Wednesday, 3 February 2016

This is still London

I needed a treat.  Thankfully one came in the form of some visual delights, courtesy of this recent purchase.



First published in 1959, this is one of a series of successful books created by Miroslav Sasek about cities of the world.  They may have been designed for younger readers but their charm, wit and contemporaneous detail is universally and timelessly appealing.

I sent myself off on a little search to find up-to-date images of some of the subjects featured in these illustrations.

Have things changed much in nearly 60 years?




It's quite comforting to notice that not everything has.

















Perhaps people have changed more...


...or maybe not.


'This Is London' by M Sasek, is available as an updated reprint from Universe Publishing.

17 comments:

  1. Indeed - particularly the one of the Tube

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  2. These are wonderful books, C. I found a remaindered copy of "This is Paris" a few years back and gave it to my niece (who is now an artist herself.) It's lovely to see the London volume.

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  3. The bottom illustration - a very early hipster sighting?

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  4. Aren't they lovely illustrations? It's amazing how accurate they are when you consider his quirky style...am I bad for thinking I wish men still dressed like that... just the men though... ;o)

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  5. TS / SB - glad you like them too, I highly recommend his books.
    CC - the Tube one is a favourite of mine too. There's another in the book showing the inside of the tube train and everyone reading their (collaged) daily papers, it's lovely. There's lots of dark greens and reds and it suddenly triggered vivid childhood memories, I'd completely forgotten that colour scheme until seeing the pic.
    Marie - ah that's great about the Paris book for your niece. I may treat myself to that one too.
    John - my thoughts exactly!
    Yve -Yes they get everything across just perfectly and I wish I could illustrate like that. Re. the men's dress... is that a bowler hat thing you've got going on? ;-)

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  6. My ( and John's) Aunt, who lived in New York, sent me "This is London" and " The Red Balloon" for my birthday when I was around 6. They both had a huge impression on me. Lovely to be reminded of those illustrations and how some things in London remain strangely unchanged. I was in London last week and in amongst all the carnage surrounding Centrepoint the umbrella shop, "Smiths" in New Oxford Street is the same as it has ever been.

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    1. Oh what great books to receive when you're 6 - lovely!
      I know what you mean about the things that are still remain strangely unchanged. You have to just open your eyes, look up, look around and notice the detail, don't you, and there's so much there, almost but not quite swamped by surrounding modernity - looking even more defiant!

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    2. They were wonderful and made a huge impression on me stylistically, plus there was a huge red balloon, the sort no one had ever seen in the UK, under the front cover of the appropriate book ( and yes I did cry when it deflated!) my Aunt had the most amazing imagination and appreciation for lovely things, I still have all the books, jewellery and Christmas decorations she sent from New York, sadly the fantastic clothes ( I spent the whole of the time I watched Mad Men going, I had one of those!) are only in my memory.......

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    3. Sounds wonderful, CA! It must have seemed so exotic at the time - so exciting to receive those things from across the ocean.

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  7. I love the tube poster- got a book with many of those from that period in. Tube posters were cutting edge popular art. The pic of the Cheshire Cheese is good too.

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    1. I think you'd like the books, the graphic style is similar to many of those lovely old tube posters. A great era for illustration.

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  8. Love this book - bought it for my nephew a few years ago. Great photos - nice to see not everything has changed.

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