Street Art: Kingston upon Thames

Colour Your Senses in Kingston (upon Thames) was designed to welcome people safely back into the city after all the covid restrictions. The town centre has been dressed with colourful cross-street banners, bunting, floor stencils, floral displays and exhibition boards, providing a splash of vibrant colour.

Market trader whistling,
Musicians singing,
Oars swhooshing and
Ducks quacking.

It’s a busy city centre and no more so than on a Saturday afternoon so the daughter and I headed off along the riverside whilst the granddaughters went clothes shopping for the all important 18th birthday family meal that evening.

On our way back we came across some hoardings around an empty building plot behind the Bentall Centre that had been artistically and colourfully decorated. I included a few images of the hoardings in my Surrey round-up post, but there were more. I particularly liked this one.

I often wonder what an artist is thinking about when they create their paintings. Split personality? Torn apart? Gender confusion? Hanging by a thread? Who knows.

There can be no confusion about this one though. Swans as we know, mate for life, and the River Thames is well known for its swans. Possibly by Skyhigh.

My first impression of the one above was of penguins, but the one on the right is a woodpecker, not sure about the one on the left. It’s hard to track down these artists, but the A51 tag led me to Aspire who seems to paint animals and birds that are on the decline.

.EPOD His professional skillset (draftsman, fashion designer and illustrator) and the inspirations of his youth manifest vividly in his paintings and murals. Sultry figures draped in elegant materials. Mirrored vessels in otherworldly landscapes. Cigarettes hanging from kiss me lips.

281 bus rounding cape horn in a storm by Tom Pierce

Whatever you might think about graffiti or street art / murals and I confess that a lot are not to my taste, they do often brighten up what can be a dull and depressing area and being in a public space makes art accessible to all.

Yet Another Post Box

A few years ago I wrote my first post about post boxes – the ones you post letters in, not the mailboxes that belong to a house – and how many different ones there are. I am still searching for a Queen Victoria one, but think I have located a couple near me so I shall be heading off with my camera to track them down.

This one caught my eye due to the fact that someone had yarn-bombed it in support of the invasion of Ukraine which sadly is still happening.

Elizabeth II

There are over 800 different types of post boxes in the UK alone. Perhaps you have an unusual one to share? If you do then please post it and link to this one in the comments or via a pingback. I’d love to see it.

festival of spring #6

Seen in south-east England over Easter – so much blossom lining the suburban streets and the parks alongside the River Thames, from the purest white and the palest of pink to a deep magenta red.

I am going to join in with Dawn’s Festival of Spring which will last for 10 -12 weeks in celebration of this season.

Glastonbury Abbey

If you are in the Mendips region of Somerset you really shouldn’t miss visiting the wonderful Wells Cathedral nor the historic town of Glastonbury, possibly the quirkiest town in England. Steeped in history, myth and the smell of incense, it may not be for everybody.

However, do not let that put you off visiting the beautiful site of Glastonbury Abbey. Since Medieval times, the abbey has held legendary status as the earliest Christian foundation in Britain linked to Joseph of Arimathea and the burial place of King Arthur.

It’s a peaceful place – 36 acres of grounds to explore. Plenty of benches to sit and relax and take in the atmosphere. The remains of the abbey to walk around, which must have been enormous in its day. A medieval herb garden. Views of the Glastonbury Tor.

The abbey was built on the myth that followers of Christ settled here within the 1st century CE and built ‘The Old Church’. Abbot Dunstan remodelled and expanded the abbey and by the time of the coming of the Normans, the abbey was the wealthiest in England.

Continue reading Glastonbury Abbey

Wells Cathedral

The West Front (around 300 of the original 400 medieval statues remain.)

Our visit to Wells last May would not have been complete without a visit to the cathedral there. One of the many that we have not visited previously and a main reason for choosing to stay in England’s smallest city. Not that either of us is remotely religious, but we can’t help admire the craftsmanship that goes into these beautiful buildings, and even I can appreciate the peacefulness that can be found inside.

Master mason William Joy  proposed the Scissor Arches (below) to prevent the collapse of a tower after a lead covered wooden spire was added in 1313. This proved to be too heavy for the foundations. Put in place between 1338 and 1348, they still stand today and are one of the most magnificent architectural features of Wells Cathedral.

The ‘new’ church which was to become the cathedral of the Bishop of Bath & Wells was the first to be built in the Early English Gothic style, during 1175 – c. 1250.  It was built on a new site to the north of an old minster church. Over the following three hundred years there was extension and revision, in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles in turn, as architectural fashion dictated.

The famous Wells clock is considered to be the second oldest clock mechanism in Britain, and probably in the world, to survive in original condition and still in use. The original works were made about 1390 and the clock face is the oldest surviving original of its kind anywhere. When the clock strikes every quarter, jousting knights rush round above the clock and the Quarter Jack bangs the quarter hours with his heels.

With its intricately painted interior dial depicting the Earth surrounded by the sun, moon and stars, it’s unique in showing a geocentric worldview – when the clock was created in 1390, most people still believed that the Earth was at the centre of the Universe. 

Continue reading Wells Cathedral