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Faces of a Queen: The Armada Portraits of Elizabeth I Exhibition at the Queen’s House in Greenwich


Last week I took the short ride over to Greenwich to come face to face with the three surviving versions of the famous Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I which are on public display together in a free exhibition at the Queen’s House in Greenwich. The exhibition, entitled Faces of a Queen: The Armada Portraits of Elizabeth I, is the first time the paintings have been displayed together in their 430-year history.

The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, circa 1588 © National Maritime Museum, London

The Armada Portraits  are considered one of the most iconic images in British history and commemorates the most famous conflict in Elizabeth’s reign when the Spanish Armada failed in their attempt to invade England in 1588. Royal Museums Greenwich showcases its own version of the Armada Portrait alongside the two other surviving versions, from the collections of Woburn Abbey and the National Portrait Gallery.

The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. From the Woburn Abbey Collection

For all the fame of the Armada Portraits, very little is known about them, they were believed to have been painted shortly after the Armada, in 1588. The origins of the paintings and artists are shrouded in mystery with some experts suggesting that three different artists or studios could be responsible for the three principal Armada Portraits working from a single template.

Queen Elizabeth I by Unknown English artist, circa 1588 © National Portrait Gallery, London

The Queen’s House is a wonderful setting for the exhibition which presents an unprecedented opportunity for visitors to explore closely the  three iconic depictions of Elizabeth I. In all three versions, the Queen is shown in a rich gold-embroidered and jewelled dress with seascapes showing different episodes of the Spanish Armada story.

The Queen’s House is part of Royal Museums Greenwich. It is 17th century Palladian villa, designed by Inigo Jones, which is situated on the site of the original Greenwich Palace complex, which was a major political centre of the Tudor dynasty and the birthplace of Elizabeth I herself.

So in many respects, Greenwich with its Tudor and Maritime history is the ideal place to full understand how the paintings relate to an important part of British history, England’s defeat of the Spanish Armada was considered one of the greatest military victories in English history and Elizabeth was celebrated in portraits, pageants, and the literature of the day.  Evidence of the  Elizabethan era has largely disappeared from Greenwich, these portraits are a reminder that for hundreds of years that this part of London was the centre of British power and prestige.

Faces of a Queen: The Armada Portraits of Elizabeth I is open from 13 February – 31 August 2020 at the Queen’s House in Greenwich alongside the Woburn Treasures exhibition that runs from 13 February to 17 January 2021, both are free to visit.

Winter Lights Festival 2020 at Canary Wharf from 16 to 25th January 2020

If you are suffering January blues, it might worth making your way to Canary Wharf for their Winter Lights Festival. The festival returns for a sixth year bringing together some of the most imaginative light artists to create spectacular artworks, installations and experiences.

Some old favourites return and each year the festival seems to get bigger and better. The festival is great for all the family with plenty to entertain the children.

This year there are over 25 spectacular installations, there are pieces which can be admired from afar as well as those which will allow people to get up close and interact with them.

1: Mi-E Dor De Tine by Daisler Association, Middle Dock
This romantic message declares “I miss you”. Whilst there is no perfect translation, this is the closest adaptation for this Romanian saying. It refers to a deeper meaning about longing or missing someone.

Romania

2: Bit.fall by Julius Popp, Chancellor Passage
An ever-changing cascade of words created by thousands of falling illuminated water droplets. The words are derived from a number of live news sources including The Times, The Guardian and the BBC News.

Germany

3: The Clew by OTTOTTO, Cubitt Steps
Made from 100 circles of red light, The Clew is a beautiful structure created around the Cubitt Steps Bridge.

Portugal

4: Liquid Sound by Entertainment Effects, Cabot Square
Once again, the much-loved fountain in Cabot Square has a makeover for Winter Lights with a display of music and light.

UK

5: Absorbed by Light by Gali May Lucas, Cabot Square
Take a seat in between the three figures of Absorbed by Light, designed by the British Gali May Lucas and executed by Berlin-based sculptor Karoline Hinz.
Experience how it feels to be next to the characters on the bench.

UK

6: Sky on Earth by UAII Studio, Columbus Courtyard
This atmospheric UK premiere is inspired by the experience of a night flight over storm clouds. Columbus Courtyard will be transformed into an electrifying life sized cloud made of foam.

