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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

London Monopoly (3): King's Cross Station

King's Cross Station 1893 by George Earl
Copyright: National Railway Museum
King's Cross Station is the London terminus of the East Coast Main Line, a major link between Southern England and the North and Scotland. When this picture was painted in 1893 it took seven-and-a-half hours to get to Edinburgh. Now the station is ultra-modern and super-efficient. However the age of steam was very romantic and many people are nostalgic for those times.
Where new meets old. The new concourse.
Inverness in Scotland is where the East Coast line terminates, over 500 miles from London by rail.
The area around King's Cross had a sleazy reputation for prostitution and drugs and the crime associated with those things. Thankfully that image has been eradicated and things have changed for the better but it's still at the poorer end of the Monopoly board!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Doors & Windows (1)

Original 1930's front door and windows. Redbridge, London.
This is the first in a new series featuring architecturally interesting doors and windows - something I have been intending to start for some time. This fascinating original stained glass porch is two minutes walk from where I live in the London Borough of Redbridge.
Detail of above
The house was built around 1935 and most of the other houses in the area were completed with matching but much less complex designs. Most of them have now converted to functional double-glazed units which are clean but sterile and dull by comparison. I hope there is a conservation order on this house because it is next to the entrance to a park and it's always satisfying to look at whenever I pass by. It is rumoured that this was the builder's own house, so he naturally wanted to own the most outstanding house in the road. I think he achieved that!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Painting of the Month (23) November 2011: Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud, Self Portrait 1985
The British artist Lucian Freud, who died in July this year at the age of 88, was a grandson of Sigmund Freud. He came to London in 1933 to escape from Nazi Germany. One of his portraits achieved the record price for a living artist in New York in 2008 of over $33 million.
He was renowned for his portrait painting and known for his impasto style. Impasto is the technique of applying paint to a surface in thick layers with a brush or palette knife so that the paint stands out from the surface.
Self Portrait 2002
He took many hours to complete a picture and usually required the model to be present in the studio all of the time - even if he was not actually working directly on their appearance. One of the reasons he took so long was that for each individual patch of colour he mixed the paint from scratch until he was satisfied.
The results were, I think, sensational. If you double-click on the picture you will get a better idea of how striking this portrait is and how honest his portrayal of himself is. He had a way of revealing some deeper psychological aspect of his subjects including himself.