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London Days Newly launched departures for Spring 2014
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Ancient Greece.................................. 2 The Italian Renaissance..................... 2 The Complete London Hogarth....... 3 London’s Great Railway Termini....... 4 London’s Underground Railway........ 4 The London Backstreet Walk............ 5 Caravaggio & Rembrandt................. 6 Sculpture in London......................... 6 Arts & Crafts.................................... 7 Seven Churches & a Synagogue........ 7 Mediaeval Art in London.................. 8 Making a booking............................. 8
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London Days 2014
These London Days explore the art, architecture and history of the most varied and exciting city in the world.
They are led by carefully chosen experts who provide informative and enlightening commentary. Microcosms of our longer small group tours, ideal as a ‘taster’ if you have not travelled with us. Our usual meticulous planning is applied, with special arrangements and privileged access a significant feature.
Radio guides enable lecturers to talk in a normal conversational mode while participants can hear without difficulty.
All are accompanied by an administrator to ensure arrangements run smoothly.
Ancient Greece In the British Museum Friday 17th January 2014 (la 807) Lecturer: Professor Antony Spawforth A product of the Renaissance and of the Enlightenment, it is appropriate that the British Museum should be housed in a building modelled on Ancient Greek architecture – indeed, it is the grandest example of the Greek Revival in the country. It is equally appropriate that it houses one of the greatest collections of Greek art and artefacts outside Greece, given that the Classical world was the first and for long the primary object of antiquarian study and literary exegesis in Europe. It is the case that Britain had a special if controversial role in the creation of modern Greece.
Hellenistic period after Alexander the Great, especially the remarkable monuments from Lycia, the Nereid Monument and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Start: 10.10am. Finish: by 5.30pm. Price: £165. Group size: maximum 12 participants.
The Italian Renaissance
The exceptionally wide range of its holdings enables the day to begin two millennia before the Classical period and to finish with Roman copies of Greek sculpture made hundreds of years after the originals. The day consists of four sessions in the galleries of just over an hour each, with relatively leisurely refreshment breaks.
In the National Gallery
The first session looks at Minoan and Mycenaean Greece, and at the Geometric and Archaic periods which saw Greek civilization emerge to greatness again after mysterious extinction of the earlier civilisations. The second session is largely devoted to the peerless sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens, the so-called Elgin Marbles, famously – infamously – the highlight of the collection, and among the most fascinating and beautiful creations in western art. Lunch is at the British Museum, after which there is a little back-tracking to look at the development of pottery from the Archaic to the Classical periods, almost the only evidence of the glories of Greek painting remaining. Finally comes the
Thursday 23rd January 2014 (la 808) Lecturer: Antonia Whitley Thursday 6th March 2014 (la 827) Lecturer: Michael Douglas-Scott London’s National Gallery possesses the finest collection of Italian Renaissance art outside Italy. Unlike most other national collections in Europe, it was formed (over nearly 200 years) by connoisseurs and art historians rather than princes and nobles whose generally less discerning eyes allowed the admission of a proportion of second- and third-raters. There’s no dross on show in Trafalgar Square. 2
London Days 2014
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The Complete London Hogarth All the paintings Tuesday 1st July 2014 (lz 961) Lecturer: Lars Tharp William Hogarth (1697–1764) is, after JMW Turner, perhaps the British painter most admired in Europe, though ironically he satirised the craze for Continental styles of art and tirelessly proselytised on behalf of native talent. Best known as a satirist and social commentator, it is easy to lose sight of the reality that he is a first-rate artist of international standing, and played a crucial part in the establishment of the English school of painting. Hogarth was a Londoner, and most of his best works remain in the city of his birth and death. This unusually intense but, hopefully, enthralling journey enables participants to see nearly all the paintings which remain in the city. The day begins at St Bartholomew’s Hospital with Hogarth’s only essays in large-scale history painting, the dominant tradition from which he emerged. The Pool of Bethesda and The Good Samaritan with over-life-size figures remain in their original site. The extraordinary Sir John Soane’s Museum possesses A Rake’s Progress (8 scenes) and Election (4 scenes), and the itinerary continues to the Coram Foundation to meet its founder, Captain Coram, one of the finest of all British portraits, and two other fine paintings.
Early 19th-century engraving of the Parthenon frieze.
The National Gallery has a third moralising series, Marriage à la Mode (6 scenes), and the enchanting Graham Children. Here we have lunch. Tate Britain possesses several genre, history and satirical scenes and several portraits. It cannot be confirmed what will be on show but we will probably be able to see Calais Gate, Self-portrait with Pug and Hogarth’s Servants.
