Friday, 22 May 2015

This is London





The Royal Horticultural Society's annual flower show held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea is almost over for another year. We didn't go this time, but we enjoyed the coverage on TV. Yesterday one of the presenters remarked on the huge numbers of visitors despite the inclement weather.  I had to smile because earlier in the day I was leafing through "This is London" by M. Sasek and come across this picture; 










This is London

But don't worry, most of the time it looks like this; 


The Tower of London


St. Paul's Cathedral 

The Houses of Parliament

The book features many other famous buildings, but my favourite illustrations are of the people - like this one of The Guards.



or this group of school children



City Gents


A Chelsea Pensioner


I also like the glimpses of 'old London'

like this famous shop ~

and these Elizabethan houses in High Holborn

Covent Garden Market



The New York Times Book Review, October 18, 1959, perfectly sums up this quirky book.

There are not many words in Miroslav Sasek's This is London, but those few are most memorable...

The colour is magnificent and uninhibited, the draughtsmanship brilliant but unobtrusive (one gradually realizes that these bold, stylized drawings are minutely accurate as well as true in general impression). The humour is characteristic and pervasive but always subordinate. The jokes are all pointed. Miroslav Sasek has drawn the visitor's London from foggy arrival to rainy departure. His book is a series of impressions, unrelated, one would think, but they add up to a remarkably complete picture of the modern city. The words and pictures are closely integrated; each has it terse style and humour.








M. Sasek ~ Universe Publishing ~ Originally Published in 1959 ~ New Updated Version 2004 





This is London is now sold, thank you for your interest.

39 comments:

  1. HeHe! It's no secret...I don't do cities!
    And...I hate London...Only been five
    times, once age five with Mum&Dad...
    three times with my daughter on school
    trips, and once for my audition at R.A.D.A.
    Only city l ever liked and fell in love with
    was Munich...! Stayed there for six months.

    Nice to see the Coldstream Guards...My Grandfather
    And Father were both in that regiment..I'd planned to
    join at 15...Failed the medical, don't laugh, l have high
    arches, as a foot regiment, that was a No! No!
    But my feet never stopped me being a dancer...! So,
    the rest is history!

    HeHe! So, l'll stick to and remain a country Walla...!
    Fresh air, fields and trees....God bless Dorset!
    Gods Own....! :).

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    1. Hi Willie, I’m a country girl at heart, but I still love the occasional day trip to London. I get all excited on the way up but am always glad to arrive back at Templecombe Station! Once a country girl always a country girl I suppose. God bless Dorset – absolutely - but can we bless Somerset as well? We moved ‘over the border’ six years ago – we were at Stalbridge now Henstridge – still not sure if we did the right thing.

      Maybe not joining the regiment was the best thing that could happen – I don’t know how much dancing you would have managed if you had got in. Life has a way of doing that – a tweak here and a tweak there, but it usually turns out OK in the end.

      Have a lovely Bank Holiday Weekend, Barbara x

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    2. On my knees a moment go...Well, still the best
      way to say your prayers...! :). Asked the almighty
      about Somerset, he'll see what he can do...Move
      the boundary l expect! :). HeHe! Somerset's lovely
      to..Well, all the west country in fact!
      HeHe! Don't move any further north though...You'll
      need a passport!

      It's strange when your young...Now my Mum wanted me
      to be a priest..Yes! a priest! God! ooops! sorry Lord! HeHe!
      But just think...I could have been Pope by now...A Soulful,
      Funky, Dancing, Cat Loving Pope...! Dressed in 'Pink'.
      "Get on down brother". :>).

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    3. Dear Willie, you are truly a gift sent from God – priest or no priest! I have an image of you dressed head to toe in pink riding around in a blinged up pink Popemobile, accompanied by several cats (also dressed head to toe in pink) music blaring, and you happily doing your thing! Go Willie!

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  2. LOL, I don't have the London book, but I still have my old This is New York. I love these books, even if they are a bit out of date and they still give you a feel for the cities Sasek wrote about. This illustrations make me want to hop on a plane and go back to London. (The dollar is doing well agains the Euro and the pound, which may be one of the reasons for the influx of visitors.)

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    1. Hi Alex, they’ve updated the London one, but it still retains its lovely ‘old-fashioned’ feel. I only live a few hours away from London, but I must agree with you – I feel like hoping on a train! Thanks for coming over, Barbara

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  3. Oh those illustrations are brilliant. It certainly does sum up London. We went to the flower show but were disappointed because all tickets were sold out. We should have checked but were thinking like old times we could get tickets even at the last moment:-)

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    1. Hello Shashi, they are great aren’t they? What a shame about the flower show it’s such a worldwide event these days and is always busy. The last time we went it was really difficult to walk around the exhibits. I honestly think you get to see much more on TV. But you do miss the atmosphere and the wonderful perfumes. I’m sure we will go again before too long.

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  4. I love the drawings in This is London. I´ve enjoyed London the few times I have visited. One expects it to rain of course! Looks like a delightful book.

