London is a fantastic city for walks and free art, and this short walk from Green Park tube station to Hyde Park and back takes in two galleries, a lake, an installation, a summer pavilion and three parks.
Walking through Green Park towards Hyde Park.
The first signs of autumn.
Green Park is still lit by gas lamps.
Photo feature: London: two centuries of gas lighting.
Located on the Piccadilly side of Hyde Park Corner, northeast of the Wellington Arch, The New Zealand War Memorial in London is a memorial to the war dead of New Zealand in the First and Second World Wars.
The memorial comprises 16 bronze “standards” set out on a grassy slope at the east end of the Hyde Park Corner traffic island. Each standard is a cross-shaped metal girder weighing about 700 kilograms (1,500 lb), cast by the Heavy Metal Company in Lower Hutt, and set in a concrete foundation, with surrounds of British slate.
The dark patinated surfaces of the standards are adorned with different texts, patterns and small sculptures, all symbolic of New Zealand, including fern shapes, a manaia figure, plants and animals from New Zealand, emblems of the New Zealand armed forces, and references to authors and artists from New Zealand.
The girders project from the ground at an angle towards the south. The angle is intended to resemble the posture of warriors performing a haka, or a cricket bat playing a defensive stroke, or the barrel of a shouldered gun. The standards have different heights, with the ends cut off at a diagonal so they resemble cross-like grave markers from a distance.
Nine of the standards form in a regular grid pattern, with a tenth as a leader. The six other standards stand away from the main group in a pattern similar to the Southern Cross, and bear LED lights that can be illuminated. The formal arrangement is intended to resemble a group of soldiers in procession, or Māori pouwhenua markers, or Celtic standing stones. [—]
Wellington Arch sits on a large traffic island between Hyde Park and Green Park and was built nearby between 1826 and 1830 to a design by Decimus Burton before being shunted to its current position in 1882–1883.
Dedicated in 2003 to the 102,000 Australian dead of the First and Second World Wars, the Australian War Memorial is located on the southernmost corner of Hyde Park Corner, close to the Wellington Arch.
Wikipedia gives details of the memorial:
The memorial comprises a semicircular curved wall of grey-green granite slabs from Western Australia (Verde Laguna granite from Jerramungup), cut in Australia before being shipped to London. The granite stones are inscribed with the names of 23,844 towns in which the Australian soldiers were born, in Australia, the UK and elsewhere. Parts of some town names are picked out in bolder type, creating the names of 47 battles in which Australia was involved in a larger font. In summer months, water runs down over the names, intended to evoke “memories of service, suffering and sacrifice”. The curved wall is set facing a downwards slope of grass, forming an amphitheatre.
Four blocks bear the crest of Australia and the insignia of the three branches of the Australian armed services, and three other blocks bear dedicatory inscriptions: “Whatever burden you are to carry we also will shoulder that burden (Robert Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia, 1941). // Australia – United Kingdom // 1914 – 1918 // 1939 – 1945”. Three seating blocks are placed in front of the wall.
The Huntress Fountain in Hyde Park’s Rose Garden features a bronze figure of Diana, the goddess of hunting, shooting an arrow.
The fountain was installed in 1906 and made by Countess Feodora Gleichen, the first woman member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.
Rotten Row runs 1,384 metres along the south side of Hyde Park in London, and leads from Hyde Park Corner to Serpentine Road.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Rotten Row was a fashionable place for upper-class Londoners to be seen horse riding.
Rotten Row was established by William III at the end of the 17th century. Having moved court to Kensington Palace, William wanted a safer way to travel to St. James’s Palace. He created the broad avenue through Hyde Park, lit with 300 oil lamps in 1690– the first artificially lit highway in Britain.
The lighting was a precaution against highwaymen, who lurked in Hyde Park at the time. The track was called Route du Roi, French for King’s Road, which was eventually corrupted into “Rotten Row”.
In the 18th century, Rotten Row became a popular meeting place for upper-class Londoners. Particularly on weekend evenings and at midday, people dressed in their finest clothes to ride along the row and be seen. The adjacent South Carriage Drive was used by society people in carriages for the same purpose. In 1876, it was reconstructed as a horse-ride, with a brick base covered by sand. [—]
The Serpentine lake with boathouse and Christo’s The London Mastaba, in the distance.
Rooftop and clouds.
The London Mastaba is a 20-metre-high sculpture floating on the Serpentine based on the trapezoid shapes of mastaba, an Arabic word for bench given to Egyptian tombs and seats found outside homes in ancient Mesopotamia.
The self-funded artwork has been created from 7,506 painted barrels secured to scaffolding and anchored in the lake.
Ice cream by the lake.
The Arch is a six-metre high Roman travertine sculpture positioned on the north bank of the Long Water, in Kensington Gardens presented by the artist Henry Moore to the nation in 1980.
The Arch is made from seven travertine stones weighing a total of 37 tonnes. The stones were sourced from a quarry in northern Italy.
Located between Hyde Park and Kensington Park is the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which opened in 2013 and is located in a former 1805 gunpowder store. Admission is free.
Crossing the Serpentine.
Established in 1970, the Serpentine Gallery is housed in a Grade II listed former tea pavilion built in 1933–34 by the architect James Grey West.
The Serpentine Pavilion 2018 was designed by Frida Escobedo.
The Serpentine Gallery celebrated the ambitious sculptural works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
A precarious load.
Walking back through the park.
A fine hat.
Setting sun and deck chairs.