Czech Republic

7: Time & Tide by Paul & Pute, Columbus Courtyard
Time & Tide, with its hourglass design and colours inspired by nature, reminds us of the urgency of halting the plastic pollution of our oceans.

UK / Thailand

8: Shish-ka-buoy by Angus Muir Design, Westferry Circus
This fun installation is equally interesting by day as it is under the cover of darkness; during daylight hours, the large cluster landlocked six metre tall buoys absorb the light and give off a magical glow.
By night, thousands of LEDs inside create a whirl of colours and spherical gradients in this installation made from fully recyclable polyethylene marine buoys.

New Zealand

9: Lactolight by Lactolight, Westferry Circus
7,344 recycled plastic milk bottles become individual pixels in a giant low-res video screen. Programmed light depicting colours and patterns combined with a custom built soundscape gives you an overall sensory experience.

UK

10: Stratum by Studio Chevalvert, Westferry Circus
Stratum is an interactive installation made up of 92 illuminated metal totems. Visitors are invited to move their hand over the sensor to trigger movement in the artwork.

France

11: Mountain of Light by Angus Muir Design, Wren Landing
Mountain of Light is a monolithic installation, towering to a height of four meters and brought to life by a dramatic repertoire of lighting effects that begin with subtle changes in shade and culminate in an intense mash up of colours.

New Zealand

12: Ditto by Ithaca Studio, Wren Landing
A column of light repeating infinitely above and below the audience. Enter the space and experience light and sound swirling around overhead and underfoot trailing into infinity and creating beautiful reflections and colours in both daytime and evening.

UK

13: Luma Paint Light Graffiti by Lichtfaktor and Bomber Graffiti, Crossrail Place Roof Garden
Create your own unique light painting!
In 2008 Lichtfaktor developed the first real time Light Painting Software. It works on any object, from cars to buildings, transforming almost any object into a living paint canvas so you can create stunning paintings in just a few seconds.

Germany

14: Aquatics by Philipp Artus, Crossrail Place, Level -1, Quayside
Animated water creatures swim and dive around each other in this mesmerizing and delightful interactive light installation.

Germany

15: Desire by UxU Studio, Crossrail Place, Level -1, Quayside
Desire is a playful, sensual design that at first glance looks like giant, red lips. From the side, the image of the lips disappears, and you see a heartbeat instead – a heart beating faster with strong desires.

Taiwan

16: Constellations by Studio Joanie Lemercier, North Dock, viewing point at Crossrail Place, Level -1 Quayside
Making its London debut, Joanie Lemercier’s Constellations takes us on a trip through space with visuals projected onto a giant water screen with an electronic soundscapes by producer Paul Jebanasam.

France / Belgium

17: Seed of Life by Amberlights, Canada Place, Level -1, outside Waitrose
Enter the Seed of Life and discover a metallic rainbow spectrum of colours created by reflections and refractions from the natural elements of the daylight.

UK

18: Lightbench by LBO Lichtbank, Canada Square Park
A firm Canary Wharf favourite, our ten stunning light benches, form part of the permanent art collection.
Germany

19: Neon Tree by Hawthorn, Canada Square Park
Neon flex will transform a tree into a striking sculpture in the heart of Canada Square Park. This colourful display will shine subtly by day and dazzle by night.

UK

20: The Bra Tree, Canada Square Park
Drawing inspiration from a tradition on the American ski slopes of throwing your bra onto a tree, Canary Wharf will host their own special illuminated version.

21: Affinity by Amigo & Amigo and S1T2, Montgomery Square
Affinity is an immersive, interactive light sculpture inspired by the dazzling complexity and connectivity of the human brain.

Australia

22: Pools of Light, Jubilee Park
The ponds at Jubilee Park are getting a makeover for Winter Lights. See them transformed by thousands of colourful illumined orbs, weaving a stunning stream of light and sound through the park.

23: Squiggle by Angus Muir Design, Jubilee Park
Squiggle is a winding mass of 450 metres of digital neon tubing twisting and turning to fill Jubilee Park. This unique sensory journey is created by the artist’s innovative manipulation of space and sense.

