Sunday, 1 March 2015

A Year in Pictures – 27 and 28 February 2015 – St Michael and a Selfie

The Archangel Michael, leader of the armies of Heaven, disputing with Satan. This representation is on the tympanum above the north-west door of St Michael Cornhill in the City of London and is by John Birnie Philip. The high relief sculpture is part of the significant Gothic embellishments made to the church by George Gilbert Scott at the behest of the Drapers' Company in the 1850s. Mr Philip did a considerable amount of work for Scott, including the podium frieze on the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens.

As I am a bit behind in posting this, I am including two days' worth of images. This second one is a monochrome version of a photo of myself.

Friday, 27 February 2015

A Year in Pictures – 26 February 2015 – Façadism (1)

Façadism: the practice of preserving the fronts of old buildings while demolishing their interiors and constructing new ones.

Declaration of interest: I generally don't like this.

33 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0BT
Now a branch of TK Maxx

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Year in Pictures – 25 February 2015 – Another Monstrous Carbuncle (9)

The Walkie-Talkie was trying very hard to win me over this morning as I walked east along Lombard Street on my way to work. It is a building that responds well to light—hardly surprising considering that the most of its external surfaces are reflective glass.

Can buildings flirt?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Year in Pictures – 24 February 2015 – Marble Hill House

As you will recall (please keep up at the back), I broke a tooth yesterday. The molar had been giving me trouble for over a year, twinging jarringly if ever I was eating anything crunchy—a sure sign of a gnasher destined for eventual crowning. I managed to get a short-notice appointment with the dentist today. She drilled out the old filling and has packed the tooth with some high-text compound that goes off like concrete and will form a basis for the crown that will protect what is left of the tooth for the rest of my born days.

So two more appointments and some expenditure to face over the next few weeks, so I consoled myself on the way back home by another detour into Marble Hill Park. I took this photo from underneath the branches of the oak tree I showed you a few days ago (Friday, 20 February).

Marble Hill House, a Palladian gem that influenced architectural taste and was a model for other houses in succeeding years, was built between 1724 and 1729 by (to use the term loosely) Henrietta Howard, estranged wife of the boorish, violent and drunken ninth Earl of Suffolk and mistress of George II, who had wooed her with interminable accounts of military campaigns. Described as "a women of reason in the Age of Reason", she enjoyed the glittering conversation of, among others, Alexander Pope and Horace Walpole, both of whom also had houses west of Marble Hill in the then fashionable village of Twickenham. The house, now owned by English Heritage and open for visiting at weekends in the generally warmer months of the year, stands across The Thames from another architectural treasure, the 17th-century Ham House, which is the property of The National Trust. Heritage heaven!

Have not been inside Marble Hill House yet. Really should...

Monday, 23 February 2015

A Year in Pictures – 23 February 2015 – The Joy of Commuting (4)

Twickenham Station has been having a makeover to welcome the hordes who will be descending on the town for the Rugby World Cup later this year. The lead-up to this has been a long and not very happy story and at one stage a group of concerned local residents dug deep into their pockets to seek judicial review (unsuccessfully) of the Council's planning decisions.

In consequence of the delays arising from the court case the full scheme (involving blocks of flats being built on a massive concrete slab over the station platforms), cannot now be implemented before the great event, but even the modest improvements possible in the available time seem to be dragging on interminably. Here is the small section of new platform tarmac that was at my feet as my train pulled in this morning. Although freshly laid, the tarmac is, as you can see, already flecked with numerous wretched, depressing blobs of chewing gum. Considering the dismal frequency of this antisocial material, it is surprising that I have never managed to see someone in the act of depositing it on any platform or pavement anywhere.

And I broke a tooth this morning...

A Year in Pictures – 22 February 2015 – Dragon

The supporters of the coat of arms of The City of London are two Tudor dragons, and the particular example is to be seen at one of the entrances to Leadenhall Market.

I have not been able to find out precisely why dragons have such an association with the City, save that Henry Tudor sought to substantiate his claim to sovereignty over Wales by appropriating the dragon of Cadwalader to his own colours of green and white, which he bore to St Paul's Cathedral to be blessed after his defeat of Richard III at Bosworth Field. I may be wide of the mark here and it also depends who we mean by "Cadwalader", much of the history being impenetrably ancient and flecked through with legend.

Striking looking beast though, isn't it?

Saturday, 21 February 2015

A Year in Pictures – 21 February 2015 – St Luke the Evangelist

For some reason I have felt pretty whacked today and not in the least inclined to take photographs outdoors in the biting wind, so this is another image from the archive.

We are once again in the stupendous Elisabethkirche in Marburg, Germany, and here, from one of the facets of the carved stone pulpit, is St Luke with his symbolic creature, the winged ox (or maybe bull), representing strength, service and sacrifice.

I have always been drawn to Luke as he was, like my father, a physician. I first learned of him from the television drama Paul of Tarsus (1960). Patrick Troughton, who went on to play the second Doctor Who, played the title role, while Luke was played by Philip Latham, whose kind face and gentle manner appealed to my five-year-old self.