Both Antonia Whitley and Michael Douglas Scott have led numerous tours for Martin Randall Travel, all predominantly with Renaissance subject matter. There are four sessions in the galleries of about an hour each. While most paintings commissioned then were of a religious nature, the call for portraits and mythologies speak of the burgeoning humanistic interests of patrons. Meaning, context, scale and innovation and what it was that marked out images by the great masters in this period will all be considered. Between the sessions there are leisurely adjournments to the calm and quiet of The National Gallery Dining Rooms, the excellent restaurant. With no more than twelve in the group, radio guides to eliminate problems of audibility, and the presence of an MRT staffer to oversee the arrangements, this should be a highly agreeable and efficacious way to enhance your knowledge and appreciation of Renaissance painting.
His mortal remains reside below an elaborate tomb in a churchyard beside the Thames at Chiswick. The day finishes a few minutes away with an out-of-hours visit to Hogarth’s country retreat, recently refurbished and displaying a selection of his prints. For the art lover this is either one of the most frustrating days in London ever devised – several world-class museums are entered and most of their contents ignored – or it ranks as one of the most pleasurable and illuminating. The speaker could not be bettered: Lars Tharp is well known as a lecturer, broadcaster and writer, is Hogarth Curator at the Foundling Museum, having been its director, and is Vice-Chair of the Hogarth Trust.
Start: 10.10am, National Gallery, Sainsbury Wing. Finish: 5.15pm.
Start: 9.15am at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Smithfield. Finish: c. 6.45pm at Hammersmith Station (District, Piccadilly, and Hammersmith and City Lines, buses and taxis).
Price: £155. This includes a la carte lunch at the National Restaurant and mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshments. Group size: maximum 12 participants.
Price: £205, including lunch and refreshments, travel by private coach, and services of the lecturer and tour assistant.
Radio guides are used for audibility.
Group szie: maximum 18 participants.
London Days 2014
www.martinrandall.com St Pancras Station, wood engraving c. 1880.
London’s Great Railway Termini
known of all Victorian buildings. Its conversion for use as the Eurostar terminus, completed 2007, created one of the most exciting sets of public spaces in Europe. Start: 9.30am at Paddington Station. Finish: c. 4.45pm at St Pancras Station.
Paddington, King’s Cross & St Pancras Stations
Price: £175. This includes refreshments, lunch, travel by underground and special arrangements.
Thursday 3rd April 2014 (la 861) Lecturer: Professor Gavin Stamp
Group size: maximum 18 participants.
Two eyebrow-raising assertions: the railways were a Georgian invention, and the twenty-first century is witnessing a golden age of rail travel. The first is indisputable fact, if surprising to contemplate; the second is likely to provoke an unprintable retort from many a daily commuter.
London’s Underground railway
However, few would quibble with a statement that the greatest achievements of railway architecture and engineering are Victorian. But seeing and appreciating great stations such as those studied today is to a large extent possible because of enlightened intervention in the last ten or twenty years. The adaptation and upgrading of ageing infrastructure to meet modern requirements has been a major achievement, but so has the restoration and cleaning of historic fabric. And the sensitive addition of new structures of the highest quality of design has been a triumph.
A history & appreciation of the Tube Wednesday 5th March 2014 (la 824) Lecturer: Andrew Martin Shanghai has more track, Paris and New York have more stations, but London has by a clear margin the oldest urban underground railway in the world: 2013 is its 150th anniversary. It is also by far the most complicated, having started messily as several independent and often competing enterprises; contrary to sensible practice, strategic planning by unitary municipal government came towards the end of the process, not in advance of it.
Largely the creation of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Paddington is well preserved and in some ways the most appealing of London’s termini. King’s Cross has always been admired for the majesty of its unadorned functionality, but recent removal of twentieth-century clutter enables it to be better appreciated than for a century. And in 2012 the station acquired a magnificent new lattice steel foyer, the widest span in Europe apparently.
Modern London was shaped by the Tube rather than vice versa. Motivation and management has been various: commercial and philanthropic, entrepreneurial and Keynesian, expansionist and defeatist. The first ‘cut and cover’ lines, in trenches under
The 240 ft span of the St Pancras train shed far surpassed any previous structure in the world, and the contiguous Midland Grand Hotel by Sir George Gilbert Scott is perhaps the best4
London Days 2014
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‘I’ve always wanted to get to know London better and now I feel I do. The day is a great idea that really lived up to its promise.’ Comment from a participant on The London Backstreet Walk in 2013.
