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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Category archive: Sculpture

Thursday April 17 2014

On Monday I was in Trafalgar Square, and photoed this statue:

image

I was in a hurry, and had no time to dwell on what it said on the plinth, but it seemed to be saying “JACOBVS SECVNDVS”, or some such thing.  So, could this really be James II?  I proceeded to my Event and forgot about it.

But just now, seeking a quota photo, I looked it up, and yes, it is James II.

Description of it:

Sculpted by Grinling Gibbons or one of his pupils this is considered a very fine statue. It is a pair with that of Charles II, James’s brother and predecessor, at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, in that they were both commissioned by Tobias Rustat.

Even better description of it:

A strong contender for the title “campest statue in London”, this statue has seen more sites than most, starting off in Priory Gardens, the centre of Whitehall, the forecourt of the Admiralty and now here.

I knew that the Romans tended to be held in higher esteem in former times than they are now.  But I didn’t realise that James II in particular was such an admirer of the Romans.

Was it James II’s decision to be dressed like this?  It had to be a decision he approved of, or would have approved of, because Tobias Rustat was an exact contemporary, and a servant of Charles II.  I.e. not a man who would have done anything to offend Charles II’s brother monarch.

Blog and learn.

As for the camp thing, James’s face in this statue does remind me a bit of this bloke.

LATER: I see that James II regarded himself as the king not only of England, Scotland and Ireland, but also of France.  Odd.

Monday April 14 2014

This evening I visited New Zealand House, for an ASI do.  On the way out, I passed this bust, with “FREYBERG V.C.” on its plinth:

image

Inevitably, when you stick up a photo of such a notable, you do some googling.  Not only was Freyberg awarded the VC.  He also scored four DSOs.  My Uncle Jack got three of these, but this is the first time I ever heard of anyone getting four.  It seems that sixteen men have won four DSOs, with just two of these (Freyberg and Frederick Lumsden (who died towards the end of WW1)) getting four DSOs and a VC.

Blog and learn.

I see that another of the DSO four-timers - but no VC, although he was recommended for one - was Group Captain Tait, who succeeded Cheshire (VC) as commander of 617 Squadron (aka the Dam Busters).  Tait lead them when they flew from Lossiemouth to Norway and sank the Tirpitz.  I remember reading about Tait when I was a kid, because the book I read about the Dambusters wasn’t just about the dams raid but recounted their whole war.

Thursday April 03 2014

So, speaking as I was lately about Lego, and loving as I do bridges, how about this?!?!:

image

In Germany.  Done just with paint.  Excellent, I think.  Found here (scrolling down is highly recommended).  Which I found because 6k recently linked to the same site, concerning something else, also very entertaining.

Sunday March 30 2014

I read recently that there is some insane plan afoot to ban classic cars from London, on account of them all having the wrong kind of wicked global-warming-type engines or some such crap.  I hope this plan is strangled at birth, but it is just the kind of plan that may not be.

Meanwhile, I here celebrate the occasional presence of beautiful antique cars in London with some photos, of a beautiful antique car:

image image imageimage image image

That’s a Sunbean Talbot that I spotted in Lower Marsh, on July 6th of last year, which was an appropriately sunny day for photoing a Sunbeam.

Here is a close-up of the front, crop from what I originally snapped, for legibility.  Click for even more legibility:

image

As you can see, STAR stands for Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register.  I reckon if you drive around in a fancy car like this you are fair game for internet searching, so I tried to see if I could find other photos of this exact car, who owns it, etc.  But I failed.  My commenters are typically cleverer at this kind of thing than I am, so, as I often say here: Anybody?  Is it someone famous?

Thursday March 27 2014

Only this here today, but that is mostly because I have finally ended my dry spell at Samizdata, with a posting that I started writing only with this little place in mind.

The thing that most pleases me about this latest effort is that I finally managed to pin down exactly what it was that I so liked about those Gormley Men, whom I photographed in 2007 and finally got around to blogging about here in 2011.