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    1. Hello Darlene, it always rains - it just wouldn't be England if it didn't. Thanks for your visit, Barbara.

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  5. Dearest Barbara! What PERFECTLY LOVELY pictures from another great era of illustrated books! Magnificent dreams of London and iconic places and people. I hope you are having good weather? We are finally in spring and enjoying lots of green and color.

    Have a lovely weekend dearest Barbara! Anita

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    1. Hello Anita, the weather could not be better. It's warm, sunny and perfect! It’s also a Bank Holiday weekend, so we are feeling very blessed. Winter must have felt very long for you this year, so I’m really pleased spring has arrived at last. Enjoy it and the weekend. Much love, Barbara xx

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  6. What wonderful pictures. I live in London and loathe it, but if it looked like this I could easily love it. I work about three hundred yards from the flower show and it's been a royal pain in the... you get the idea. I'll be soooooooo glad when it's over.

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    1. I was wondering how you were getting on with Chelsea this year. It can’t be any fun living there, but I do love it so! How about doing a house swap next year? You and your family could spend a week in Somerset and Terry and I could have a week in London – sounds like the perfect solution to me! Enjoy the Bank Holiday, Barbara

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  7. Oh I love love love these paintings. The style, the people and their fashion, and that Old Curiosity Shop! And yes, it makes me want to visit London (in the period featured in the book). Have a glorious weekend, Barbara. xoxo

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    1. Hello Claudine, I had a feeling you would enjoy them. I love them and spent ages just looking at them all. Thanks for the weekend wishes, I wish the same for you. Barbara xx

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  8. I love these pictures, too. They bring back my very early memories of London from the 1960s, and my dad actually did have a bowler hat!

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    1. Hello Sue, I worked in London in the 60s travelling up each day by train. City workers with furled umbrellas, rolled-up newspapers, briefcases and bowler hats were very normal back then. I feel nostalgic for it all now!

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  9. These are wonderful, I think a wee visit to London is long overdue. I particularly like the St. Pauls Cathedral one, such detail!

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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    1. Hi Lainy, how lovely to hear from you, thanks for commenting on this post and on my other blog – glad you enjoyed my sister’s story. A visit to you is long overdue. I will be over directly. Barbara.

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  10. Perseverance pays off!
    I had trouble yesterday signing in so that I could comment on this picturesque post. I'm glad I did as it gave me an excuse to come back and enjoy it again. My favourite picture is the one of the girls for no other reason than Gingham (looks all around to see if anyone is listening) is secretly my favourite pattern.
    Lovely. Thank you for sharing

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    1. It’s OK your ‘Gingham Secret’ is safe with me! Gingham always reminds me of summer days from the post, and of school uniform.
      I hope your weekend is going well. xx

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  11. This book looks fabulous. I really enjoyed seeing the pictures you shared because the style pulls you right in. The vibrant colors and unique style go very well with the words. The details are amazing. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Stephanie, I had a lot of fun deciding which pictures to share.

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  12. Hi Barbara,

    That quirky book has a quintessential ambience of a London that floats around in my mind. You might like to know that this post has a special significance to me. I was born in Chelsea in a home just of the King's Road.

    Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday Weekend, my kind friend.

    Gary

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    1. I didn’t know that Gary. I’ve worked in London but never lived there.
      I hope you are enjoying the Bank Holiday – I’m being very lazy, which makes a nice change. Barbara x

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  13. Perfect illustrations! I visited London ten years ago and I have to say, this sums up my take on it. It was such a lovely place to visit. Paris...not so much!

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    1. Hi Stephanie, glad you enjoyed your visit to London. We are spending a few days in London followed by a few days in Paris soon so will be able to compare the two.

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  14. Thank you for this tempting look at London. Too crowded, too busy and too polluted for my liking but these illustrations (especially the one of the London Gents) make it look wonderful.

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    1. Hi Tracy, I agree but this lovely book makes one forget all that. Thanks for your visit, Barbara.

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  15. Ooh, I absolutely love the illustrations, they put me in mind of Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline illustrations. x

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    1. Hi Yvonne, yes, absolutely – especially the girls in their gingham dresses. I knew it reminded me of something but couldn't think what. xx

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    2. Ah yes, "In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines." xx

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    3. They left the house at half past nine
      In two straight lines in rain or shine-
      The smallest one was Madeline.

      I just couldn’t resist adding a bit more! xx

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  16. I think I might have seen this book in Piccadilly Waterstones. The illustrations are wonderful, especially The Guards.

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    1. Hi Nikki-ann, well if it’s good enough for Piccadilly Waterstones it’s certainly good enough for me. I can imagine they would be selling it there – probably the perfect place. x

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  17. These are wonderful pictures Barbara, I love the style and the use of colour!

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    1. Thanks Lindsay, glad you like them.

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  18. omg, lol, what a keeper this book is. I loved the first illustration - this is London. Too funny.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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