A rare visit to London last Wednesday – last time was August. We left our snowy hills behind and entered a different snow-free world. I felt a real country mouse, daringly getting the no 242 bus from Liverpool Station to a haberdashery shop – William Gee – on the Kingsland Rd near Dalston Junction. I went to buy 200 metres of ribbon for the book project I’m embarked on and trying to finish for Artweeks. On my invoice it describes itself as: Stockists and converters of linings and interlinings. Accessories and trimmings for coat, dress, fur, shoe, handbag and allied trades. There’s a fascinating article about William Gee on www.spitalfieldslife.com.
I also went to get thread and paper for the same project from Shepherds paper and bookmaking shop in Holborn – but was shocked to find it’s just moved to behind Victoria Station. So I continued from Dalston on the overhead line to Highbury and Islington, changing onto the Victoria line. The shop still has all the range of papers stacked in shelves and chosen from books, but it lacks the atmosphere of the old shop. It is the most tempting shop I know and I am always seduced and buy much more than I ever plan to.
I walked past Buckingham Palace and over Green Park in the gathering dusk past remains of snowmen looking like ancient megaliths, to browse the galleries behind the Royal Academy. I found a new exhibition of Richard Cartwright paintings at the Adam Gallery propped against the walls about to be hung. I like the way he has bright glints of colour and light against darker backgrounds. I found 2 Ivon Hitchen paintings and a catalogue of paintings by Brian Horton who paints the areas of Britain I also Know including around Dolgellau, Buckinghamshire, Scotland and Pembrokeshire.
I met up with Tony and we proceeded to a private view of the Manet exhibition at the Royal Academy. A string quartet, champagne, wonderful bowls of flowers and the paintings. Manet’s use of black is striking – but also he uses greys and white wonderfully, sometimes lifting the painting with touches of deep red or a lovely blue – the one my Granny liked. My favourite paintings are the ones he did of Berthe Morisot.
Back to the icy wastes of Chipping Norton. We feel like hibernating now………..