Sunday, February 28th 2016
The morning was spent, as usual, on the inevitable supermarket run, leaving the afternoon free for a quiet ramble somewhere or other. Today’s ‘somewhere’ turned out to be Camden Town.
Camden Town is these days a busy, vibrant place, with lots of activity especially around the Camden Lock area with its markets. Being jammed, jostled and hindered by crowds is not my idea of fun and so we soon took to quieter areas.
At the junction of Clarence Way and Castlehaven Road stands an Anglican church by the name of Church of the Holy Trinity with St Barnabas. I don’t know whether this was its name from the beginning or whether there was once a separate Church of St Barnabas that subsequently disappeared and its duties were assumed by this church. What I do know is that it was built in 1849-50 in Victorian Gothic style and was designed by Thomas Henry Wyatt and David Brandon, being the only church in London by this pair of architects. The church originally possessed a tall, tapering spire which was unfortunately destroyed by bombs in the Second World War, leaving the tower that we see today. The church is now Grade II listed.
I was intrigued by double row of terrace houses at the western end of Clarence Way. Despite their somewhat Georgian allure, we think they are probably middle or late Victorian. The interesting feature is the apparent lack of a roof! Presumably this is flat or almost flat and is hidden by a parapet with cut-outs, giving a crenellated look.
This is one of the houses in this part of the street. The colour of the bricks, different from those of its neighbours, suggests that this house was rebuilt at some time, perhaps after being damage by bombs in wartime.
This building, on the corner of Harmood Street with Chalk Farm Road can be dated precisely as it proudly bears its completion year, 1837, on a pediment. This is the year in which Queen Victoria acceded to the throne so, depending on the actual date of completion, we either call it Victorian or ascribe it to the earlier epoch. But what is that? Between George IV and Queen Victoria, William IV reigned for 7 years, 1830-7. If we wish to be pedantic, we should perhaps refer to buildings of that period as ‘William IV’ but I think the label ‘Georgian’ still covers it perfectly well.
Either way, compare the above with its near neighbour on the corner of Hartland Road:
As modern buildings go, this one is better than some, but it is interesting to contrast the design philosophies underlying each of the two buildings. I know where my preferences lie but I accept that change is inevitable and has to be accepted though it is always perfectly legitimate to express one’s opinion, whether this is favourable or not.
This is another one we had heard about. It is by Fanakapan who is known for his inflatable silver balloon-letters spelling out succinct messages but also treats other subjects as well. If you look carefully at this picture of three flies, you will see that they too are built in the inflatable mould!
It was a pleasure to discover Pang in the process of creating a new work. She kindly took time to have a few words with us about her work and the difficulties of spray-can art when there is a strong wind blowing! We couldn’t wait around for the work to be finished, of course, but you will find an excellent account of it on London Calling Blog.
This piece is by Tony Boy, an artist I had not previously been aware of. Perhaps we shall discover more.
This striking large-scale painting resides on the façade of a building where Jamestown Road meets Camden High Street. It is by Oliver Switch and has special features that we were unfortunately not able to enjoy as they do not appear in daylight. The painting is designed to shine when UV light is projected onto it. I cannot show you the effect so I will refer you to a post about this work on London Calling Blog. That will give you some idea of it.
As we walked down Camden High Street, I spotted something high up on an end wall. Closer inspection revealed it to be one of the multi-coloured faces that emanate from the artist Gregos. I don’t know how long it has been here or how often people notice its presence.
We entered the yard of the abandoned pub that I call the Wheelbarrow but is known to others under other names. There wasn’t anything new but I photographed the painting below, despite having already shown it to you, because it demonstrates something interesting.
This is the painting by Mr Cenz as it appeared today. The inscription in white in the lower right corner is the artist’s signature. Below is the painting as it appeared when I photographed it the first time on October 18th 2015 (see Art at the Wheelbarrow).
Can you see the difference? The earlier picture (above) shows the painting defaced by graffiti while the later photo shows only the artist’s signature. The picture has been ‘refreshed’. It turns out that street artists do not necessarily abandon their paintings but may return to refresh them or repair damage. Some artists have faithful fans who report to them any encroachment on their paintings.