My job gives me the privilege of being out and about every day in London.

Whether leading a walk, visiting a museum or gallery, or just enjoying the city's bustle or its quiet spaces, there's always something new to see, something interesting going on.

In this blog, I seek to reflect the ever-changing patterns of life in the greatest City on Earth!

Getting to Grips with the National Gallery

Not just a run-through the highlight picture – this course spread over 6 2-hour sessions takes you through the Collection in a series of themes:

1. STEPPING THROUGH THE COLLECTION

Rather than just looking at the highlights of the Nat Gall, we will focus in week one on the development of western art through the categories of devotional works, portraiture, mythological subjects, landscapes and genre paintings.

2. GETTING BENEATH THE SURFACE

Concentrating on the Renaissance, we will examine painting surfaces from wood panels to canvas, the use of tempera and oil media, the making and use of pigments, the symbolism and meaning of colour, and changing techniques

3. SYMBOLISM AND ALLEGORY IN ART

We will learn how to decode the many symbols artists used in paintings to add layers of meaning to the main scene. Painters also frequently use the language of allegory to create ‘message pictures’.

4. UNDERSTANDING THE IMPRESSIONISTS

Why did the works of these artists cause such outrage in the Paris Salon? We will look at the techniques used by artists such as Monet, Seurat and Van Gogh and at what shaped their subject matter.

More quirky facts about Kew Gardens

Did you know that the seemingly delicate and intricate giant lily is so buoyant it can support a small child

Gentle Author’s LONDON ALBUM

Following massive success of SPITALFIELDS LIFE went to aunch in Christ Church of Gentle Author’s latest book of evocative photographs of old Spitalfields and the East End. Great ringing of Christ Church bells

Story of Abraham Tapestries, Hampton Court Palace

It’s wonderful to see the 4th of the 10 tapestries that make up this astronomically valuable set, commissioned by Henry VIII for the Great Hall at Hampton Court, restored and re-hung. For so many decades only to be seen in black and white pix, the glory of the Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek with the variety of textures – leather, wood, bread, flesh, hair, marble – all incredibly conveyed by the Brussels weavers is a joy to behold. Just don’t walk past these wonderful tapestries, valued at one time second-only to the Crown Jewels.

Hampton Court & Daniel Marot

When William of Orange left Holland to be crowned King of England, he was followed by one Daniel Marot, who had fled France following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.  Marot’s influence was pervasive at the Court of of William III.  He became the first in Holland and England to try to co-ordinate architecture and interior decoration and to design all the decorative elements of a room. How sad it is that the wonderful wall panels of Queen Mary’s Closet at Hampton are no longer accessible to the pubic, as the room is being used as a store room and full of scaffolding.  But he was also a garden designer – the east gardens here were designed by Marot, with the parterre and goose foot  yew bordered alleys. far less subtle today, but the outline is still there. An extraordinary man – he designed William III’s state coach – today used by the Speaker of the House of Commons, he strongly inspired the Great State beds of the late 17C, and he was at the centre of a whole web of Huguenot craftsmen.  And then he left, back to Holland, following the death of William in 1702.  What more would he have done, had he stayed?