Make destroys the National Theatre (4)

As readers of my blog will know, I was incredibly shocked and quite angry when I saw the scale of the new building development which has been approved on a site nearly next door to the Natiinal Theatre. It is simply vast, completely out of scale with its surroundings and will overpower the National Theatre and potentially Somerset House and the Houses of Parliament as well.

I have tried to find out and reflect on how this could have been allowed in the accompanying article in The Critic online:-


Partygate (1)

Great efforts have been made by Tory MPs in recent weeks to say that it should not matter if the Prime Minister is found by Scotland Yard to have been a liar about his attendance at parties during lockdown and that there are more important things in life, including the war in Ukraine.

Of course, there is some truth in this. But it is worth reminding ourselves that the Prime Minister made the rules he broke. He repeatedly denied that he had broken them, not least in the House of Commons. And he was himself on television night after night telling us what to do, what not to do, and how to behave, where it is now obvious – and proven – that he was behaving differently himself. Of course, nobody expects him to resign because he has demonstrated over and over throughout his life that he has absolutely no sense of shame. No doubt he will persevere in his shamelessness.

But it doesn’t look good.


North Wales

Readers of my blog will be familiar with the attached view. It is the moment of wonder when we look out of the window at the mountains of Snowdonia, still lightly dusted with snow:-


Make destroys the National Theatre (3)

I am relieved to discover that I am not alone in being shocked by the enormity and lumpen scale of the set of buildings proposed by Make on a site nearly adjacent to the National Theatre. It is their scale which is shocking – six tower blocks aggregated in such a way that it will completely overwhelm the more modest Denys Lasdun National Theatre. It now apparently depends on Sadiq Khan to approve it.

Of course, you could say that the battle to save any kind of human scale in the City has been lost. What seems to me important is the way that this construction will tower over not just the National Theatre next door, but also Somerset House opposite. And it will not be insignificant in relation to the Houses of Parliament and St. Paul’s.

I hope you will sign the petition.



We went to a very beautiful, very intense but also faintly melancholy performance of Winterreise last night – melancholy because it was commemorative of Ann Tusa, a historian of Germany, as was revealed by Ian Bostridge before the start of the performance, which was only interrupted by the loud rustling of pages turning as nearly everyone was intently following the translation. Bostridge was accompanied wonderfully by Angela Hewitt. I can’t think of a more moving way to be commemorated.


Philip Hewat-Jaboor

I am very upset to learn out of the blue of the death of Philip Hewat-Jaboor, who we got to know in the 1980s through the artist, Philip Core. He was a collector who was passionately knowledgeable about porphyry and chaired the Masterpiece Art Fair with intelligence and aplomb. He lived in Jersey. I realise that I actually don’t know much about him, except that there was something interesting about him: a sense of cosmopolitan interests and fastidious expertise, which is evident in his entry for The Aesthete in the Weekend FT ( He was a real aesthete.


Fashioning the Rose

I missed the opening of ‘Fashioning the Rose’; but was pleased to see its eclectic mix of recent fashion items inspired by roses.

A necklace made of brass, designed to wound its wearer, inspired by a short story by Oscar Wilde. The original nightingale has been eaten by termites, so has been replaced by a dead finch:-

Roses by Phoebe Cummings which decay because they are unglazed, which gives them an ephemeral beauty:-

And a hat by Christian Lacroix, a wonderful, theatrical designer, who used to design the pyjamas for Air France:-


Louise Bourgeois

We went to the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Hayward – The Woven Child. It was such a pleasure to see an older generation artist working so incredibly inventively in her eighties and nineties, right up to the time of her death in 2010, exploring her subconscious, using materials inventively in a way which is unusually free and un-self-important, as if she retained her originality of thought, self-exploratory, right up to the end.

I would have taken more photographs if I hadn’t left my charger at home:-