We celebrated the start of building work in Burlington Gardens last week with a performance tonight by the two person performance group, Carnet de Voyage. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It was a combination of classical music, piano and jazz, arranged and performed by Rosey Chan and Mimi Xu to a backdrop of short films by Mike Figgis, who also played the trumpet. The idea was to demonstrate that it is possible to devise new conventions in performance and the relationship between the arts and that anything is possible in the new building.
I happened to be walking past the old Fountain Restaurant underneath Fortnum and Masons this evening and discovered that it was the first night of its new incarnation as 45 Jermyn Street, ultra smart and posh traditional, by Martin Brudnizki, the Swedish designer who did Scotts on Mount Street, has totally transformed the fortunes of the Royal Academy’s Academician’s Room, and has now radically changed the old haunt of afternoon tea and knickerbocker glories:-
I have just been listening to Peter Hennessy talk about the loss of Lisa Jardine on the Today programme. I saw her for the last time on Friday. It was unspeakably sad to see someone who was always so wonderfully and life enhancingly funny and ebullient with the life nearly completely drained away. I sat with her and thought of all the many times I had seen her over the years: how furious she was with me when she was not made a Trustee of the National Gallery; how helpful she was when I was thinking of leaving the National Gallery; sitting in the garden at home and her talking about her father. Thinking also about her contributions to scholarship, her work on Francis Bacon, her biography of Wren and the Royal Society, on Anglo-Dutch cultural relations. She was a force of nature.
I walked past the Palm Tree, our nearly local pub, although I’ve never actually been into it, and admired the view through the window, some of the architectural detailing and the eponymous palm trees in the park next door. It’s the last house left standing in Mile End Park. Pubs seem to have had a preservation order when Rachel Whiteread’s House on Grove Road, just north of the railway track, did not:-
I could scarcely bring myself to record the appearance of Victoria Park today because it was so ostentatiously, flamboyantly and nearly nauseatingly autumnal, like some scene of the Fall in western Massachusetts which I’ve always thought was to be avoided. But in the end, amateur photographer that I am, I succumbed to a couple of shots:-
I walked down Stepney Green this morning, thinking (correctly) that it would look good in the morning autumn sun, including number 37, the local Manor House, originally built in 1690 for Dormer Shepherd, an East India Company sea captain, then owned by Mary Gayer, and by the Council after the war:-
I wish I had read Ian Nairn’s paean to Chichester Cathedral in his aborted contributions to Pevsner’s Sussex, 33 pages of vigorous eulogy, including what he describes as an Aesthetic Summary, not something one normally gets in Pevsner. He describes Bishop Luffa’s original design as ‘paying for its balance and reasonableness with a lack of intensity: good committee-man’s Romanesque’. We only had time to drift in just before evensong, admiring the exterior, much of which is a replica following the collapse of the crossing tower and its reconstruction in the 1860s:-
The Romanesque decoration of the porch at the west end of the south aisle:-