New Zealand

24: 16 bits by Parker Heyl, Jubilee Place
Parker Heyl has a mechanical engineering and robotics background and is interested in kinetic sculpture for live performance.

The installation was developed as part of the Analog Future project at the Interactive Architecture Lab at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
USA
http://www.parkerheyl.com

25: Chromatic Play by Tine Bech Studio, Jubilee Park
These fun, illuminated sculptures invite you to interact with them. Each glowing creature has alien-like antennae fitted with interactive sensors, so when a visitor is in close proximity their presence is detected and the colours begin to change.

Denmark

26: SASHA Trees by ADAM DecoLight, Ten Bank Street Park
Ten Bank Street becomes a magical winterscape as this new park is illuminated with glowing fir trees. The striking neon colours of the trees create a fantastic contrast with the surrounding buildings.

Estonia

The Festival takes place from Tuesday 16 – Saturday 25 January 2019 between 4-10pm throughout Canary Wharf, the festival is free to attend.

Click here to download a map to help guide you round the festival

Faces of a Queen: The Armada Portraits of Elizabeth I at the Queen’s House in Greenwich from 13 February 2020 until 31 August 2020

The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, circa 1588 © National Maritime Museum, London

Something to look forward to in the new year is the Faces of a Queen: The Armada Portraits of Elizabeth I exhibition at the Queen’s House in Greenwich (13 February 2020 until 31 August 2020). The exhibition presents the three surviving versions of the iconic Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I and it will be the first time the paintings have been displayed together in their 430-year history.

Considered, one of the most iconic images in British history, the Armada Portrait commemorates the most famous conflict in Elizabeth’s reign, the Spanish Armada’s failed attempt to invade England in 1588. Royal Museums Greenwich will showcase its own version of the Armada Portrait alongside the two other surviving versions, from the collections of Woburn Abbey and the National Portrait Gallery.

The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.  From the Woburn Abbey Collection

Athough the artists of the paintings is unknown it is believed that three versions of the Armada Portrait were painted shortly after the event, circa 1588. The three portraits united at the Queen’s House are the only contemporary versions in existence and the only three featuring seascapes that depict episodes from the Spanish Armada in the background.

The portraits will be displayed in the Queen’s House, the 17th century house, designed by Inigo Jones which is part of the original Greenwich Palace complex, which was a centre for the Tudor dynasty and the birthplace of Elizabeth I.

Queen Elizabeth I by Unknown English artist, circa 1588 © National Portrait Gallery, London

In all three versions of the iconic portrait, the dominating figure of the Queen in a rich gold-embroidered and jewelled dress, behind her are two seascapes, depicting different episodes in the Spanish Armada. The portraits were used to present a public image of Elizabeth I, presenting her as a powerful, authoritative and majestic figure.

The exhibition will be a rare opportunity to see iconic portraits of Elizabeth I in a location that will be forever be associated with the Tudor world.

Faces of a Queen: The Armada Portraits of Elizabeth I will be open from 13 February – 31 August 2020 at the Queen’s House in Greenwich and is free to visit.

The Royal Drawing School Foundation Year 2018/19 End of Year Exhibition at Trinity Buoy Wharf from 14 June to 20 June 2019

Trinity Buoy Wharf is home to a number of creative organisations, one of these organisations is The Royal Drawing School which is holding its Foundation Year End of Year Exhibition 2018-19 between Friday 14 June – Thursday 20 June 2019.

The Royal Drawing School was founded in 2000 by HRH The Prince of Wales and artist Catherine Goodman as The Prince’s Drawing School but became the Royal Drawing School in 2014. The school was created to address the need for high-quality drawing teaching in the UK, they offering tuition and resources to art students, artists, children and the public.


The Royal Drawing School runs over 250 different full and part-time drawing courses each year for adults and children of all ages and abilities from three London campuses in Shoreditch, Chelsea and Trinity Buoy Wharf. The school also collaborates with a number of institutions including The National Gallery, The British Museum and the Royal Academy.

Photo copyright – The Royal Drawing School

The Foundation Year is often tailored to individuals planning to go on to study an arts subject at university. The course helps students to develop the making and thinking skills needed for the next level of study and provides a route to a number of creative disciplines.

