Sunday, 8 October 2017

ms-havachat discovers Burlington House and More

Fabulous exhibition, and doors, and building

Henri Matisse is one of my favourite artists and I've been fortunate to see a few exhibitions showcasing his work. Matisse in the Studio is currently showing at the Royal Academy of Arts in Burlington House is really special and there's so many pieces I've not seen before.

The audio guide was very interesting too, tho of course, several days later, I can't recall a thing LOL.

What my companion and I always find fascinating about Matisse is he can still be considered relatively modern (1869-1954) though for some reason, most of us think he's from a different generation of artists altogether.

After an hour or so enjoying the exhibition, we started our exploration of Piccadilly by walking across the road to the iconic Fortum & Mason. The store started way back in 1707 and soon became the most fashionable place to shop in London, even being good enough for the Royal Family.
Simple, stylish unassuming entrance to the store

Today, the food hall is one of the most popular places in London to visit, and like a Harrods shopping bag, a tin of Fortum & Mason tea or shortbread biscuits is a London-must-do thing. Recommend buying an extra one for you to have on your way home. They are delicious. The cake and chocolate counters on the ground floor are works of edible art!

Cakes and chocolate like no where else

The Fortum & Mason tea tin.
Too pretty to be thrown away.

Famous Fortnum and Mason Christmas Hampers.
Sales people were busy preparing and wrapping
bespoke orders for destinations
near and far.
It's too early for Christmas decorations and hampers but
here they are

We were VERY surprised to find that not one Christmas decoration had a Fortum and Mason logo on it - not even a stamp underneath the £40 tree decorations. We might have bought one or two as gifts had they had the famous logo somewhere on them (note to Fortnum and Mason's Christmas marketing department for next year maybe)

Harrods has it's Bear, and the Bag, and some Christmas decorations have Harrods on them; my cloth Winchester Cathedral is obvious, as are other decorations. Just think they've missed something here.

Anyhow, we enjoyed our look-see, and by now were a little thirsty and peckish so we indulged ourselves with morning tea at Fortnum and Mason.

Tea, Apple and Cucumber sorbet, avocado on toast.

Did you watch the TV Series, Selfridges? I think that's why I have an fascination with these old established retailers in the UK. To think they've been selling pretty much the same thing for hundreds of years is impressive. That ladies were employed in some of the first salaried jobs, that cosmetics made their debut on the ground floor, is a bit nostalgic.

Feeling refreshed, we walked across the road to the Burlington Arcade for a stroll. Reminded me very much of the Strand Arcade in Sydney (tho not as pretty) and many arcades in Melbourne. The Burlington Arcade was built in 1818/19 at the request of Lord George Cavendish, later the Earl of Burlington for his wife, so she and her friends could shop in peace and quiet (London was rowdy and a tad dirty back then).

The Burlington Arcade is 'destination jewellery' of all types. From diamonds to pearls, all types of watches (upper end of the brand scale only) and a few silver shops. The lalique shop borough back a flood of memories!  There was even a Manolo Blanik shop! It was an interesting stroll, and fun to have a photo with the Beadle. However, the retailers on the OTHER side of the Arcade were something else. It reminded me of walking along Ginza or 5th Avenue, just different architecture.

Every exclusive brand is represented with a stand alone store

There were security guards on all shop doors, and some doors were unlocked to welcome customers, but remained locked otherwise. The window displays were elegant, there were no price tags on show (hehehehehe), and in most cases, we observed there were more staff than customers (several shops were empty except for staff)

We throughly enjoyed our day in and around Piccadilly and Mayfair . I wouldn't necessarily put it on the bucket list of things to do when in London, but it's easy walking and helps fill a couple of hours.

I'm sure there's much more to these iconic areas of London, and I wish you well exploring them.

Wish friendship

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