London

London – William Blake

The great 18th century English poet, William Blake, died 190 years ago, today.
Blake was influenced by the ideals of the French and American revolutions and was a non-conformist who was opposed to organised religion. He was buried in the Dissenter’s burial ground in Bunhill Fields.
There is a memorial window to William Blake in Wesley’s Chapel, across the road from Bunhill Fields.

London Wesley Chapel 1

London – Phillip

Arthur Phillip (see previous post) was born within earshot of the bells of Mary-le-Bow church which makes him a Cockney. He was baptised in All Hallows, Bread Street, which was a Wren designed church rebuilt after the Great Fire of London and demolished in 1878. A monument to Phillip was erected in St Mildred’s, Bread Street in 1932, but this church too was destroyed in WWII bombing. Phillip’s bust was rescued from the ruins and placed in nearby Mary-le-Bow. More details about how Phillip rose from his lowly beginnings to become an admiral in the British Navy can be found in Michael Pembroke’s interesting biography.

Arthur Phillip St Mary le Bow

Chiswick – Foscolo

The Italian poet, Ugo Foscolo, lived in London for the last eleven years of his life. He died in Turnham Green, a suburb adjoining Chiswick, and was buried in the graveyard of St Nicholas, Chiswick – the same resting place as for William Hogarth (see previous blog).
In 1871, at the behest of the King of Italy, Foscolo’s remains were moved to Santa Croce in Florence.

Ugo Foscolo Grave

London – Bloomsbury 13

The artist, William Hogarth, was another important benefactor of the Foundling Hospital (see previous post). He donated many paintings and prints and encouraged other artists to do the same, forming what became England’s first public art gallery. This print, “Gin Lane”, is one of many works by Hogarth that you can see at the Foundling Hospital Museum in Brunswick Square in Bloomsbury.

Hogarth Etching Gin Lane

London – Bloomsbury 12

In the opposite corner of Brunswick Square to the Barrie house is the Foundling Hospital Museum. Founded in the late 18th century to care for destitute children, the museum now has interesting exhibitions about its history, and rooms that honour two important benefactors, Handel and Hogarth.
The great German/English composer, George Frideric Handel, organised an annual benefit concert and left the manuscript of his masterpiece, “the Messiah” to the hospital.
Handel’s music is celebrated on the top floor of the museum, where there is this interesting timeline wheel which connects Handel’s life with other historic events of the period.

Handel Timeline Table