When I was little, I remember my dad putting my cousins and I in the car to drive us "up west" to see the Christmas lights in all the windows across London's department stores. Its something I still like to check out and look forward to seeing all the different interpretations and now also with smaller independent retailers who collaborate with artists. My favourite display of this year is Simon Costin's cardboard 19th Century London city scape for the current Charles Dickens exhibition at The Museum of London.
You can see the fine detail of the doorways and brick work by going to have a look by day light or visit at night when its illuminated by LED lights with flickering wood fire glows from the slatted windows.
‘My intention is to create a fantasy vision of London as it would have been glimpsed by Dickens on his nocturnal wanderings through the city. His essays are extremely evocative and I am using the text as my starting point and things will grow and develop from there. He has said that he felt like a child in a dream, ‘staring at the marvellousness of everything’. It is that marvellousness that I want to recreate’.
This really is a marvel, for its own magic quality and also for the wonder of how long it must have taken to make when I know the reality of how labour intensive this craft is!!! Andy Hillman and I always used to joke about suffering from "scalpel finger" after a few days of creating any cardboard sculptures and I think its probably safe to bet this particular installation would have required a few weeks of scalpel endurance!! Its absolutely brilliant and a destination for your festive outings........... or New Year walks as it will still be up until February.
Read more about the project and see photos of Simon making the diorama in his studio at http://spitalfieldslife.com.