Posts Tagged ‘art nouveau’

FotoArtFestival Diary 2007 – Poland

Sunday, October 22nd, 2023

FotoArtFestival Diary 2007 – Poland: In 2007 I was invited to speak at the second FotoArtFestival in Bielsko-Biala, Poland and made a fairly lengthy illustrated diary of my visit. I’d been there two years earlier at the first festival there in 2005 and had enjoyed the event greatly, although it was not without a few problems, but it had been a great success.

FotoArtFestival Diary 2007

I’ve been reminded of this in recent days by several things. Firstly by seeing pictures from this years FotoArtFestival on Facebook, the 10th of these remarkable events still being organised by the wonderful Inez Baturo from 13-29th October 2023.

FotoArtFestival Diary 2007

Also on Facebook recently I’ve been seeing again and admiring many of the pictures by Misha Gordin, (1946-2020) who arrived in Krakov on the same flight with me. His conceptual images constructed in the darkroom are powerful and quite remarkable. I still can’t quite imagine how he produced some of them, though my diary says what he told me about his methods. You can read more about his pictures in a 2007 article by A D Coleman on his Photocritic International site, Misha Gordin: Reflex of Freedom.

FotoArtFestival Diary 2007

And on a quite different Facebook group, someone recently posted an image from Bielsko-Biala that jumped off the screen. It wasn’t one that I had taken, but of one of the most famous doorways in the city that I had also photographed. I posted as a comment a picture the had taken in 2005 – the top one on this post.

FotoArtFestival Diary 2007

I hadn’t gone there on either of my two visits to take photographs and in terms of photo gear on both occasions had travelled light, with just a pocketable digital camera, intending simply to create a diary of the event. In 2005 that was a 3.9MP Canon DIGITAL IXUS 400, but by 2007 I had upgraded to a 6.1MP Fuji FinePix F31fd. As you can see from the pictures in both my 2005 and 2007 diaries, both were pretty capable little cameras.

Bielsko-Biala is a city in southern Poland around 240 miles from Vienna which became an important centre for the textile industry in the 19th century when it was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and became home to many wealthy industrialists. Many had homes built in styles then popular in Vienna, particularly Art Nouveau and there are some fine examples in what is often called “Little Vienna”.

I rose early and walked around the centre of the city before the festival venues and events began taking pictures as well as walking with the others between events. My diary also has some brief reviews of some of the shows in the festival by Michal Macku (Czech Rep), Karol Kallay (Slovakia), Stasys Eidrigevicius (Lithuania/Poland), Aleksandras Macijauskas (Lithuania), Michael Kenna (UK), Walter Rosenblum (USA), Jose Luis Raota and Pedro Luis Raoto (Argentina), Franco Fontana (Italy), Judit M Horvath and Gyorgy Stalter (HUngary), Joan Fontcuberta (Spain), Misha Gordin (Latvia/USA), Lukas Maximilian Huller (Austria), Sarah Moon (France), Alex ten Napel (Holland), Mitra Tabrizian (Iran/UK) and Dalang Shao, Du Shao and Jiaye Shao(China) as well as accounts and pictures of some of the festival events. Most of those who were able to attend are in my pictures in my diary.

You can read all 16 pages of my FotoArtFestival Diary 2007 online – with many more pictures. I’ve made no real changes other than correcting the date at the top of each page. Probably many of the links in it will no longer work and those who reach the end will find will find that I still haven’t managed to put my talk from 2007 online. Copyright problems are probably insurmountable.

On the Road to Brixton

Monday, June 19th, 2023

On the Road to Brixton is the second post on my walk in Kennington and Brixton on Sunday 6th May 1889. The posts began with Hanover, Belgrave, Chapel, Shops, Taxis.

Christ Church, Brixton Rd,  Kennington, Lambeth, 1989 89-5c-31
Christ Church, Brixton Rd, Kennington, Lambeth, 1989 89-5c-31

This remarkable Grade II* listed building in a composite of Art Nouveau and Byzantine Revival style was designed by Arthur Beresford Pite who was the brother-in-law of the then vicar, Rev William Mowll, whose name is on the adjoining street. It was completed in 1907, though the design dates from the 1890s and the foundation stone was laid in 1898 and the building consecrated in 1902.