So if you would like to take a trip to the wonderful world of Trinity Buoy Wharf and look at the work of talented artists, why not make a visit between the 14th June and 20th June. The exhibition is open from 11am – 6pm and admission to the exhibition is free.

Painting by Rollain Muanda

Artists involved are Rebecca Ashford, Joseph Barton, Rowan Bazley, Jessica Berry, Josephine Binney, Bella Blazwick-Noble, Lois Burton, Jojo Cole, Ashleigh Darling, Ella de Peretti, Bruno Diaz, Lily Elgood, Minnie Fawcett-Tang, Kezzie Florin-Sefton, Octavia Greig, Isgard Hague, Nancy Harper, Ruby Head, Jasmine Hewitt, Aisling Kamara, Sophie Langton, Elle Lycett, Fred MacKenzie-Williams, Niam Madlani, Rachel Marston, Ciara Mckenna, Rollain Muanda, Lily Orset, Nancy Pilkington, Virginia Serafini, Emilia Shafiee, Lily Smith, Sophia Sofianou, Lance Soleta, Finn Stevenhagen, Isis Taylor-Hudson, Natasha Thomas, Mollie Thompson, Jessie Urbach, Serena Walker, Scarlett Ward, Purdey Williams, Zhilin Xu (Grace), Onosiokhue Yakubu.

The Royal Drawing School also runs a Foundation Masterclass which is an intensive summer course for young artists aged 16-19, who are thinking about heading to art school. This offers unique opportunity to hone skills, build a portfolio, and experience an art school environment.

For more information about the exhibition and the Foundation course, visit The Royal Drawing website here

Travelling instructions to Trinity Buoy Wharf

Canning Town (Jubilee Line/DLR) is the nearest station, a 10 minute walk from Trinity Buoy Wharf. Take the ‘London City Island’ exit and cross the red bridge, follow the path through London City Island, and continue straight along the road, past the roundabout into Trinity Buoy Wharf.

 

Island History Tapestries at Bancroft Road – Saturday June 1st 2019

Using tapestries to record history is nothing new, you just need to think about the Bayeux Tapestry and many other examples. However, many people would not know that some Isle of Dogs history has been recorded in this creative and decorative way. To find out more it will be worth making a visit to Bancroft Road to the Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives on Saturday June 1st 2019.

The Friends of Island History Trust will be hosting an event entitled Island History Tapestries which offers a rare opportunity to view the Island History Trust tapestries which are a series of wall hangings, designed and created in the 1980s and 1990s by lifelong residents of the Island. The tapestries include 75 hand-sewn pictures depicting moments in the Islands history.

Identity, 1988. Exhibition Flyer, Chisenhale Gallery.

The general idea behind the tapestries was to provide some banners for the popular Island History Open Days which was run by the Island History Trust. However, many volunteers thought that undertaking some arts and crafts was a great way to combat the stresses of the modern day. The Island History Trust Tapestry wall hangings were considered a good example of community arts practice and were viewed at various venues around Tower Hamlets including the Chisenhale Gallery in Bow in 1988.

A photo of the Island History Trust group, including The IHT Curator Eve Hostettler and Ada Price, their first Chairwoman and Bessie Boylett the second, they are shown working on the second 25 panel wall hanging. (c) FoIHT/Bessie Boylett 

The five wall hangings were created over a period of ten years at weekly group meetings starting in 1984. The first one is still held on the Isle of Dogs, in the history room at St John’s Community Centre in Glengall Grove.

Poster Image c) FoIHT/Ada Price 

Each wall hanging is made up of 25 separate panels portraying the Island from its earliest history, right up to its present day. Hop-picking, a favorite working holiday for many an East Ender was a popular theme but the panels give a broad perspective of late nineteenth and twentieth century Island life from Islanders themselves. The wall hangings were always a popular part of the Island History Open Days held at the Docklands Settlement and were always packaged with care ready for the next time they were used.

Photo (c) Friends of Island History Trust/ Sav Kyriacou  http://www.thamesdockers.org.uk/ History room portraits and first wall hanging made in 1984 on display in the FoIHT History room.

