It’s been a while since James Christie’s first sale in 1766. Christie’s now offers more than 300 auctions a year in areas from fine art to jewellery to wine with prices ranging from $200 to $100 million. One of London’s two most famous auction houses is not always invitation only. You can attend pre-sale views for free as well as Christie’s lates on the first Tuesday of the month. Images are from October, 2016.
“With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than transform the world with beauty”
A poet, designer and socialist, William Morris believed that beauty should be available to everyone. That was his answer to the Victorian industrialization. Of middle-class upbringing, he surprised his family when he decided to become an artist rather than a clergyman and set up what became a hugely successful interior design firm. Concerned about inequality and problems in the society, he wanted a revolution. A piece of advice from William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
You can learn the story of the man and his design at the house where he lived in the 19th century in Walthamstow, which is now a gallery and the only public museum of arts and craft in the country.
This website is all about free events and venues in London including one of my favourite places — the Barbican Center. It has been a magnet for culture vultures for years since opening its doors in the 1980s. The new complex dominates the area almost obliterated by German bombs in WWII. What is now a sprawling center used to be a street which took its name from a watch tower adjacent to the London wall built by the Romans. It has more than 2,100 homes in a maze of towers, terraces and walkways, and its own lakes and gardens. There is also a church, St. Giles, where Oliver Cromwell got married and John Milton was buried, a sports center, a library, restaurants, cinemas, concert halls, exhibition space and a conservatory.
London’s largest outside of Kew Gardens with 2,000 species of tropical plants, it is open to public on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A tip for parents: one child under 12 can eat for free at the Barbican Kitchen for every adult ordering a main meal. Cinema tickets are half price on Mondays. You can go on the Big Barbican Adventure to explore the nooks and crannies of the center in a trail for families. Pick up a free kit from the Box Office. Check the website for other free events.
Wonder what that is? Come to the Sway Gallery. Launched this year in vibrant Old Street, it is aiming to introduce to Europe gems of Japanese craftsmanship. Furoshiki is a simple square-shaped piece of fine cloth traditionally used in Japan to wrap and transport goods. www.sway-gallery.com
Not only the 5th of November and the plot to blow up the Parliament but those who have fallen in the war giving their lives for the sake of peace. Follow the Remembrance Art Trail created by award-winning artist Mark Humphrey in association with Royal British Legion in Canary Wharf. Walk around, stop by, reflect and contemplate. Open until Nov. 13. Free guided tours are also available.