"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Saturday, 2 February 2008

London Break

I arrived back home in Linconshire today after 3 days in icy but wonderful London, staying with my very good friends Dorothy and Jill. No leaves to show but I have to mention 3 excellent exhibitions.

The first one was the British Library's "Breaking the Rules - The Printed Face of the European Avant Garde 1900-1937" which continues until March. It is a trip into the early part of last century where Europe was in creative ferment..well some of it anyway! Read a very good review here from Time Out. What a wonderful resource the British Library is. I wish I could go and spend a week there.

The second exhibition we saw was the controversial show "From Russia: French and Russian Master Paintings" at the Royal Academy . There must have been much nail biting by the organisers as, at the last minute Russia threatened to stop the exhibition "after British media reported that a number of paintings could fail to return to Russia over fears their pre-Revolution owners would make legal claims for their return."
This painting "the Bath of the Horse" by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin 1912 was particularly striking. It's well worth battling the crowds to see, and understand, the vision of some of the great Russian art collectors.

Finally on a bitter day that forecast snow we returned to St Pancras but this time just along the road to the Wellcome Foundation. We were lucky enough to arrive at the time of the guided tour of the building. It's fascinating. There are art exhibits and medical exhibits and a hypochondriac's dream library of medicine.
One interesting little fact is that Wellcome was the first to develop the tablet as a reliable measured dose of medicine. Originally called a tabloid, its name was to be taken up by the "tabloid" (compressed) press.

Currently they have an exhibition on "Sleep and Dreaming". One of the many things that I am unable to do well. Still suffering from jet lag I hoped to get some advice. I loved these sculptures by Laura Ford.
There is a good review of the exhibition appropriately from the Fortean Times (the World of Strange Phenomena!) here

The new St Pancras seems overly cluttered with shops spoiling the view of the spectacular roof. It does have a charming statue of John Betjeman and a really hideous statue of an embracing couple. I can't bring myself to put such an awful thing on the blog.
However the beautiful facade will soon be back to its original glory with its Nottingham red brick and Ancaster stone dressings. It makes me feel happy to know that Ancaster, just 5 miles from my home in Linconshire, has a part in this stunning building.
The Guardian has a funny article about its opening here

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