This past summer, after the Jubilee, the Queen was everywhere in London. Even street artists paid homage. London, July 2022.
Where does one start in London? Big ben? Westminster? 1649? When Cromwell declared England a Commonwealth and Free state? Later annexing Ireland and Scotland with a single Parliament in Westminster?
The Underground’s a good start. So deep, so deep, that it saved the lives of many a Londoner during the Battle of England.
Let’s go to the “British” (Museum). Pay our respects to the Goddess Hathor. 18th Dynasty, c 1400 BC. 3400 years ago. The antiquities section of “The British” is second only to the Louvre… Second? Er. All right, lest I be accused of Frog bias, at par. (I imagine the museum in Cairo must be all right too. 😉)
The National Gallery. I’ve always loved this Portrait of a Lady by Roger Van der Weyden, c.1460 AD. By coincidence, it was painted at a date the almost mirror image of Hathor (1400 BC). This was a Lady at the court of Burgundy. No make-up then. Just jewels. See the rings on her fingers…
Hop back to Assyria, 728 BC. This is the head of a winged bull at “The British”. At that time, the Hammurabi code of laws was already a thousand years old (c.1750 BC). It was the first code of laws. At least the first that reached us. Imagine: almost 4,000 years since the first written laws. Trying to put a bit of order in the human race… (Still a work in progress I dare say.)
Let’s follow Mr and Mrs Hallett in their “morning walk”, in 1785. AD of course. Gainsborough was one of the most precise English painters. A master of that time. (National Gallery).
Agatha Christie’s “Tuppence” heroin must have filled her tank with petrol here in the “Roaring twenties”. A century ago already. Christie’s first book was published around 1922.
Would you like to ride to Saint-Paul’s in 1800? The bridge was – already – a tad jammed, methinks.
Or you would you rather cross another bridge in 2022?
I wouldn’t mind a chat with Périclès. (British Museum). 495-429 BC. I always had trouble with BC dates. Run backward don’t they? This Gentleman led Athens to victory in the many wars of that time. (What else is new?). He was a major figure of Greek history.
We could have a quick sandwich with Traveller #Umpteen. Or the gentleman with a white beard. (Hi Derrick) 😉
We might visit the house where John Lennon lived in 1968. See the blue plaque? Marylebone I think. 1968? He might have written Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da there. Or Revolution Nº9?
Let’s avoid the traffic in the early 1900’s. (Transportation Museum. Very well put.) I like the gentleman in a top-hat and a tail-coat bravely crossing the street.
We might spend a night in the Underground, in 1940-41 during the Blitz. (Transportation Museum) Remember this Spring, how Ukrainians slept in their own Underground? And the bastard keeps bombing Ukraine now. 🇺🇦
How about watching a Shakespeare play in the rebuilt Globe? The original theatre where Shakespeare put his plays on the stage, was burnt to the ground in the 1600’s. It was rebuilt at the turn of this century. (They did take their bl..dy time didn’t they?)
“When brewers mar their malt with water…
“When slanders do not live in tongues…
“When usurers tell their gold i’ t’ field,
“And bawds and whores do churches build,
“Then shall the realm of Albion
“Come to great confusion…”
(King Lear, act III, sc.2)
Let’s keep on the same side of the River, shall we? Towards Tate Modern, and catch a Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) painting. A great lady of Surrealism, she was born in Lancashire. (“Four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire…”) Living in France since the 30’s, she fled the war to become one of the most important Mexican artists of the XXth century.
Now, look carefully at this 1937-1938 self portrait above. This is how we see it today. I suspect the colours have dulled out. The same image gone through automatic colour balance in Photoshop comes out like this:
Self-Portrait, Leonora Carrington, c.1937. Tate modern. (True colours? Dunno)
Leonora Carrington. c. 1940? (Source: Kikipedia)
“Hacia la torre.” Towards the tower, by Remedios Varo, c.1961. Varo was a Mexican Surrealist painter (1908-1963). Well acquainted with Carrington. I love their work. Both of them. (Tate Modern)
The shrimp girl, c. 1740, by Hogarth. Of all the marvelous art at the National Gallery, this portrait always touches me most. Imagine this young girl of twenty, maybe. Nearly three centuries ago, making a living on the streets of London, selling shrimps. Fished in the Thames? Carrying her wares on her head. Charming patrons with a youthful smile. Definitely my favourite…
Thank you for riding Equinoxio-Rail. The only railway across the Channel with no queue before boarding. All aboooooooooooard!