Saturday, 27 April 2013

Tower Bridge and its exhibition of This is London by Miroslav Sasek

I promised more about Tower Bridge in my last post so here it is.
Several of us children's authors and illustrators from CWISL were lucky enough to be invited to the opening to an exhibition of  Miroslav Sasek's 1959 children's book, THIS IS LONDON in an exceptional site - the top of Tower Bridge.

When I first moved to the East End I spotted this mosaic view of Tower Bridge on a school near me.

Next time I crossed Tower Bridge I was on my bike, and had to wait for the road to sink back to a horizontal, after a ship passed underneath it.

Waiting  by the north tower, for Tower Bridge road to right itself.

I never dreamed that a year or so later I'd be inside it, high up on one of the Walkways looking over the Thames across London as dusk descended (sorry about the bad photos but it gives an idea!)

Hard to imagine the Tower Bridge Walkways were once open to the sky,
and a place for illicit rendez-vous.
Now there are screens upon screens to view inside and out, 
including enlargened panels of Sasek's THIS IS LONDON.

Sasek is one of my favourite illustrators.  I'm so glad his books from the 1950s and 60s have been reprinted the past few years.   He has a rare gift for bottling the visual essence of a city and its people, and avoiding cliché.  The work is beautifully measured across the white of the spreads -  minimal, sharp and funny.

I had hoped to see original paintings here - but learnt they were dispersed or lost after his death.  If anyone knows where one is, please let me know!  You can see more illustrations and find out more about the mysterious Sasek here.

In any case, it was an interesting display.  
It's hard to give a proper sense of it so see it for yourself if you can.  
The Sasek exhibition is on for a long while and Tower Bridge is open every day.
Bring kids and/or sketching gear and a better camera than mine!

There's a large map of the covers of all the books Sasek illustrated across the world.

On my way down I saw where I'd waited on my bike for Tower Bridge road to come down.
Hard to imagine this road lifting!

Tower Bridge shining behind Thames barges near Wapping 

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