Fournier Street

I know I’ve done blogs on Fournier Street before, but I still can’t resist photographing its beautiful, still surviving door surrounds and remembering that this part of Spitalfields, now as lush and prosperous as a New England village, wasn’t necessarily going to survive forty years ago:-

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Christ Church, Spitalfields

I spent part of Christmas reading Owen Hopkins’s admirable short monograph From the Shadows:  The Architecture and Afterlife of Nicholas Hawksmoor, which made me look afresh at Christ Church, Spitalfields in the light of his very clear account of the way that Hawksmoor was influenced by the interest of his eccelesiastical contemporaries in the churches of the Primitive Christians, which may have given Hawksmoor some of his characteristics of bold, unornamented, structural clarity:-

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Elder Street

In order to understand the nature of the argument surrounding the development of Norton Folgate, it is important to see it in the context of Elder Street, one of the best of the surviving Spitalfields streets, where Mark Gertler lived and later Raphael Samuel and now Dan Cruickshank.   The city looms nearby.   But there is still a domestic presence resisting the incursion:-

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Norton Folgate

I have managed to miss out on the arguments surrounding the redevelopment of Norton Folgate, an area of semi-derelict warehouses on the edge of Spitalfields.   So, on a sunny post-Christmas morning, I decided to investigate.   Blossom Street is an unexpected cobbled street leading up north from Dennis Severs’s house in Folgate Street and is lined on its eastern side by a series of still surviving, well preserved, but currently unused industrial warehouses.   The City and Bishopsgate are within spitting distance.   It’s easy to see the development potential:  another big office block.   But equally easy to see why the development has been resisted and alternative plans put forward for the renovation of the warehouses.

These are the warehouses:-

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Christmas Film

Since it has already been referred to in one of the Comments, I am posting the RA’s Christmas video, partly because of its high production values and partly because of the surrealism of my nearly non-speaking role.   My opticians, E.B. Meyrowitz of Royal Arcade, complained that I am never seen wearing spectacles, but on this occasion they play a starting role:-
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Happy Christmas

I am writing to wish all the readers of my blog a Happy Christmas, to thank you for your loyalty to it through the course of the year, for the nice comments made the day before yesterday when you may have thought I was switching off, and my one lone reader in Japan who unfailingly logs in.   I am posting a view out of the window last weekend (the windows need cleaning) with my best wishes:-

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RA Library

Not my last blog of the year, but the last from the RA where I have had the rare pleasure of working in the library, using the wonderful resource of the early manuscript Minutes of Council and General Assembly, some of the surviving manuscripts, including Fuseli’s draft notes of his lecture about Leonardo’s Last Supper, and a host of early printed books, which are available as they were, more or less in the same form, to the early students:-

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