It remains in use as an Anglican Church. Some describe it as an architectural monstrosity, but although I think it has a rather split personality it has an overwhelming impact.

Christ Church, Brixton Rd,  Kennington, Lambeth, 1989 89-5c-33
Christ Church, Brixton Rd, Kennington, Lambeth, 1989 89-5c-33

The church was built on the site of an earlier chapel, Holland Chapel, built as an Independent Chapel around 1823 and sold to the Church of England around 1835 and renamed Christ Church. This was a simpler building with a central bell turret but of some size, seating around a thousand and was demolished in 1899, with worship continuing in a hall behind while the new church was being built.

The Holland Chapel had no graveyard and Christ Church was at first only a chapel in the parish of St Mark’s Kennington where burials took place. Before 1825 all this area was in the parish of St Mary Lambeth, now the Garden Museum next to Lambeth Palace. Christ Church became a parish church in 1856.

Christ Church, Brixton Rd,  Kennington, Lambeth, 1989 89-5c-21
Christ Church, Brixton Rd, Kennington, Lambeth, 1989 89-5c-21

The building is often open to the public over the centre of the day and the stained glass is said to be spectacular. The interior (which I’ve not photographed) has more of an Art Nouveau feel than the exterior. The building has been considerably altered since 1907. It was built to seat 1,200.

You can just about see one of the many unusual features of the church at the extreme left of the picture, where there is a bell-shaped roof over an external pulpit, added to the building in 1907 at the insistence of the vicar.

Terrace, Brixton Rd,  Kennington, Lambeth, 1989 89-5c-24
Terrace, Brixton Rd, Kennington, Lambeth, 1989 89-5c-24

This terrace is opposite Christ Church and runs from 91 to 115 and was built at Bowhill Terrace. Some of the houses are stuccoed like these with others left as plain brick. I chose this pair partly for the bark of the tree at left, but also because of the different treatment of the two doors at the top of the steps leading up to both. I think the steps and their railings are probably a modern replacement.

Many of the houses along Brixton Road were in poor condition in the 1970s and were refurbished by the Greater London Council, mostly becoming social housing

Brixton Road was a Roman Road leading down to the south coast and was at one time known as ‘The way to Brighthelmstone’. Among other former names was Brixton Causeway, an embanked roadway running along the west bank of the ,. That it was also known as ‘The Washway’ perhaps suggests that it was sometime flooded by the river. The river was lowered and built over in 1880, becoming a sewer below the street and the earth extracted used to provide banking at the nearby cricket ground, The Oval.

Modern development beside the road only gathered pace after the building of Vauxhall Bridge in 1816 and acts of parliament for roads south from that meeting with Brixton Road at the Oval.

Between 1820 and 1824 the whole of the Manor was let to Henry Richard Vassall, third Baron Holland” and developed piecemeal by “builders and speculators” under building leases as brick houses “of at least the third rate“. According to the Survey of London, “This policy of piecemeal letting, especially in the Brixton Road, resulted in unrelated groups of villas and terrace houses which, in spite of the charm of individual members, gave to the whole an untidy and haphazard appearance.” For me it perhaps enhances the street with many of these varied Regency and early Victorian buildings remaining.

Brixton Rd, Brixton, Lambeth, 1989 89-5c-12
Brixton Rd, Brixton, Lambeth, 1989 89-5c-12

No 188 is a Grade II listed early mid C19 house. The listing text fails to indicate why this building, listed in 1981, has any particular architectural or historic interest. Originally this was one half of a pair of houses, the other half having been replaced by a dull 4 storey block of flats, Willow Court. Perhaps it was listed to save it from a similar fate.

Sheet Metal Works, Robsart St, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989, 89-5c-13
Sheet Metal Works, Robsart St, Stockwell, Lambeth, 1989, 89-5c-13

I made a short detour from Brixton Road down Robsart St which leads west attracted by this three-story works just a few yards down on the north side.