The London Backstreet Walk From Hyde Park to The Tower Thursday 1st May 2014 (la 885) Lecturer: Bridget Cherry Tuesday 20th May 2014 (la 905) Lecturer: Giles Waterfield Horse Guards Parade, engraving 1903.
Wednesday 11th June 2014 (la 931) Lecturer: Martin Randall
existing roads, were vigorously promoted by a socialistic solicitor. The ‘deep level’ tube lines were pushed through by a maverick American, while the suburban extensions between the wars fulfilled the utopian ideals of a dour Yorkshireman who came bitterly to regret the urban sprawl they spawned. Now, after decades of relative neglect, investment and improvement are on an unprecedented scale.
This walk is predicated on two beliefs. The first, platitudinous if rarely put to the test, is that the centre of London is not so large that people of ordinary fitness couldn’t walk everywhere. The second would perhaps be greeted in some quarters with scepticism: that one can traverse the capital from Hyde Park Corner to the Tower of London without walking along main roads for more than a couple of hundred yards in total.
The day is led by Andrew Martin, journalist, novelist, historian and author of Underground Overground: a Passenger’s History of the Tube (2012). During the 1990s he was ‘Tube Talk’ columnist for the Evening Standard. He stresses that his approach will not be drily academic or technical but anecdotal and affectionate, highlighting the human stories, the architecture and design, the overlooked detail and the downright odd.
This is London seen from parks, gardens, alleys, backstreets and pedestrian zones. As the crow flies, it is exactly 3⅓ miles, but as avoiding traffic requires some circuitous deviations the distance covered is nearer 6 miles. With three refreshment breaks and a lunch, this may be a tiring day but not really strenuous. The route – which is far from obvious, as may be understood – is laced with delights and surprises. Many famous buildings are passed or glimpsed, but largely the interest lies in unexpected clusters of pre-20th-century architecture, picturesque vistas and intriguing alleys, patches of parkland and well-tended gardens, recent architectural behemoths and mediaeval street patterns.
Among the places and themes examined are the first ever stations, still in use and little changed; the even earlier Brunel tunnel under the Thames, mother of all modern tunnels, opened 1841; the subtle beauties of Leslie Green’s tiled stations of the early 20th century and the revered modernist architecture of the 1930s; and the astonishing architectural bravura of the 1990s Jubilee Line Extension. The day is not all spent below ground; after all, 55% of the ‘Underground’ stations are overground. And by special arrangement, there is a visit to London Transport’s historic headquarters at 55 Broadway.
Some special arrangements have been made to enter a few buildings en route. Champagne at the Savoy and lunch in the grandest Elizabethan hall in England are among the treats. But the main point of the day is to provide the satisfaction of accomplishing a unique and fascinating journey through the heart of the most vibrant, varied and fascinating city in Europe.
Start: 9.00am at Baker Street Station. Finish: c. 5.00pm at Canary Wharf (10 minutes from Waterloo).
Start: 9.00am, Hyde Park Corner, Wellington Arch. Finish: Tower Hill Station at c. 5.45pm.
Fitness: participants need to be able to cope with busy trains and a considerable time on foot; standing or walking. There are a lot of station steps as well as a flight of 100 which are steep and narrow within 55 Broadway.
Price: £180. This includes refreshments and lunch, admission charges and donations. Group size: maximum 18 participants.
Price: £180. This includes all tube travel, lunch and refreshments.
Fitness: you should be able to walk at about 3 mph for at least an hour at a time. The terrain is fairly flat but there are steps (including one flight of 57 steps). Stout shoes are of course advisable – but no trainers please: they are specifically forbidden at the lunch venue.
Group size: maximum 16 participants. 5
London Days 2014
The National Gallery, steel engraving c. 1837.
Caravaggio & Rembrandt
Sculpture in London
A new naturalism
Art in streets, squares & parks
Thursday 27th February 2014 (la 812) Monday 3rd March 2014 (la 836) Lecturer: Dr Helen Langdon
Thursday 8th May 2014 (la 889) Lecturer: David Mitchinson Thousands of tons of sculpted bronze and stone adorn London’s streets and open spaces in the form of memorials and works of art. Many aspire to be both, with varying degrees of success. Only a small minority are sculptural masterpieces.
Few individuals have had such a revolutionary impact on the history of art as Caravaggio (1571–1610). His short life was violent and intermittently spent as a fugitive, but the impact of his artistic innovations was felt throughout Europe and through the whole course of the seventeenth century.
