Monday, August 27, 2007

Working for the weekend


We visited 12-14 Lincoln's Inn Fields, the home of the great architect and professor and now Sir John Soane's Museum. This free museum is one of London's hidden gems; in a higgledy piggedly mix of rooms lies a lifetime's worth of collections including casts of various classical architectural features, the sarcophagus of Seti I, and an ingenious painting room whose louvered panels can be opened to show more and more paintings and finally a suprising inner veiw over Soane's creation, the Mad Monk's Cell. The painting collection's most famous work is Hogarth's The Rakes Progress, but it's best might be the same's The Election, one of whose panels is shown here.

We took the limited numbers private tour offered Saturday's from 10:30 am for a scant 5 pounds.

Next it was on to meet up and have lunch with Historian Paul Seaver, who served on my dissertation committee at Stanford, at The Admiralty Restaurant in Somerset House. Somerset House was one of the noble palaces which sprung up alongside the Thames between The Cities of London and Westminster. For much of it's life it was the offices of the Inland Revenue, the UK's IRS. Now it is a multi-use public structure., housing amongst other things the Courtauld Institute of Art's world-famous Gallery and the Gilbert Collection of silver stuff. The cnetral courtyard long an overpriced parking lot is now a fun place to play in a fountain and on summer evening watch an outdoor movies.

Saturday evening we headed to Regent's Park and attempted to rush tickets to the Open Air Theatre's performance of Macbeth without any success. The flowers were in full bloom in Regent's Park.

Instead after an ice cream cone, we took a lesiurely stroll home along Euston and Tottenham Court Roads.


The Annual William Blake Memorial Walk

Ed Glinert, a former Private Eye reporter and author of Literary London, annually leads a walk of William Blake's London haunts in Soho and around Oxford Street. including the site of his birthplace and first printing workshop.

This afternoon we tubed it to Hampstead to pick up tickets for a show next Sunday at the New End Theatre. The proceeded down Willow Road past #2, Ernö Goldfinger's modernist house. His neighbor Ian Fleming didn't like the Hungarian-born architect and his modernist concrete piles; what follows should be obvious! Walked onto Hampstead Heath and up Parliament Hill to one of London's 4 great overlooks hills (see also Harrow-on-the-Hill, Primrose Hill, and the Muswell Hill upon which Alexandra Palace sits to the east of Highgate). Kites were being flown and the City of London was laid out in a panorama below you.

We headed back into central London and stopped by the Official London Half-Price Theatre Ticket Booth (now TKTS) in Leicester Square. Sunday's not the best theater night nd there was nothing decent on the board. Instead we went to one of the smaller mezzanine cinemas at the Odeon and saw a French version of Harlen Coben's best seller Tell No One.

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