BOOK REVIEW: Robert Adam’s London

Robert Adam’s London

Frances Sands

£25

Archaeopress

Printed ISBN 9781784914622.

Epublication ISBN 9781784914639. 

This book is a delight and has wide appeal for devotees of Robert Adam’s architecture and interiors and lovers of London. Written by Dr Frances Sands (Curator of Drawings and Books at Sir John Soane’s Museum) to mark the exhibition held earlier there at the turn of the year it is a very much stand-alone volume too.  The starting point is Richard Horwood’s map of London (1792-99) and through this each of Adam’s projects can be discovered. It takes us on a fascinating stroll through the areas of London, both north and south of the river, where Adam worked and reveals that some buildings and interiors survive albeit much altered but certainly more than I had expected while others totally lost. So whether in the comfort of an armchair or in hand while searching the streets where Adam worked it is very much a book to savour and enjoy.

http://www.archaeopress.com

The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition

Summer Exhibition 2017, The Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1, until 20th August 2017

 

I am grateful to John Kirkwood for visiting and writing about this exhibition:

 

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2017.
Photo (c) David Parry

This year’s Show is vibrant and exciting and varied across several media.  Of particular note is Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture VI in the Annenberg Courtyard which explores the notion of harnessing motion and freezing it in a moment of time.

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2017.
Photo (c) David Parry

Gilbert and George are showing a new large-scale work from their Beard Speak series and there are works by Phyllida Barlow, Anthony Gormley, Sean Scully, Bob and Roberta Smith and Wolfgang Tillmans – a very impressive line-up!

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2017.
Photo (c) David Parry

Farshoud Moussavi has curated the Architecture Gallery which celebrates architecture by focusing on construction coordination drawings which show the full complexity of a building.

Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2017.
Photo (c) David Parry

The Charles Woolaston Award has been won by Isaac Julien for his five-screen film WESTERN UNION: Small Boats which is apparently inspired by Visconti’s The Leopard. I have to say as that is one of my favourite films I couldn’t really see the connection apart from the two films being set in Sicily, however it is well worth a look.

 

As always, the show is a real treat for art lovers and the standard remains as high as ever.

 

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk

Anime Architecture

I am grateful to John Kirkwood for visiting and writing about this exhibition:

Anime Architecture: Backgrounds of Japan, Main Gallery at House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1, until 10th September 2017

Background illustration for Ghost in the Shell cut 341 by Hiromasa Ogura
©1995


Being totally unfamiliar with Anime, this exhibition came as a delightful surprise.  The technique involved in producing these films seems quite complicated but the results are well worth the trouble.
Perhaps the most well-known anime film is Ghost In The Shell, recently remade as a live action film with Scarlett Johansson who looks as much like a Japanese as I look like Scarlett Johansson – the beard of course doesn’t help!
Hiromasa Ogura’s watercolours for the anime Ghost In The Shell are on display and are based on photographs of Hong Kong and depict a slightly exaggerated contrast between a derelict Chinese town and the extreme development of the urban space.  They are quite haunting and intriguing and somewhat reminiscent of film noir of the forties and fifties.

Concept Design for Ghost in the Shell 2 Innocence by Takashi Watabe
© 2004 Shirow Masamune KODANSHA

Pencil drawings by Takashi Watabe whose fantastically realistic style has become a hallmark for Japanese anime films are also on display.
By the end of the exhibition I was very keen to see an anime film and in the last room of the exhibition my wish was granted as there are three short excerpts from two anime films.  I now look forward to watching more on DVD.

 

 

 

Open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm. Closed Mondays

 

houseofillustration.org.uk.

 

Treasure Houses: The homes of the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry

 

BOUGHTON

The House, its People and its Collections

By Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 5 3 
£17.95 / $21.80 / 81.41 TL 

 

 

 

BOWHILL

The House, its People and its Paintings

Introduced by Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Edited by John Montagu Douglas Scott

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 2 2
£12.95 / $15.73 / 58.73 TL
 

 

DRUMLANRIG

The Castle, its People and its Paintings

By Richard, Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry

Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg

Published by Caique Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 0 9565948 4 6
£10.95 / $13.30 / 49.66 TL
Paperback, 96 pages, Second Edition
 

These three guidebooks are much more than just that as they provide a fascinating introduction to the houses and collections of the incumbent Dukes.  You will encounter Rembrandt, Canaletto, Van Dyck and El Greco, as well as family portraits by Gainsborough, Reynolds and Ramsay, There are miniatures, French and English furniture, Sèvres made for Louis XV, items commemorating Sir Walter Scott and the Duke of Monmouth, silver and a huge variety of textiles and rugs. It is an extensive and engaging collection in three very different houses, two, Bowhill and Drumlanrig, are in Scotland and then Boughton in England which the late John Cornforth once described as ‘the English Versailles’.

These books are of serious appeal to anyone interested in the fine and decorative arts, architecture and historic interiors.

http://www.bowhillhouse.co.uk

http://www.boughtonhouse.co.uk

http://www.drumlanrigcastle.co.uk

http://www.caiquepublishing.com

 

Tall buildings not wanted in Westminster!!

A West End Labour survey has today found that residents overwhelmingly oppose plans to build more tall buildings in Westminster. More than 80% of respondents believe that Westminster Council is wrong to want to develop more skyscrapers and tall buildings. Residents cited the following concerns: Tall buildings and skyscrapers pose a threat to Westminster’s unique character. Tall buildings block out light; block out historic views and […]

via Revealed: 80% of West End residents oppose Westminster Council plans to build tall buildings — labourwestminster

London – Adam Style

Robert Adam’s London, Sir John Soane’s Museum: 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2, until 11th March 2017

Adam office, drawing made for publication showing the Admiralty Screen, Whitehall, 1759

Adam office, drawing made for publication showing the Admiralty Screen, Whitehall, 1759

It is hard to believe that this is the first time that the work of Robert Adam (proposed and realised) in London has been focused on in a London museum. Whitehall’s Admiralty screen, Portland Place, the Adelphi, Lansdowne House, Buckingham House (now Palace), Kenwood and monuments in Westminster Abbey are among the projects on show.  The Museum has the largest collection of Adam’s surviving drawings.

Adam office, finished drawing showing a funerary monument to Major John André , Westminster Abbey, c.1780-82

Adam office, finished drawing showing a funerary monument to Major John André , Westminster Abbey, c.1780-82

As one contemplates these designs one is reminded how Adam designed complete, detailed schemes for his projects whether exteriors or interiors. I could not but wonder what he would make of these modern-day buildings with their huge expanses of glass which so clearly reveal the detritus of office or domestic living to passers-by and thus lose their aesthetic appeal.

Adam office, finished drawing showing a longitudinal section through the interior of an unexecuted scheme for Lloyds Coffee House, probably on Freeman's Court, Cornhill, c.1772

Adam office, finished drawing showing a longitudinal section through the interior of an unexecuted scheme for Lloyds Coffee House, probably on Freeman’s Court, Cornhill, c.1772

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Last entry 4:30pm

Adam office, design for door furniture for 31 Hill Street, c.1777-79

Adam office, design for door furniture for 31 Hill Street, c.1777-79

 

Adam office, design for an unexecuted urban palace for the Earl of Findlater on Portland Place, c.1771-73

Adam office, design for an unexecuted urban palace for the Earl of Findlater on Portland Place, c.1771-73

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.soane.org