Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle
LONDON is a celebration of our capital city;
a book beautifully illustrated by Richard Turpin's exceptional
photographs. If, though, it's postcard images of London you're
looking for, it isn't for you.
Not that such images aren't included, for they are - the Tower,
as seen from across the river; George Frampton's bronze Peter
Pan, in Kensington Gardens; the Thames Barrier, beneath a cloudless
night sky - it's all there.
But, for the most part, the images are of a far more intimate
nature, revealing hidden aspects of an altogether surprising city.
Take for instance, the beautiful clockwork models of Messrs Fortnum
and Mason that appear, on the hour, every hour; the brightly-coloured,
shuttered windows of Spitalfields, or the beautiful wrought iron
gate of Lincoln's Inn - images that a less discerning eye might
overlook, but which, nonetheless, are as integral to the city's
ambience as the more favoured haunts of tourists.
For convenience, London is divided into 11 sections.
They include The Seat of Power and The South Bank, headings that
clearly speak for themselves.
But, unlike some publications, London goes a step further,
exploring in Palaces, Prospects and Villas, the city's outer environs
- Kew Gardens, Hampton Court Palace and Richmond
Park, for example.
They, by past association with the capital, are as much a part
of London's heritage as Trafalgar
Square or the Houses
And accompanying Turpin's images, is Louise Nicholson's text.
Informative though never stifling, it does just occasionally disappoint.
I was particularly intrigued by the photograph of the Royal Exchange's
gilded grasshopper but could find no explanation of its significance
there. So, if anybody knows....
This is, however, a minor criticism of a book that serves its
subject well. London is, indeed, an inspiration for armchair
sightseers and dedicated explorers alike and a welcome addition
to any bookcase.
A final thought - given that the forename, Richard was frequently
transmuted to Dick - could photographer, Richard Turpin, and a
certain highwayman be related? Or is it simply a coincidence?