Artistic worth determines the selection, and months of diligent sifting has resulted in twenty-five or so major works scattered across central London, from Bishopsgate in the City to the banks of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. The day is led by David Mitchinson, writer and former director of the Henry Moore Foundation.
The National Gallery has three paintings by Caravaggio (sometimes one is on loan elsewhere), but the emphasis of this day is on putting the artist and his achievements in his Italian context and on exploring his influence beyond the peninsula. Among the other artists studied, therefore, are Rubens, Velasquez, and, above all, Rembrandt (1606–1669).
The focus is the twentieth century, with a little spillage into adjacent decades at both ends. Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Jacob Epstein, Eric Gill, Elizabeth Frink, Charles Sargeant Jagger and Fernando Botero are among the sculptors whose works are studied. Most are on display in public places but one, a Reclining Woman by Henry Moore, is accessible only by special arrangement. Many Londoners and visitors will have seen at least some of them; not many, we venture to suggest, have really looked at them long and hard and felt their power and their beauty.
The NG has one of the best collections of Rembrandt paintings in the world – the Dutchman never fell from favour among collectors, in sharp contrast with Caravaggio, who was practically forgotten in the nineteenth century. But they shared much, principally exploitation of the expressive and naturalistic potential of chiaroscuro (contrasting light and shade) to dramatic effect, and the use of humble models and realism rather than idealism to tell religious stories in a new and moving way.
Travel is by Underground and taxi. Participants need to be able to cope with quite a lot of time on foot, standing or walking. Lunch in a good restaurant and morning and afternoon refreshments are included.
Helen Langdon is author of what remains the best book on Caravaggio, and is one of MRT’s most admired lecturers. There are four sessions in the galleries of about an hour each. Between the sessions there are leisurely adjournments to the calm and quiet of The National Gallery Dining Rooms, the excellent restaurant run by Peyton and Byrne.
Start: 9.00am, The Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner. Finish: c. 5.15pm at Oxford Circus. Price: £160.
Start: 10.10am, National Gallery, Sainsbury Wing. Finish: 5.15pm.
Group size: maximum 18 participants.
Price: £155. This includes lunch at the National Restaurant and mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshments. Group size: maximum: 12 participants. 6
London Days 2014
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Seven Churches & a Synagogue
‘I thought it was an ideal mix of walking and learning plus time for sociability. A wonderful lunch venue in the City.’
Some of London’s finest historic buildings
Comment from a participant on Sculpture in London in 2013.
Tuesday 1st April 2014 (la 859) Lecturer: Giles Waterfield
Arts & Crafts
As the most populous metropolis in the west until well into the twentieth century, and as capital of a nation notorious for its multitudinous shades of churchmanship, it is not surprising that London possesses the largest number of churches and the greatest variety of ecclesiastical architecture to be found in any single city. Subjectivity must play a role in selecting these seven, as do logistics, but it is fair to claim that they are among the best of their kind. This is an extraordinarily fascinating day, enriching aesthetically, historically and spiritually.
Art, architecture & decoration from Bexleyheath to Chiswick Wednesday 30th April 2014 (la 876) Lecturer: Michael Hall For a long while Art & Crafts was the acceptable face of Victorian art. Sales of William Morris wallpaper boomed while many major Victorian buildings succumbed to the wrecker’s ball. Fortunately, loathing of all things Victorian has now largely evaporated, but creations which fit into the Arts & Crafts category – not so much a style as a basket of styles and attitudes – still stand out as exceptionally appealing and intriguing.
There are two mediaeval buildings, the imposing Romanesque remnant of the abbey church of St Bartholomew the Great and the glorious Gothic of the Knights Templars’ church. Wren’s ingenious domed church of St Stephen Walbrook, the faultless St Mary-le-Strand by Gibbs and the magnificent Anglican Baroque of Christ Church Spitalfields by Hawksmoor are outstanding examples of the classical phase of architecture – as is the Bevis Marks Synagogue of 1699, one of the City’s littleknown treasures. Butterfield’s All Saints Margaret Street is a seminal masterpiece of the Gothic Revival, of which the sublimely lovely St Cyprian’s, Clarence Gate, by Sir John Ninian Comper, is one of the last examples.
