Today I am in the London Library. It is one of my main working points whilst in London. Being a members only Library, one is given access to floors of books from ancient to present. Mingled in the old multi-storied manse on St. James Square are little corners with desks to be nabbed and claimed for the day.
The interior is like a rabbit warren and one can easily spend a bit of time following an alley way of books to come upon a small staircase not before discovered, climb it and you will see a wondrous surprise: more books and possibly, if lucky, another hidey hole to claim. The very top floor being the members lounge where one can speak out loud, if needed, and have a coffee or tea and lounge about.
I rather think of this place as the fictitious Diogenes club of the Sherlock Holmes tales. For other than the strangers room (or in our case the members room in the attics) talking is frowned upon. In the magnificent reading room which takes up the entire floor on one level is rather like a private library in a country house, with multi-storied hope ramparts reached by wrought iron stairs and lined with periodicals and more books. Not only is talking frowned in this room, but NO electronic devices of any kind are allowed. It is in this room where I sit and most imagine myself in Edwardian England with nary a mobile or tablet to distract the fantasy.
One is also lucky in the location, as St. James Square is a convenient location to many things I love in London. A quick walk to the National Portrait Gallery, endless private galleries and wonderful shops and restaurants. And of course St. James, Piccadilly, is a wonderful old church that not only offers lovely free concerts in the afternoon, but has a cafe attached with outdoor seating in a lovely courtyard. I have just returned from there where I was privileged to hear the Academy Cello Ensemble. It was breath-taking and a wonderful break. Here is the program they did:
Schubert arr. Richard Birchall - Three Songs from Schwanengesang
Wagner arr. Richard Birchall - Prelude: Tristan und Isolde
Villa-Lobos - Bachianas Brasileiras, No.1
Eicca Toppinen - Romance
I am also lucky in the closeness of the library to my club, which is but a few blocks over on Park Place. I now have structured my working day to be split betwixt the two places. Thank goodness for the technology that now allows much of my work to be done digitally.
I shall close today with a few random shots from where I am today in my beloved Library. Hopefully, work shall follow. I have a February deadline for at least one piece, but how is one meant to work when one is so surrounded by lovely lazy distraction. Perhaps I should become a performance artist and my one piece shall be the lifetime I shall live reading in comfortable drawing rooms, listening to enthralling concerts, having coffees with friends in cold London streets, and Summers lolling on beaches and grimy from the garden. Now, to find a benefactor to purchase this piece. Until next time, dear friends.
I lived as a 1950s housewife for three years. Click below to see that project.
Donna Davis is a painter and printmaker living by the sea. Her work deals with women, history, the seashore, and moments in time. Follow along to see the process behind the product.