Posts Tagged ‘Francis Bacon’

January 1987 continued

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
Regents Canal, Gloucester Ave, Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987 87-1c-22_2400
Regents Canal, Gloucester Ave, Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987

think I had a good month taking pictures in January 1987. I always liked the winter months for photographing places, although the weather wasn’t always kind. But London is a city of many trees, and though they enhance it greatly they also obscure many views. And I do like the way you can see the structure of the trees after they have shed their leaves for the winter, though perhaps they are at their best in spring as they begin to sprout again.

Most of the month I was in Camden, and walked a little beside the Regent’s Canal as it goes through Primrose Hill. There were just a few boats moving – the canals were less busy back then. I’ve always had an interest in the canals in London – and this year was to have exhibited a set of panoramas to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Regent’s Canal, officially opened in August 1820. You can read more about that show which had to be abandoned in an earlier post here, and the set of pictures I took in preparation for it are – including the one from Camden below – are on Flickr.

Regents Canal 2020: Camden High St13-20190308-d0708
Regent’s Canal, Camden, 2019 – from ‘Regents Canal 200’
Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987 87-1c-51_2400
Primrose Hill, Camden, 1987

One of my favourite portraits is Bill Brandt’s 1963 photograph of a rather morose Francis Bacon looking out of the left of the frame at twilight in front of a lamp post on Primrose Hill. Of course my picture is nothing like his, an empty path and rather more naturalistic, but I think it captures something of the atmosphere of the place which attracted Brandt and made him choose it as a suitable stage for his picture.

Sir John Soane, memorial, Old St Pancras Burial Ground, Pancras Rd, Camden, 1987 87-1d-15_2400
Sir John Soane memorial, Old St Pancras Burial Ground, Pancras Rd, Camden

Sir John Soane (1753-1837) was a leading British architect working in a neo-Classical style. Although prolific, many of his buildings have been demolished or, like the Bank of England, greatly remodelled, though his three London churches, St Peter’s Walworth, Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone and St John, Bethnal Green remain, as does the Dulwich picture gallery and work at various stately homes.

His family tomb in the Old St Pancras churchyard, designed the year after his wife’s death in 1815 is perhaps the most clear example of his work, and is said to be the inspiration behind Giles Gilbert Scott’s red telephone box, made in 1924 shortly after Scott had been made a trustee of the Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields – possibly London’s best and certainly one of its quirkiest museums.

Fence, Grafton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987 87-1h-14_2400
Fence, Grafton Rd, Gospel Oak, Camden, 1987

I made several exposures of this short alley in Gospel Oak, beside a tall fence partly covered by dead creeping plants. and with a rectangular block behind. Fortunately fairly early on a Sunday morning in January there were few passers-by to doubt my sanity and I didn’t have to wait long for the passageway to be empty.

The barriers, the fence and the building each define planes with rectangular blocks at different angles – with both creeper and clear space roughly defining rectangles at an angle, and through that space the rectangle of the building seemed to me to match that of the barrier on the footpath.

Gilden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1g-46_2400
Gilden Crescent, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

You could furnish a home from the street in front of this shop selling (and buying) “All types of Old & Modern Furniture” and of course many did. We still use the chairs we carried home from a shop like this, and a few other pieces of furniture, though we had our own photographs of ancestors for the wall rather than buy those on display.

But other things too attracted me about this display as well as the neat rows of chairs, the mattresses and the gas cookers. There was the antique lamp post in the middle of the display at right, and, above the door, presumably from an earlier use, the advertisement in lieu of a shop name ‘WEIGHTS Cigarettes… For More Pleasure.”

Hockey, St Leonard's Square, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1i-46_2400
Hockey, St Leonard’s Square, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

Two house bricks stand as a goal for these boys playing roller hockey on quad skates in a cul-de-sac in Kentish Town. I think it was a sport I had not met before – and those hockey sticks were made in the USSR.

Hockey Players, Holmes Rd, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987 87-1j-41_2400
Hockey Players, Holmes Rd, Kentish Town, Camden, 1987

A short walk away I came across another group of hockey players, standing with large sports bags and hockey sticks next to a mural showing roller hockey players on the wall of a skate shop. Their bags and sticks say ‘CANADIEN’ . I can’t remember now what they told me, and whether or not they were Canadian.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

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.