This is the first in a series of strolls exploring Russian connections in the English capital... (Sorry there was no time to write up the Stratford weekend and the many Moscow walks in May - far too much fun! - the book should be out soon - I'll keep you posted.)
June 24th 2011 - We caught one of the monthly open days at Dorich House in Kingston. Three things make this place well worth visiting: first, it is a great example - architecturally - of 1930s modernism, designed by the couple (Richard Hare and Dora Gordine - of whom more anon) who lived in it; the name of the house is a cheesy amalgamation of their first names.
The interesting architectural details include galleries and studios with high, arched windowsand cool, hobbit-style, round doors in the top-floor apartment.Dora Gordine's sculptures are quite brilliantand are definitely a great second reason to visit the house... The third reason is supposed to be admiring Richard Hare's collection of imperial Russian art - from icons to faberge, palekh to porcelain. Sadly, the university had to flog most of it in 1994 when they did up the house (not realising how much more valuable it would be in a few years) and what is left it fairly underwhelming for anyone who's been to Russia. A really good third reason to visit, though, is that you can have a great walk in Richmond Park afterwards.
June 29th 2011 - In Shoreditch again for the opening of a new exhibition of Moscow Conceptualism at the Calvert 22 gallery... still an exciting work in progress when we were there, but a great chat with the curators and an 'interesting energy'... On along Hackney Road to a completely contrasting exhibition of watercolours showing everyday scenes of Moscow Life at the Vilma Gold Gallery...A stroll back along the canal and through the back streets to the delightful Little Georgia cafe on Goldsmith's Row for a bowl of BorschtAfter lunch, I hung out round St Kathrine's Docks trying to find the pub where Peter the Great once had a drink...The view across the river must have changed a bit since Peter was here...But there is still quite a lot he'd probably recognise...He definitely visited the Royal Mint and the area still has traces of his time here... Next stops in Russian London: Lenin in Percy Circus, Herzen, Vorontsov and more. But first, a break to take in more art...