No. Not the band but the area of London. Walthamstow. The Far Eastern end of the Victoria Line. Not difficult to get to from where I live. Ealing. The most western end of the Central Line. But a long way nevertheless.
I went in order to make the typical Polish Londoner’s pilgrimage to the William Morris Gallery, which had put on an exhibition about the Young Poland Art movement, which is closing on Sunday. I have been meaning to go since it opened, and suddenly realised that today was my last chance. It meant rearranging one or two plans- but it was worth it.
The exhibition shows the work of Polish secession or Art Nouveau artists. When I was in Kraków a couple of years ago I managed to see some of it there and was utterly enthralled by the colours and designs. I’m not going to give a critique here. I know too little about it but I know what I like. So a few pictures as well as a few thoughts.
This is taken straight from the gallery website:
“Art historian Julia Griffin introduces the Polish Młoda Polska (Young Poland) movement and the work of its foremost representative, the artist, designer and writer Stanisław Wyspiański (1869–1907).
Like William Morris, Wyspiański was a polymath, whose prolific output included church and domestic interior decoration. He designed patterns, wall paintings, stained glass, furniture, textiles, book arts and stage sets. Wyspiański was instrumental in the foundation of the Polish Applied Arts Society (1901), the equivalent of Morris’s Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society.
Drawing on nature and the folk tradition, Wyspiański played a significant part in developing a distinctive national style, characterised by a ‘return to crafts’. The talk will focus on his famous decorative scheme at the Franciscan Church in Kraków (1895–1904), which invites comparisons with the work of Morris & Co.”
I couldn’t have put it any better
The exhibition was interesting and it was nice to find out that it was the best attended exhibition that the Gallery had ever had.
And what I found the most moving were these paper Christmas decorations. Moving because when we got married my husband brought some over from Poland that his grandmother had made. The lobster in particular was very similar.
But apart from the exhibition the day itself was quite exhilarating. As I said it was a long way – two trains and a bus. I’m always a bit uneasy about getting buses in unknown areas but the information desk in Walthamstow was very clear and friendly. I got on the right bus and then promptly missed my stop. It seemed to be ages to the next one so I waited for the bus back. And just as well or I would have missed this most unusual hearse
There was quite a cortège following. Four black cars with matching blue green plumes. I wonder who “Dad” was?
When I finally got to the gallery I was confronted with this rather strange sculpture.
And then the house and grounds. I want to go again especially to see the garden in a different season. Though today the artichokes looked magnificent against the sky:
On the way in, or on the way out, there is an enormous mural -is it of William Morris?
On the way back I stood at the bus stop for a while. Long enough again to take in my surroundings.
I found this sort of house painting very cheerful. And then I got back to the station to see this super sundial. Strange but true!
I am so glad that I can now go exploring again. The weather was perfect for this sort of thing, everyone had smiles on their faces, nowhere was crowded – I had a magnificent day.
What makes a good day for you?