Jennie and I spent today in London. We started at the Hermes Lather exhibition as Pete had seen and repmmended it. It was very well done. It started with a display of leathers of every conceivable origin and many colours. From the softest velvety leathers to thick ones for use in saddles and other heavy duty articles. Then we saw two artisans at work. Then into the display of items. Although handbags and more utilitarian objects like attache cases and travel cases were in abundance, fashion changes were interesting. Even more interesting were the more way out objects. Whole leather travel wardrobes, (taken on safaris?) and the Duke of Windsors present for the duchess. He had gone in to Hermes in Paris saying he wanted a present; everything the salesgirl suggested (from their perfume through the whole leather range, he rejected, finally saying shes got enough stuff to fill a wheelbarrow. The enterprising girl then suggested a wheelbarrow to hold all the stuff! SO there it was. A leather wheelbarrow!
The horse section had an emerald green crocodile skin saddle with matching riding boots and riding crop. No where in the exhibition was there any suggestion of price! Near more ordinary saddles were a lot of leather nose bags. Some of these were real nose bags, others were handbags made to look like nose bags. (If you're a real 'horsey person' what better handbag could you have?)
NO PICTURES ALLOWED!!
Then it was off for another London walk.
Two poets (Shelley and Byron I think!! too much information going in for my brain to retain!) who had lived in Venice for a time, called the area little Venice. It has a canal arm (mooring purposes)coming into it and white houses, some a bit reminiscent of Venice. After the war an enterprising real estate agent started calling the area "Little Venice"; sales soared!
The pineapple was apparently a status symbol. Lots of houses had it on gate posts or balconies.
It was largely a name dropping tour. Everyone who was anyone in the theatrical and performing arts seems to have lived there (and the Beetles around the corner!)Richard Branson did not have a house there but lived and worked on a Narrow-boat in the canal. In his student days his old bomb had broken down outside this Boat. He had gone to the young woman he could see, hoping there would be a telephone. She was looking for a lodger, so he moved in. Then with her helping to conduct his business, his recording studio started there.
This reminded me of Fremantle sculptures in Fremantle Kings Square. On a human scale.
The Victoria and Albert British Design 1948 to 2012 was next on our list. When we were part way through we realised why those dates; this was the time between London's first and current Olympics. Nothing in the promotion alerted us to that. All Londoners/Brits probably thought that information was unnecessary!) there were really interesting designs covering everything absolutely everything: architecture; clothes; bridges; aircraft; traffic signs book covers; furniture; household utensils and more more more. Well worth a visit