s a challenge to see Cindy in them,  so brilliantly has she taken on the persona she is seeking, creating the illusion of a changed identity.

I was lucky enough to have a tour of the exhibition by the curator, Paul Moorhouse, and this gave me a deeper insight to Cindy and her work.  One thing Paul  told us that really stayed with me was that Cindy does not let anyone in on her creative process.  She works entirely alone in her study as she creates these characters, not even letting an assistant into the study.   Back in her early days she had done some work on location but this had proved difficult as it required help from others and getting dressed and ready in public so from then on all her work was made in the studio.

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What’s on in London Summer 2019

Here’s the newsletter which goes out to my subscribers giving them loads of information about what’s on in London. Summer 2019 is going to be a fun time judging by all the amazing events and shows on.  Enjoy…

It's Your London logo

Here’s your Summer 2019 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 4250 followers for the latest news and I’m on Instagram as @sueinlondon for some lovely photos.

Hope you enjoy your newsletter and are excited about what’s on in London  let me know what you think!

Sue

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Serpentine Pavilion 2019

The Serpentine Pavilion 2019

The annual opening of the Serpentine Pavilion is a real sign that we are properly into the London summer, even if the weather is not always as warm as we’d like.

Each year a new architect is chosen to bring their vision of a temporary pavilion to the site next to the original Serpentine Gallery. This competition has been going since  2000 when the first winner was Zaha Hadid and it has grown into a showcase for emerging talent from around the world.

This year’s Serpentine Pavilion is designed by Junya Ishigami, a Japanese architect who is known for his experimental structures which reflect natural phenomena.   The result is a wonderful wing shape roof of Cumbrian slate which produces an open covered space.  The brilliance of the design and the construction gives us a structure which seems light and fluid in its shape.  The 61 tons of slate that make up the single canopy roof give it a strong organic feel but the way it is supported and shaped make it appear light and somehow growing out of the surrounding grass.

Serpentine Pavilion 2019

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Victoria at Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace, Queen Victoria’s childhood home

Kensington Palace has spruced up the rooms where Princess Victoria grew up to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth.  Alongside these permanent rooms is a temporary exhibition Victoria: Woman and Crown which examines her role as matriarch and monarch.   Victoria spent her formative years at Kensington Palace and became Queen here before moving the short distance to Buckingham Palace, the first sovereign to live there.

Victoria at Kensington Palace

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Leonardo da Vinci drawings

Da Vinci’s drawings grace the Queen’s Gallery

The Queen owns priceless art treasures and thanks to her ancestors’ collecting habits the Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world.

The Royal Collection contains the greatest collection of da VInci drawings, a group of 550 drawings that have remained together since his death in 1519 and rarely shown so they are in excellent condition.  At his death in 1519, Da VInci left all his drawings to his pupil Francesco Melzi who kept them faithfully until his own death when the sculptor Pompeo Leoni acquired them and mounted them in at least 2 albums. By 1630 one of the albums had reached England into the collection of the Earl of Arundel until around 1670 when Charles ll acquired it, perhaps as a gift from the Earl but ‘acquired’ is a little vague in the royal context! King Charles II was keen buyer and acquirer of art and his interest in these drawings was a master stroke.  In the 1900s they were removed from the album but luckily it was kept and preserved and here it is, on proud display.  Its contents remain an unbroken group as they were in 1519.

Leonardo da Vinci drawings

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