Saturday 9 August 2008

Grey days: Saturday 9th of August

It has been raining and grey all day in London and I’ve had a wonderful time. If you just accept the soggy flip flop shod feet and frizz to the hair there is really nothing so bad about a warm, grey, drizzly day in the best city of all the rainy day cities.

So I hopped on the 22 up to Piccadily and in a wildly extravagant and possibly slight crazy move I bought these:

From here

Then I went to see this which is compelling… the muted colours and grey skies in the windows were perfect for today. I rather fell in love with Hammershoi’s work. I agree with Michael Palin, who it appears stole a march on lots of us and has been a Hammershoi fan for many years, when he says he can’t understand why Hammershoi’s work isn’t better known or more admired.

His painting is very photographic, he captures light beautifully and his work is very quiet, as far from ostentatious or showy as it could possibly be. It’s true that his style reminded me of Whistler, who the catalogue tells us was one of Hammershio’s heroes.

The exhibition made me think again how gifted and artistic Scandinavian people have always been and how much more we have in common with them than the neighbours we look to on our Southern and Western shores.

I ended my day visiting two bookshops, both lovely treasures but in different ways.
First a hop and a skip over the road to Hatchard’s where I bought this:

Then on to Holborn to Lamb’s Conduit Street and Persephone Books.

I bought this but wanted virtually everything. Lamb’s Conduit Street is one of those hidden wonder streets, it’s pedestrianised which is always agreeable (I am not an anti car fascist, I love cars but find concentrating on the road and not walking into it when I see something arresting in a window tricky!) it also has some nice individual shops that are fun to potter in.

It is very easy to get lost in this part of London, or at least it is for me. Still I don’t seem to learn so having bought a book I wandered off with purpose and apparently not much sense of direction and got fairly lost, but not in alarming way- I always vaguely knew where I was… just not exactly where I was. Still I found my way and sometimes the best way isn't the quickest way. As Jack Johnson says getting lost is not a waste of time. I eventually hopped back on a bus and home to a warm bath looking forward to reading my new book.

Rupert Sanderson grey court shoe picture courtesy of Rupert Sanderson's website, as above

Hammershoi picture courtesy of the Royal Acadmey website, as above

Special edition Virago 84 Charing Cross Road picture courtesy of:

Persephone books picture courtesy of their website, as above.


charlotte said...

i love that part of london too - so many small shops and interesting corners. if i ever move, living there will be a definite consideration.

Rose said...

yes it would be a great place to live- it feels like it has lots of layers to unwrap and a it has a peaceful atmosphere.

I love your pictures of where you live now- particularly of the river.