Here is part of what I just put at Samizdata:

I still remember fondly the time in London, in the summer of 2007, when the dreary concrete of London’s South Bank Arts district and nearby parts was invaded by a small army of naked metallic Gormleys. The many identical Gormleys were not, in themselves, especially inspiring. But look on the bright side. Nor were these Gormleys bent-out-of-shape semi-abstract grotesques, mid-twentieth-century style.

Bingo.  Not heroic, but at least not villainously anti-human.

And although in themselves ordinary, the Gormleys were often standing in very interesting and inspirational places, high above the streets, up on the roofs of tall buildings:

A photo there, of a Gormley on the top of the Hayward Gallery.

Stick anyone on a pedestal – in general, look up at them – and they look more impressive. They look like they deserve to be looked up to. This positioning of all those South Bank Gormleys suggested (yes yes, to me – I admit that all this is very personal) ordinary men at least looking, very admirably, towards less ordinary and more inspiring far horizons. Some of the Gormleys were looking downwards, but most were looking out ahead. What all these Gormleys were not doing was just standing in Art galleries, staring miserably at their own feet, with signs next to them full of demoralising Art-Speak drivel. They raised the spirits of of almost all of those who gazed up at them.

Bingo again.

I included in the above paragraph a link to this earlier Samizdata posting, about the difference between how the same sculpture looks, depending on the angle you look at it from.

A great deal of creative thinking consists of putting two things that you have already thought about next to each other, which previously you had only been thinking about in different parts of your brain.

The Gormley Men were ordinary, neither heroic nor villainous.  But when looked at from below they looked more heroic than they really are.  So to speak.

Tuesday March 25 2014

One of the rules I have developed for my own photographic activities is to try always to take pictures, in among all the merely nice pictures, which tell me where I was and what these nice pictures were of.

I do not always follow this rule.  Rules are like that.  The ones you follow all the time, automatically, don’t have to be rules.  It’s the rules you often break which are nevertheless good which have to be rules, to persuade you to follow them more than you would otherwise.

Here, for instance, is a fun snap:

image

That was taken on June 29th 2007, 5.38pm (plus 30 seconds), a fact which I now know because my camera automatically recorded it.  I called the photo ArtHasItsUses, as this young guy is demonstrating.  But, where are we?  I have two other snaps of the same scene, but none of them include any information about exactly where we are, like a street name.  Nor did I photo the plaque at the bottom of the sculpture, as I often do.  This would likewise have given me some useful words to google, and offered me the opportunity to supply a link to other works by the same artist.  But I did neither of these sensible things.

I tried following the phone number that you can see behind the Thing, but before anything would tell me anything about that (maybe) then the anythings in question demanded to know all kinds of things about me, and I gave up.

I understand that many cameras nowadays automatically record exact place of shot along with exact time of shot.  Mine is not such a camera.

A vague clue is that, judging by other photos taken somewhat earlier, I appear to have been in the general vicinity of Islington, North London.  But where?  And what is this rather agreeable Thing?  Who did it?  Anybody?

Saturday March 15 2014

Last Wednesday, I was finally able to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather London has been enjoying for last week or so, and walked down Victoria Street to Parliament Square, and then across the river.

And the photography is well and truly back in business.  There ought to be a nominated day, when photographers all gather to photograph the first grouse of the season.  What would be the urban equivalent of that, I wonder?

I photographed other things besides photographers, but mostly I did photograph photographers:

image image imageimage image imageimage image image

Those are just little square bits from bigger pictures.  Click to get the latter.

The fountain behind the lady photographer in 3.1 is the one in the garden of St Thomas’s Hospital, which doubles as the roof of a big car park.

Smart phones getting smarter all the time.

Thursday March 06 2014

I heard about this from two married friends who are expecting, and today I read about it in that book about 3D printing that I already quoted a bit from a few days ago:

… Yet for me, the most memorable 3D printing innovation of the last year or so was the launch of a $1,200 service called ‘Form of Angels’ from the Japanese pioneer Fasotec.  Here an MRI scan is taken of a pregnant woman, and then used to produce a 3D printed model of her unborn baby. The plastic foetus can even be supplied embedded in a resin model of its mother’s midriff for presentation on the expectant parent’s mantelpiece.

