Dr Johnson’s House in London

June 2, 2017

On a recent trip to London I visited 17 Gough Square, better known as Dr Johnson’s House. Samuel Johnson compiled his great Dictionary of 1755 in this tall Georgian building, and I’ve always wanted to visit. As I’m currently writing a column on the subject (ish), the timing was apt.

On my way there I passed a Furnival Street and wondered if it was named after another lexicographer – but that Furnivall has two l’s in his name, so I guess not.

The house is ‘one of a very few of its age to survive in the City of London, and the only one of Johnson’s eighteen London homes to have done so’, Henry Hitchings writes in his terrific book Defining the World (aka Dr Johnson’s Dictionary). Here’s the plaque outside:

Circular plaque on the red-brick wall of 17 Gough Square. The plaque reads:

Upstairs, a stained-glass window of Johnson overlooks the square:

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Photo challenge: Dancer on the door

July 13, 2015

On the Daily Post blog, Cheri Lucas Rowlands has invited WordPress users to share photos of doors as part of a photo challenge. For a break from my usual subjects, I’m joining in with a repost from 2010, just because.

Doors, Cheri writes, can be a source of beauty in the mundane, and in this case I love how an old building with a certain mournful, dilapidated charm was briefly transformed by an anonymous street artist into something quite magical.

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Dancer on the door

November 17, 2010

A ballerina appeared on a door on Dominick Street in Galway last year.

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Sadly, she’s not there any more.

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I think she clicked her heels three times…

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…and woke up somewhere else.

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[Note: I took the fourth photo on 18 November 2010 and edited the post to include it.]

Artful things

September 4, 2009

In some of my spare time I make art. Had I more spare time (or the power of bilocation or biological fission), I would make more art. Lots of all sorts of it. These days, when I can, I mostly create collages or set my colouring pencils loose on a sketchbook, but it would be gratifying to have the luxury of a weekend, a month, or a decade to play around with charcoals, clay, paint, pipe cleaners, and other willing materials. And I’d like to try my hand at stop-motion animation, and stained glass.

Stan Carey - Harry Clarke window

(Window by Harry Clarke, about whom more below.)

These days, though, I am too busy with editing work, volunteer work, writing, and countless other activities, online and off, to afford art more than a few evening hours at a time. No doubt many of you can empathise. The business of a busy world is to become busier in spite of one’s efforts to simplify.

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