The Brixton Sheet Metal Works building is still there at No 2, but considerably tidied and now Raw Material Music & Media Education who describe the building as a “purpose-built 3-storey building hosts 2 recording studios, computer suite, DJ, music and video production equipment and a live room for performance, workshops and ensemble work.”

It now has a red plaque with the message ‘This project is proudly funded by Comic Relief – All the silly nonsense of Red Nose Day is about the serious business of helping people change their lives – BILLY CONNOLLY 2003‘.

In 1919 No 2 Robsart St was occupied bys W Mason & Co. I think the building was possibly no longer in use in 1989, though there appears to still be a small shop at the left, firmly shut behind wire grilles in my picture.

This walk will continue in a later post.

Art School Nude to Hospital Tower

Thursday, November 17th, 2022

The final set of pictures from my walk on 27th January 1989. The previous post on this walk is The Workhouse, Town Hall, Council Offices and Art School.

Sculpture, South London Gallery, The Passmore Edwards South London Art Gallery, Peckham Rd, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1g-26
Nude, South London Gallery, The Passmore Edwards South London Art Gallery, Peckham Rd, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1g-26

A bronze nude by Karel Vogel was at the entrance to the gallery, and in 1989 seemed under threat by the tree emerging behind. I think both the sculpture and the tree behind it have gone although a large tree closer to the road remains. Vogel, (1897-1961) was a Czech sculptor who came to England fleeing the Nazis in 1938 and taught at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts from 1948, and became in charge of the School of Sculpture there.

Perhaps his best-known work in this country is his 1959 Leaning Woman, Grade II listed in 2016, situated close to the A4 by St Peter’s Church in Hammersmith.

The London Institute, Camberwell College of Arts, Peckham Rd, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1g-11
The London Institute, Camberwell College of Arts, Peckham Rd, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1g-11

The Art School and gallery designed by Maurice Adams was built in 1896-8 is Grade II listed. It’s extravagantly baroque exterior includes a number of caryatids in supporting roles. ‘The Buildings of South London’, page 620, describes the 1960 addition at left by Murray, Ward & Partners as “totally unsympathetic” and it is certainly and doubtless intentionally a complete contrast. But it deserves to be seen and judged on its own.

Guardians Offices, London Borough of Southwark, Havil St, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1g-14
Guardians Offices, London Borough of Southwark, Havil St, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1g-14

The Havil Street frontage of the Poor Law Guardians building whose frontage on Peckham Road featured in the previous post in this series. It was built in an vaguely Art Nouveau style in 1904. I found the octagonal building with the rectangular blocks behind with its rhythmic patterns of windows and odd towers, together with the odd street wall, its curves echoed by the hood around the doorway quite enchanting.

St Giles' Hospital, Havil Street, Camberwell, Southwark 1989-1g-15
St Giles’ Hospital, Havil Street, Camberwell, Southwark 1989-1g-15

In 1889-90 a new 4-storey ward tower fronting onto Havil Street was opened for the Camberwell Workhouse Infirmary, later St Giles’s Hospital. Circular in design (which was fashionable at that time), it had cost about £14,500. Each storey contained 24 beds radiating around a central shaft, in which heating and ventilation services were located. This Grade II listed building is now flats. The pile of rubble behind the wall is from the demolition of unlisted hospital buildings.

St Giles' Hospital, Havil Street, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1g-16
St Giles’ Hospital, Havil Street, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1g-16

Another view of the hospital tower seen from Havil Street. Designed by Robert P Whellock it is Grade II listed. This was the last picture I took on Friday 27th January 1989, but two days later, Sunday 29th I came back here to begin another walk, beginning with more pictures here and a little further along Havil Street and I’ll include these here.

St Giles' Hospital, Havil Street, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1h-02
St Giles’ Hospital, Havil Street, Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1h-65

Much of the former St Giles Hospital was in 1989 a demolition site with just the listed buildings being left standing. The area is now filled with rather dreary housing with two and three storey solid-looking blocks around ‘St Giles Tower’. I think this picture was taken from the corner of Brunswick Villas, just after I had made a picture (not on-line) of the Grade II listed Bethel Asylum for aged women founded by William Peacock in 1837 at 159-163 Havil Street.

