Soundscapes

I was keen to see the National Gallery’s Soundscapes, which has been curated by Minna Moore Ede, who organised the exhibition Metamorphosis in which three contemporary artists responded to Titian.   This time she has got six contemporary composers and sound artists to respond the paintings in the National Gallery’s collection.   The point is to get visitors to slow down, to listen as well as to look, and respond to art through all their senses.   First is Gallen-Kallela’s Lake Keitele interpreted by Chris Watson, a sound engineer who recorded bird song not in Norway where there is too much sound pollution, but instead in Northumbria:-

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Albert Bridge

I walked back over Albert Bridge, an amazing piece of Victorian engineering, connecting the residential parts of Battersea to Chelsea.   It was originally designed by Rowland Mason Ordish in 1873 and was then reinforced a decade later by Joseph Bazalgette.   Soldiers must break step as they cross it:-

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The DoodleBar

I was asked to lunch in the DoodleBar in Battersea, a part of town I scarcely know:  the old Ransome’s Dock with Norman Foster’s office on the river behind:-

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Luxborough Tower

I have been reading Nicholas Taylor’s The Village in the City, a classic of early 1970s invective against the inhumanity of tower blocks, which made me interested to see how well Luxborough Tower survives behind the University of Westminster, now semi-privatised, but designed in 1965 on the site of a Victorian workhouse in the high noon of tower blocks:-

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Brook Street

I found myself in the west end today which I normally try to avoid at the weekend.   It gave me time to examine the detailing on some of the houses in Brook Street at the Hanover Square end.   This is Nos. 14-16 with what Pevsner describes as ‘undercooked-looking’ terracotta:-

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This is Nos.2-4, Jacobethan by C.O. Parnell:-

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Breakfast at the Ritz

It’s a long while since I’ve had breakfast at the Ritz where we used to conduct a lot of business when I was at the NPG.   We were choosing the winners of this year’s Mayfair Awards.   I’m not the best person to choose a jeweller and am sadly unable to distinguish the qualities of the Savile Row tailors, but enjoyed the opportunity to find out about new pop-up coffee shops.   Underlying a lot of the discussion was the distinction between new Mayfair – the many new shops which have opened in the last year – and the old Mayfair of grand hotels, auction houses and gun shops.   Sad to hear that Dover Street Market may be moving out:-

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St. Paul’s Cathedral

I was told last night that much the best view of St. Paul’s Cathedral was from the roof of One New Change, the large and not very prepossessing shopping mall which dominates its chancel end.   It’s true that, rather amazingly, long before the shops open, it is possible to take the lift up on to the roof and there survey not just the great dome of St. Paul’s, but the whole of London and its changing roofscape beyond:-

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