Saturday, 21 December 2013

Capturing the Square Mile's Many Faces by Niki Gorick - presentation by Miss B

Niki Gorick artist in resident at the Guildhall Library has just completed the new hang this week.
On Wednesday 15th January 2014 at 2pm Miss B has been invited to discuss the photographs from a personal viewpoint, drawing on her rich knowledge of the Square Mile's history and pastimes.

The event is free but booking is essential via the library link above.

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Queenhithe Volunteer Walk - Photographs by Bruno Rondinelli

The Ward of Queenhithe - City of London

The start at site of Boss Lane and an ancient private pier
Now under a concrete pile cap at steps to St Peter's Hill

Once Paul's Wharf close to a small parish church often referred to as St Peter Parva (the little)

Best foot forward

View to towards Tate Modern from the North Bank

Stew Lane once a public stair to catch the ferries to Southwark

The bollards of the City of London exit from Stew Lane

On the pedestrian bridge over Upper Thames Street explaining
 the shoreline of the River Thames in days gone by

Wear them with pride

An unusual quiet moment on Upper Thames Street on our
way to Huggin Hill

Cleary Gardens - a three tiered timeline.
Going backwards World War II/Victorian level
Medieval Vintners storage and vineyard
Roman Baths beneath Senate House

Up against it - outside the Livery Hall of the Paynters and Stayners

Vivien Malloch's bronze - Barge Master & Swan

St James Garlickhythe - where garlic was unloaded in C14th

Connection to the Vinters Company

Gathering cygnets for Swan Upping!

Richard Whittington Lord Mayor of London lived nearby

St Michael Paternoster Royal - base for the Seaman's Mission
and burial place of Richard Whittington (sans cat)

Outside Innholders Hall
This walk is part of the South Bank Mosaic project to create the Queenhithe Timeline along the defence wall at the dock of the same name. Completion date to be announced in 2014.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Ceremony of the Boar's Head

The Boar's Head emerges from the Livery Hall
Accompanied by the Royal Logistics Corp (Defense Services School)

On the 4th December the Worshipful Company of Butchers delivered to the new Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf, a boar’s head. An ancient ritual of thanks.

The butchers are recorded in the annals of history as early as 975AD, by 1540 they were granted a Coat of Arms.

The Master of the Company, Ian Kelly told us that the hall currently situated in Smithfield is their eighth, not through carelessness he hastens to add but because of cataclysmic events.  The original Hall in Smithfield was destroyed in the Great Fire in 1666, the Company moved to Pudding Lane where they remained from 1668 to 1884. That hall land was acquired by an Act of Parliament and they returned to Smithfield. Both World Wars saw extensive damage to the premises and the current building dates from 1960s, however, it houses many treasures and artefacts within from days gone by. 

The Arms of The Company were granted in 1540, the motto being - 'Omnia Subjecisti Sub Pedibus, Oves et Boves'- Thou hast put all things under his feet, all Sheep and Oxen. The Charter of Incorporation was granted by James I in 1605.

English: Photo taken on 23rd of August 2007
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The boar’s head was originally a gift to a past Lord Mayor who granted the butchers’ land near the Fleet River for butchering their cattle; as with many ceremonial elements of the City, this ‘gift’ continues today. Due to the ever present Health & Safety Regs the ‘real’ boar’s head is taken to the Mansion House earlier in the day and the paper machè version paraded through the streets.

The Beadle, Neil Hunt

The Master and his Court come out in all their finery, led by the Beadle and followed by family, friends and hangers on, including a jolly contingent of City of London Guides qualified and in training. It was lovely to parade down Cheapside with a police escort, by cycle, motorbike and horses to the rear, with the British Imperial Military Band to the fore playing a lively march.

The Master is the gentleman in the fine chain

We parade down Cheapside

Crossing Poultry to Mansion House

The arrival at the Mansion House was greeted by a lovely smile from the Lord Mayor, who said ‘I heard you coming!’  Lots of photographs and then the party moved into the Mansion House; one lady asked me to go first, thinking I was invited, for a moment the idea to gate-crash something I would dearly love to experience crossed my mind, however, I declined and had a group photo with my fellow Guides instead.
Lord Mayor is pleased to see us!

Introductions all round

Posing for the cameras

More information about the Butchers' Company connections with Monarchy, Fishmongers & Poulterers as well as their charitable works can be found on their web site. 

British Imperial Military Band
made up of ex-servicemen bandsmen

The happy group of Guides!

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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Dora Gordine & Dorich House

Dora Gordine – Sculptor, Artist, Designer (1895-1991)

Dora Gordine & Richard Hare at Dorich House
(c) Kingston University Dorich House Trust

There are some great perks when you volunteer and even though I not yet a fully- fledged guide at 2 Willow Road (home of Erno Goldfinger) the National Trust guides and I went to visit a wonderful hidden house bordering Richmond Park.

First floor Sculpture Studio - with a lift to the ground floor plaster room
Dorich House was the home of Dora Gordine and her husband Richard Hare. It was designed by Dora, an unusual feat for an artist in the 1930s, let alone a woman, but that will tell you much about what kind of person she was.

At the time considered an ‘exotic’ and mysterious character, playing up her ‘Russianness’ she was thought beyond Bohemian! Dora had been born in Latvia when it was still part of the Russian Empire, and ended up in Estonia. This talented and ambitious young woman arriving in Paris in the 1920s from Estonia, was very determined indeed.

Original 'combination' storage units designed by Dora Gordine - c late 1920s.
The curved cupboard is made to hold 78 rpm gramophone records

A tireless ‘networker’, long before the term was even invented, Dora Gordine managed to impress many, and in all professions, including such luminaries as Auguste Perret, Laurens van der Post, Noel Coward, Somerset Maugham. Also excellent at self-promotion without actually seeming to do so; her strong personality, looks and talent ensured she got her way.

Whilst in Paris she did not spend her time at the cafes and bars, Dora was there to work! Apparently “she found the louche and frenetic social life of Montparnasse artists an unacceptably frivolous distraction.” Interestingly Erno Goldfinger, architect to be, was also studying in Paris at the same time, if they had met, it is unlikely they would have got on.

Dining Room in their apartment at the top of the house

Sitting Room with view over Richmond Park

She began as an artist and changed to sculptor and was noted by the mid 1930s ‘as possibly becoming the finest woman sculptor in the world’. Becoming a major presence in British sculpture, renowned for powerful and beautiful portrait heads, Dora Gordine and her husband resided at Dorich House for many years, it was Richard Hare’s sudden death in 1966 that put an end to her creative will.

Display Room across from the Sculpture Studio on the first floor

I share with you some of my own photographs taken during our visit. Below is a virtual tour of the property and a link to an Estonian art page, which gives more detail of this woman’s fascinating career. Do visit the house if you can. The next open day is on 6th December 2013. Check website for details or telephone. Also best to book a place on the 11.30am or 2.30pm tour.

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