When the wall-hangings were complete, the IHT received a grant from Heritage Lottery, to take them to the Textile conservation Centre at Hampton Court. There they were repaired and provided with archival standard packaging. Bancroft Road was given the three larger tapestries and one that featured hop picking to safeguard on the closure of the Docklands Settlement in 2013 and they have been in storage with the frames and two files of material with photographs and information.

Photo (c) Friends of Island History Trust/ Sav Kyriacou  http://www.thamesdockers.org.uk – Today’s volunteers celebrate the work of the Island History Trust as well as being involved in and supporting projects on the Isle of Dogs and further afield.

These tapestries and materials will be available to view on the 1st June and visitors will be able to discuss with the  volunteers of Friends of Island History Trust of their own involvement with today’s Island community as they share the story of the Island History Trust and share their own memories and experience with today’s community.

With the rapid changes on the Island in the 1980s and 1990s, some residents on the Island knew the importance of preserving the history of the Island. This event illustrates that the Island History Trust and the Friends of Island History Trust often found and do find innovative and creative ways to preserve the history of the Isle of Dogs.

Many thanks to Debbie Levett, Secretary for Friends of Island History Trust for providing information and photographs about the tapestries and the event. If you would like to find out more about Friends of Island History Trust, visit their website at http://www.islandhistory.co.uk

Jeroen Swolfs: Streets of the World Exhibition in Canary Wharf – 2nd to 24 May 2019

In May, Canary Wharf presents Streets of the World, a outdoor exhibition of 195 large photo prints dotted around the Canary Wharf estate.

The exhibition is based on the work of Dutch photographer Jeroen Swolfs who spent seven years travelling the world and photographing the street life of 195 capital cities.

Swolfs travelled through the continents of Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe and Oceania to record life in cities around the globe.

One of the inspirations for the journey was to explore about what a street means to society, education, wisdom, youth, experience, happiness, stories, food and so much more.

Streets of the World has already been shown in Dubai and Amsterdam, the exhibition at Canary Wharf will be its UK premiere.

The Changing Face of Trinity Buoy Wharf

Nobody can fail to be aware of the major developments in Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs but a recent visit to Trinity Buoy Wharf suggests that change is even coming to one of the more isolated parts of the area.

Orchard Place has been transformed by the City Island development and gradually the building works are moving near to Trinity Buoy Wharf with the Goodluck Hope development which will provide 804 new homes, commercial units, an education space, and a restored Grade II-listed Orchard Dry Dock.

The impression of isolation that has been a major characteristic of Trinity Buoy Wharf for centuries is gradually disappearing as lorries trundle up Orchard Place.

Keen to pay homage to its history, the name of some of the old firms are now displayed in the buildings and information boards give an interesting history lesson.

The area has a fascinating history, For nearly two centuries the Corporation of Trinity House occupied this site from 1803 to 1988, but even before then in 1760s Trinity House were storing buoys in nearby Blackwall. The site was mainly used for storing buoys and other marine equipment but gradually workshops were added for testing, repairing and making equipment.

The Lighthouse was not built to aid the Thames river traffic but was an Experimental Lighthouse which was designed by James Douglass, the one still standing was not the first one however there was another experimental lantern nearby built in the 1850s in which the famous scientist Michael Faraday carried out tests in electric lighting for lighthouses.

The present lighthouse was constructed in 1864 and was used to experiment with electric light and different coloured lights the results being checked at Charlton across the river. After the second world war the lighthouse was used for the training of Lighthouse keepers.

Outside the warehouse in memory of the work of Michael Faraday is a small shed called the Faraday Effect.

Lined up against the jetty is an old Trinity lighthouse ship which has been turned into a Music Recording Studio.

Old shipping containers have been painted and made into office blocks called Container City .

Fatboy’s Diner, a genuine 1940s American Diner from New Jersey has now been moved in front of the lighthouse.

For the last twenty years, Trinity Buoy Wharf has been developed into an Arts Quarter and a film by Rupert Murray here tells the story of how the location is now a workplace to over 500 people who often work in the creative industries. There are new proposals that includes the development of new buildings to provide additional floorspace, a new riverside walkway and public square.

As usual, I will try to keep up with new developments and chart some of the changes that will transform Trinity Buoy Wharf in the next few years.