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Haddon Hall - A Glorious Country Manor House

Visiting historic houses is one of my favorite things to do in England and Derbyshire is a county that  offers an  extraordinary triumvirate of sites; Hardwick's Elizabethan glamour, the palatial splendors of Chatsworth and Haddon Hall, described by Simon Jenkins as "the most perfect English house to survive from the Middle Ages."  The joy of a visit to Derbyshire is that in visiting all three you can see the English country house through a variety of lenses and periods. 
In his definitive tome, England's1000 Best Houses Jenkins goes on to say of Haddon, "It has none of Hardwick's promiscuity or Chatsworth's bombast. It has not changed because it never needed to change". 
Indeed the house has remains in the hands of the Manners family since 1563 and is currently occupied by the Duke of Rutland's brother and his family. As they say on the website it has avoided, " fire; warfare;  family misfortune and changing fashions" and as such provid…

Street Art in London

Given how  much we love street art it's surprising how little I've blogged about it. I take lots and lots of photos but somehow not too many of them end up on the blog. Over the years we've taken several street art walking tours (in London, Berlin and Paris) and I've posted some great work from Lisbon, stencil pieces from Paris and  a variety of the street art  we saw in Rome.

London, like Berlin, is an amazing city for street artists and people come here to showcase their work. The East End is a center for a diverse street art scene with  a combination of commissioned work, graffiti and galleries. There are lots of  amazing pieces through out Shoreditch, Hoxton, Brick Lane and Bethnal Green. We passed new works all the time but some of the older works remain too, they're just too good for someone to tag over them. I particularly love this piece by the Belgian artist ROA, on the side of a recording studio on the Hackney Road. We passed this every day on the bus. I love the way that ROA  repopulates the urban landscape with animals. 
For me this is an icon piece and we saw it several years ago on a street art walking tour which was our first introduction to this part of the East End, interestingly it was almost painted over by the local council although the artist had permission to paint the work, here are all the details from the Guardian. IT's hard to believe a street art work like this could have been so misunderstood even four years ago. Even my mother who is in her late 70's said , "Oh, I like that. is that graffiti? Maybe I do like street art" as we passed on the number 24 bus!
There's so much diversity on the street, from style to form and medium as you can see in the range of stencil paste ups below. As you can see most of these are signed and are often associated with the artists websites where they are selling the work. 
I particularly love the work when it becomes a pastiche and there's an interaction, and perhaps even a competition, between the works as you can see in the Superman piece above. 
The work above is by Ant Carver, you can see more of his work here.
We saw the  large pieces above and below along the canal near the Olympic site.  Overall,  the the canals are a great venue for street art of all kinds. You can see more work by Brokenfingaz here.
After a while you start to see work by the same people, there were a pile of  Dotmasters "rude kids" all around London. Here are two, one we saw in Bermondsey and the other just around the corner from Columbia Rd in Bethnal Green. Kids these days, what can you do?!!
I also ran into  several works but the French artist Zabou, this one was on Brick Lane. Great to see work by a woman on the street. One of the best things about instagram is that if you post something someone will let you know who it's by and you can tag and follow the artists too. Once I saw this one I saw several other works of hers on Hackney Rd and along Regent's Canal.
While ROA repopulates urban areas with giant rodents and rabbits, Louis Masai paints bees to draw attention to highlight colony collapse disorder.
I can't resist the detail above but you need the photo below to give you a sense of the scale of the work. This one is around the corner from the Bethnal Green tube.
This is only a taste of all the art that we saw, including some old favorites like the Banksy now behind glass at the Cargo on Rivington Street. I hope you enjoyed the tour!

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