British Library & St. Pancras Station

THURSDAY, OCT. 6

Well you win some and you lose some. Having tasted the delicious treat that’s the Georgia O’Keeffe at Tate Modern, I came to British Library the next day to find they’ve just finished with a major Shakespeare exhibition there marking the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

The British Library is another must see for me, having ‘discovered’ it the last time I was in London a few years ago. In their Gallery is their permanent collections of iconic papers and manuscripts that define the history of civilization, like the Gutenberg Bible, The Magna Carta, handwritten score of Handel’s Messiah, Middle Eastern and Asian manuscripts and sacred scripts, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, handwritten lyrics by the Beatles with comic drawings on the side… just to name a few of the 200 items on display, free to the public.

 

Enough of words. Here are some pics of British Library:

wall-of-books

Storeys of rare books:

storeys of rare books.jpg

Looking down to the main area:

main-area

Art works are everywhere. I like this piece by British artist Patrick Hughes, entitled “Paradoxymoron”. His signature style is the changing perspective for the viewer. A ‘normal’ painting from the front:

Paradoxymoron Front View.jpg

The painting gradually shifting to 3D as the viewer moves to the side:

Shifting Perspective.jpg

Finally, from the side, a complete 3D version:

Side View.jpg

Here’s from the other side:

The other side.jpg

 

And how did we get to British Library? We took the Tube from Victoria Station to the St. Pancras Station. You’ve seen the magnificent make-over of King’s Cross Station from my last post, here’s another superb alchemy of the old and the new. St. Pancras Station is an international transportation hub for trains. The scale is massive and the architecture style, Gothic Revival.

st-pancras-station

I’m most impressed by the interior, the public art and the huge bronze sculpture by Paul Day (2007). Here are some pics:

St. Pancras Station.jpg

Public Art.jpg

Bronze Sculpture.jpg

Amazed by how detailed this huge sculpture is. Look at the folds of the clothing:

Details.jpg

Here are some of the vignettes circling below the tall sculpture. Whimsical perspectives:

 

P1020849.jpg

 

perspective

 

 

Saying goodbye to soldiers going to war:

Going to War.jpg

 

… and the modern goodbye. I like this one the best:

P1020853.jpg

***

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Arti

If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

15 thoughts on “British Library & St. Pancras Station”

  1. I love those English train stations! Your post makes me want to go back just to visit a few that I didn’t experience before, and especially Victoria Station that I did. My daughter and I were on our way to London from Scotland when the terrorist bombings of 2005 occurred, sending our train on a detour from King’s Cross. I love the new exterior, and find all these buildings to be thrilling, somehow… I think it must be the excitement of travel, the emotion of good-byes and reunions, and the grand scale of the architecture all combined. Thank you for the tour!

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  2. We really enjoyed the British Library. Sorry you missed the Shakespeare exhibit. Those sculptures are really cool at the train station.

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  3. Thanks for the 3D views of the bookshelves!
    My daughter spent a semester in London a few years ago and systematically went into all the rooms of the British Library. She said it was very satisfying to feel like she’d seen everything on display.

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  4. Wow! Seriously impressed by the station at St. Pancras. Those sculptures are amazing and I loved the details and creativity in each. I would agree — I loved the photo of the last best.

    The panoxymoron is fabulous. I’ve only seen one other, at Oberlin College in Ohio.It’s slightly different, not nearly so “popping out” but the image changing completely. When designed they said the purpose was to look at the world and people from all perspectives and to see the college as a place where those coming from all perspectives can live and work together.

    I can’t imagine how difficult it is to create such a thing. I would be mesmerized by it.

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    1. I saw one of those moving perspective painting in a downtown Vancouver hotel. I took a few pics but now can’t find them. I believe it’s by the same artist. Anyway, the ‘public art’ in London is just amazing. Those stations are magnificent. The old combined with the new, amazing designs. I’m sure you’ll love it. For the first time I took West Jet (Calgary based) and didn’t take Air Canada. And it lands in Gatwick, not that I requested the arrival terminal. Gatwick Express is only 30 mins. train ride from airport right to Victoria Station in central London. That’s why I looked for lodging around there.

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  5. I’d go to St. Pancras just to see the art. That sculpture’s amazing, and you’re right about the beauty of that last vignette. I have some quite amazing memories of Victoria Station. Many decades ago, when we were leaving Liberia, my ex-husband wanted to go across the Sahara by jeep. He took off ahead of me, by about six weeks. We agreed to meet on a certain day, under the clock at Victoria Station. I traveled overland and then by plane and train, and on the appointed day, at the appointed time, there we both were.

    Imagine. No computers, no phones — let alone cell phones — no GPS, no Expedia travel. It was great fun, and a sort of travel that’s becoming increasingly hard to find. But it’s there.

    The library is fabulous. Your mention of Shakespeare brought to mind a photo I have of a storage facility owned by the Shakespeare Oil Company in Kansas. The fellow I talked to didn’t know how it got its name, but I’m determined to find out. Wouldn’t it be great if a discouraged English lit major decided to start the company?

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  6. Linda,

    Wow! That sounds like in a movie! But they usually say they’ll meet at the top, observational deck of the Empire Building. 🙂 Anyway, I look forward to reading your current travel posts.

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  7. Arti,

    I was at the British Library last week because of your post. LOVED the exhibition on the main floor. I had a chance to see Beowolf, which I studied many years ago. Thanks for the recommendation!

    DL

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    1. So glad you enjoyed your visit! The British Library is wonderful, isn’t it? And I’m sure you’ve a great trip. Can’t wait to hear more. Happy New Year!

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