Entries tagged with “London”.


ls1I fancy myself as some sort of artist as well as an art collector and critic.  I like all kinds of art and always have my eyes open for finding interesting works wherever I go.

After a week in Italy gazing at some of the world’s most amazing works of art, and touring around the master works in London’s fine museums, I was truly overwhelmed with it all.  However, I was delighted to discover the work of British artist L.S. Lowry at the Tate Museum in London.

Laurence Stephen (L.S.) Lowry (1887-1976) is by no means one of the great masters of the ilk in the museums of Florence and London.  However, his charming “primitive” or “naïve” style was refreshing and charmed me.

L.S. Lowry was known mostly for his drawings and paintings of industrial and city scenes in Northern England.  His work is not realistic and has a bit of whimsy, especially when people are depicted.  I can’t say I “discovered” L.S. Lowry, as he seems to be somewhat of a British national treasure, but he is new to me and I am enjoying reading more about him and seeing his work.

On a whim, while still in London, I looked into what it would take to purchase one of his works.  One search uncovered a major work that was coming to auction soon, with an estimated sale price of over £3 million.  I think I am going to need to stick to admiring his work in museums and galleries and stick to “finding” my new artists at the flea market.

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See the Tate’s collection of L.S. Lowry’s work here.

See more of the L.S. Lowry catalog here.

Read about L.S. Lowry on Wikipedia here.

We are just back from our trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina which we have been reporting about here.  This was our first trip to that South American metropolis, but not our first big trip in the month of November.  For a few years over the past decade, we visited London in November. 

London is a great place to visit any time of year – but November is an ideal time to be in the British capital.  The summer crowds are gone, the city is in full swing for the season and there is a brisk chill in the air.

Best of all, on a Saturday in November every year is the annual The Lord Mayor’s Show – one of the grandest parades you will ever see.  The “Show” is the annual procession that honors the installation of a new Lord Mayor of the City of London.  Every bit of pomp you can imagine – and the Brits know pomp – is on display on this day.  The big attraction is the appearance of the Lord Mayor in a gilded carriage.  Not to mention the spectacular fireworks display over the Thames that closes the day.

Ah, to be in London today – the day of this year’s Show. 

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About The Lord Mayor’s Show: “There has been a Lord Mayor of London ever since 1189, when Henry Fitzailwyn first held office. It wasn’t until 1215, when King John granted a Charter allowing the City’s citizens to elect their own mayor, that the Lord Mayor’s Show actually came into being. The Charter stipulated that the new Mayor must be presented to the Sovereign for approval and to swear fealty to the Crown, so each year the newly elected Mayor had to travel from the City to Westminster to pledge allegiance. The Lord Mayor has been making that yearly journey for 784 years, surviving plague and fire and countless wars and insurrections.”

In addition, November is usually the month of the State Opening of Parliament (this year Nov. 18) – more pomp, this time with the Queen traveling to House of Lords and entering the grand Sovereign’s Entrance to the great halls. London also hosts many formal ceremonies to mark Remembrance Day (Nov. 11) and then there is Guy Fawkes Day where the locals whoop it up: “Remember Remember the Fifth of November…”  For those who don’t mind Christmas coming early, London’s streets start lighting up earlier in November than tends to happen in the States.  Without a Thanksgiving to be the “official” kick-off of the holiday season, the great lights on Oxford and Regents Streets gone on in mid-November.

OK, it is settled, we’re off to plan our trip to London for this time next year.

One our favorite places in our favorite city of London is Trafalgar Square.  We have spent much time in that iconic space over the years.  We have even named the four giant lions that stand guard at the base of Nelson’s Column: Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty.  But that is a story for another time.

On the edge of Trafalgar Square is one of the gems of the city’s amazing collection of public museums, the National Portrait Gallery.  The NPG is a great place to roam through any day of the week, any year. 

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But what caught our eye now is a current exhibit called Beatles to Bowie: the 60’s Exposed running now through 24 January 2010.

“This major exhibition explores the leading pop music personalities who helped create ‘Swinging London’ in the 1960s. Over 150 photographs, together with a range of memorabilia, illustrate how the photographic image, music and performance made these pop stars the leading icons of their time.”

If you can’t make it to London, you can get a taste of the exhibit on the National Portrait Gallery’s website.

If that is not enough, check out the online store set up to support the exhibit.

Let’s hope that sometime soon they launch the exhibit that will make us book our trip straight away… Duran Duran to Kim Wilde: the 80’s Exposed.

Lost Cowboy is only a couple of weeks old and we already have a little bit of a following (thanks Mom!)  Most who have “found” us are starting to figure it all out, but there are a few questions that keep coming up.  We keep saying that it will all make sense in time, but from time to time we will answer some of the questions that seem to pop up most often, like this one:

What is the image in the Lost Cowboy banner to the right of the cowboy?

That is an image from a vintage postcard of Piccadilly Circus in London.  London being one of our favourite places to visit and we love vintage postcards.  It was a perfect fit.  We love the banner and feel it is a perfect representation of our blog.  But it was a pure accident that we came up with it.

We knew we needed the cowboy up there – after all he is the inspiration for this all.  But the rest just came together from trial and error.  The banner was pretty much done before we realized it was not wide enough.  We tried stretching the words and the cowboy, but nothing looked right.  We needed another image or two to make it complete.

While searching through our archive of images we like, this lovely rendering of a couple in Piccadilly Circus at night jumped out at us.  The colors are great and it was the perfect balance for the neon “S” in the LOST.  But why did we call out the “S”?  Well, that is a question best answered another time.

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I know I am going to regret this, but I must write about a great hotel find in London.

When I travel to a big European city, I like to stay in small hotels in the neighborhoods.  I have never been a fan of the large generic hotels in city centers.  One of my favorite cities to visit is London and I can assure you there is no shortage of small hotels from which to choose.  I have stayed in many of them, and I have to say there are some really good ones, but some very bad ones as well.

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A couple of years ago I discovered one of the good ones – Vancouver Studios located in the Bayswater district – close to Hyde Park and Queensway.  

I love this place.  Vancouver Studios is comprised of a few traditional Victorian row houses strung together.  I’ve stayed here a few times and loved every minute of it.  I have to say that if you like the big fancy hotels, you may not like this place.  But if you like the smaller tourist-class hotels, this is the place.  The best part is that each of these rooms is a mini-suite complete with a kitchen area.  Having a kitchen, even just a mini-fridge, can make all the difference when staying in a city as pricey as London.  With the kitchen, you can do some shopping and save on meals.   

The rooms are small but very well appointed – not a wasted space to be found.  The bathrooms are clean and modern and have good water pressure.  And you can’t beat the location.  You are right in the city just a block away from the hustle and bustle of Queensway, but it is relatively quiet.  It is a short walk from the hotel to connect with the Underground and busses.  They even have bicycles to let. 

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The big drawback of Vancouver Studios is that there is no elevator.  If you get a room on one of the top floors it can be challenging, but well worth the climb.

I love how they describe the place on their website:  “Scattered around the building are reminders of a bygone era – quirky surprises greet you on every landing. From the warmth and coziness of the drawing room to the sound of a trickling fountain in the hidden walled garden, Vancouver Studios is truly an Oasis in the centre of Bayswater.”

The true charm of this hotel is that your feel like you are staying in a private home, but you have all the privacy you need. 

Again, not for everyone, but a charming place to stay in one of the most exciting cities on the planet. 

Note to LostCowboy fans – get used to hearing about London – I am going to write a ton about it. 

Read more about Vancouver Studios and make a reservation.