House, Brunswick Villas, (Brunswick Rd) Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1h-62
House, Brunswick Villas, (Brunswick Rd) Camberwell, Southwark, 1989 89-1h-62

I walked up Havil Street to the corner with Brunswick Villas, formerly Brunswick Road as the stone pillar still asserts. These houses are presumably a part of W J Hudson’s Brunswick Park development begun in 1847, though rather less grand than some.

From here I made my way towards Peckham – where my next series of posts on my walk on 29th January will begin.

My posts on this walk on 27th January 1989 began at St George’s, Camberwell, Absolutely Board & Alberto.

Still Mayfair – 1987

Sunday, September 6th, 2020
New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-11-positive_2400

A shop window display that could be in an art gallery, but one that I think might now be very questionable, with its three black women, one holding her bikini top in her hand roped and held by hands (also black) coming up from the floor. I thought of the slave trade, and also of bondage and it gave me much the same uncomfortable feeling as the photographs of Helmut Newton.

This is a display of expensive ‘Beachwear‘, in “the department store of note for shoppers of exceptional taste since 1882“. The cossie at left would set you back £55 – around £155 allowing for inflation – and does not look as if it is designed for swimming. And although the three ‘mannequins’ are barefoot, they are all up on their toes as if wearing high heels rather than in a natural pose.

New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-23-positive_2400

This building was Grade II listed in 1970, but the listing text gives little information about it, describing it as ‘commercial premises, ca 1900 and mentioning its ‘carved decoration to apron panels and arches’.

The architects were Leonard Martin (1869-1935) and Henry John Treadwell (1861–1910), responsible for a number of fine commercial buildings in London from 1890-1910, like this one in a fin de siècle art nouveau style. The ‘architectural sculpture’ is possibly by J. Daymond & Son, and its grapevine motif suggests this may have been built as a pub, but I’ve not been able to find more detail.

Woodstock St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-31-positive_2400

Woodstock St is just off New Bond St, and this picture shows the Woodstock Tavern, still a pub (and still a pub at least until recently, though for some time it was a Japanese bar) and clearly built as such. It was one of around 400 pubs across London and the surrounding areas of the Cannon Brewery Co. Ltd based at their brewery in Clerkenwell. Founded around 1720, this had 110 pubs in 1895; it was taken over by Taylor Walker in 1930, but brewing continued in Clerkenwell until 1950.

The pub was here from 1841, and for a time in the 1840s and 50s was run by Mrs Ann Harding and known as Harding’s Tavern. The current building is from 1876.

The building at left, the Bonbonierre Restaurant, is another by Martin & Treadwell.

New Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-35-positive_2400

Another Mayfair man, who I appear to have given wings, and who has a face made of playing cards. The suit carries a label for the Parisian fashion house founded by Nino Cerruti.

'May the 4th be with you', Marble Arch, Westminster, 1987 87-5k-52-positive_2400

Marble Arch with a banner ‘MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU’ presumably for ‘Star Wars Day’, a feeble pun on the catchphrase “May the Force be with you”.

The Royal Arcade, Old Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-25-positive_2400

The Arcade, linking Old Bond St and Albemarle St was built as an upmarket shopping centre in 1879 and is London’s oldest purpose-built shopping arcade.

The Royal Arcade, Old Bond St, Mayfair, Westminster, 1987 87-5l-11-positive_2400

It became ‘The Royal Arcade’ after Queen Victoria bought shirts from shirtmaker William Hodgson Brettell at No 12 in 1880. Though I rather doubt she went there in person or wore his shirts. Other shopkeepers in the arcade have also been awarded the Royal Warrant, and she apparently still gets here chocolates there from Charbonnel Et Walker.

More from Mayfair (and some other parts of London) in my album 1987 London Photographs – these pictures are on page 4.

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.