Pictures of what that looks like here, among (as you can imagine) many other places.

3D printed baby in the womb
Blue wind
Don’t judge a new technology by its first stumbling steps
A quota post (with a quota link to a post about a post about a quota photo) and another quota photo
Camel
Faberge - Brutalism
Temporary art made of brightly dressed people
6k quota photo of sea
Sandcastles that will live for ever
Ice sculptures in Docklands – Big Things from Docklands
3D printer sighted!
Dog wearing funny spectacles plus electrical clutter
Ballerina with crane
Sculpture at St James’s Tube
The Kelpies of Falkirk
Michael Jennings photos the bridges of Porto
Crows nest made of coat hangers
Owl at Canning Town railway station
Photoing each other - and photoing stuff in the canal
A day in and around Olympicland with Goddaughter One
Quota photo of a bucket of plastic crocodiles in an otherwise deserted shop window in Oxford Street
Rooftops
Savoy cat
Stairs Thing outside St Paul’s
Wedding photography (3): Technology as sculpture
A mannequin in Tachbrook Street sheds light on the nature of perception
Art without Artists
Cheap hippos are hard to find
Skull made of skulls in gift shop street
New crane up
Croydon cats
Little Lady Liberty - still in France
Photographing Kreod
Bomber Command Memorial pictures
Latest C4 logo sculpture
Quota frogs
76 operas and a monument in the wrong place for Hermann the German
Quota hedgehog sculpture
Another pub
Another Assembly of Men
Gormley’s South Bank Men
Blue Men on a boring building in Borough High Street
Giant bull held up by scaffolding
Cool sculpture
Giant Jesuses
Tiny Cardboard Box People Appear All Over Singapore
A picture I want to remember
Cats with human faces
As strong and sweet as the free market itself
One man’s intellectual theft is another man’s marketing
Everybody draw Mohammed every day!
Quota swan
London is about to be Kapoored with a big new Olympic Games Thing
We’ll always have Chelsea
Scaffolding ball
Eros under an umbrella
Giant Bean covered in mirror
The Min-Kyu Choi folding three point plug
Decorated hippo
As found roof sculpture
Johanna Kaschke versus the Deluded Leftwinger
The Labour Party finally agrees on a new Prime Minister to replace Gordon Brown
Dripping table
Slumponomics
Structural decoration
Cat blogging and Gormley blogging
What The State looks like
The Wheel through some Art
The towers of London from the Copper Horse
Another strange Staines statue
Roll out the Lino
Not Billion Monkeys!
An abstract view of Kings Place
More sticking up stuff
Big head and big something else
Resizing Slim with Expression Engine
3D!
Pictures with words
A sculptural suggestion
Classic car thinness
The return of Friday cat-blogging
Twickenham shop attacked by the Dark Side of The Force
Exciting posting about shelves
Celebrating a victory
Not a hot day in January for the Billion Monkeys!
Billion Monkey scrunched up in a ball!
Reflections in a Belgravia shop window
Three proper photos … and three Billion Monkeys!!!
Spherical trouser sculpture
More St Pancras snaps
Manhole cover cats and Angel of the North shelves?
Yes this is cat blogging
American war memorial by the sea at St Nazaire
Berlin Billion Monkeys photo rat and cheese sand sculpture!
A squinting cat and a master ephemerist
Further pictorial shallowness
Engadgetry
Rokeby Billion Monkey!
Cat sculptures
More Magic Andy sand sculpture
Magic Andy makes magic dragon
The Mainstream Media finally get around to noticing Andy and his sand sculptures
Random London snaps from last year
Pylons
Kiev cat
No more photos for a bit after these ones
Alice in Fortnum and Mason
Everyone likes Magic Andy
Should blogs - this one in particular - specialise?
Bartók outside South Kensington tube
The Ben Pimlott lump
Old media
And then I went home happy
Puke