The day provides a splendid survey of this dissident and even subversive phenomenon, with excellent examples in many media. It begins with the 1859 Red House at Bexleyheath – as did the Movement – designed by Philip Webb for the Morris family. Other places seen, inter alia, are a City pub (the Black Friar), a Chelsea church (Holy Trinity Sloane Street), a dining room in South Kensington (in the V&A, for which it was made), a Hammersmith home (Emery Walker’s) and a wallpaper factory in Chiswick. (Among the present occupants are Martin Randall Travel, and participants are invited in for a drink.)
The speaker concentrates on the essentials, highlighting what is distinctive and significant about the architecture and decoration and pointing out only the most distinguished artworks and St-Bartholomew-the-Great, illustration by G.M. Ellwood from Some London Churches, 1911.
For its instigators, Arts and Crafts was as much a political and economic movement as a matter of aesthetic preferences. They championed craftsmanship and craftsmen and excoriated industrialisation and machine-made artefacts, with a dollop of Utopian socialism to varying degrees of commitment. A.W. Pugin was the precursor, Ruskin its prophet and Morris the high priest. The movement raised the status of designer to that of artist, strove to give everyone access to beauty and, despite a persistent and rose-tinted view of the Middle Ages, achieved emancipation from historic styles while incorporating exotic influences. Along the way it entwined with Art Nouveau, merged with the Aesthetic Movement and, according to a view which superficially seems perverse, gave birth to international modernism. Start: 9.00am at Tower Place East, London EC3. Finish: c. 7.00pm at Hammersmith station. Price: £205. This includes transport by coach and Underground, self-service lunch, morning, afternoon and evening refreshments, admission charges and donations. Group size: maximum 15 participants. 7
London Days 2014
furnishings. Time at each building does not allow for detail that is of merely local interest. Thus the day provides immersion in the beauty of greater things. Start: 9.15am, St-Bartholomew-the-Great in the City (tube station: Barbican). Finish: c. 5.45pm, Baker Street Station. Travel is by private coach, but there is quite a lot of walking. Price: £190. This includes lunch (at Middle Temple Hall, the finest Elizabethan interior in London), refreshments, one admission charge and a donation to each church.
The day finishes at the National Gallery. Start: 10.10am at the Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington. Finish: c. 6.00pm at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square. Price: £190. This includes two journeys by underground railway and two by taxi; admission charges; lunch and morning and afternoon refreshments. Group size: maximum 16 participants. From The Foreign Tour of Brown, Jones & Robinson, 1904.
Group size: maximum 24 participants.
Mediaeval Art in London The principal museum collections Thursday 6th March 2014 (la 828) Lecturer: John McNeill Most traces of mediaeval London have been erased by iconoclasm, bombardment, conflagration and, last but not least, three hundred years of outfitting the city for its role as the world’s leading commercial centre. But that is to reckon without the presence of some of the best museums in the world – and the role of luck in ensuring unexpected survivals. This day is concerned with what is now considered to be art, not with archaeology or architecture, and allows a view of most of the best European artworks which survive from around ad 500 to 1500 (early Renaissance items excepted). The recently opened Mediaeval and Renaissance Galleries in the Victoria & Albert Museum provide a brilliant display of a range of artefacts which makes it one of the best mediaeval museums anywhere. All techniques and materials are represented: sculpture in stone and ivory; gold, silver and iron; textiles and tapestries; glass, pottery, enamel, paint. Though smaller, the mediaeval holdings at the British Museum have also benefited from recent re-display. A distinguishing feature here is Byzantine art. Outstanding are the Lewis Chessmen, painted fragments from Westminster Palace and the celestially exquisite Royal Gold Cup. The altarpiece from Westminster Abbey, now in the Abbey Museum, is but a fragment, but what remains justifies claims that it is the finest panel painting surviving from thirteenth-century Europe. The Courtauld Gallery has a remarkable collection of early Italian painting and Gothic ivory carvings, while the National Gallery has the finest holding of early Italian painting outside Italy.
M ARTIN RANDALL T R AV E L ABTA No.Y6050
Making a booking There is no booking form. Just contact us with: Your name(s) and contact details. Name, date and code of the event(s) you are booking. Payment. If by credit or debit card, give the card number, start date and expiry date (but for security not in an e-mail). Confirmation will be sent to you upon receipt of payment. Further details including joining instructions will be sent about two weeks before the tour. Cancellation. We will return the full amount if you notify us 22 or more days before the event. We will retain 50% if cancellation is made within three weeks and 100% if within three days.
Forthcoming new London Days Titian in London; London’s Squares; Stained Glass; Handel in London; The New City; London’s High Places; Great Halls; Dickens’ London; Tate Britain. Contact us to register your interest.
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