Standing inside Tower Bridge at the Miroslav Sasek exhibition with a broken umbrella in hand, soaking wet shoes and grey views of fog and rain as far as the eye could see, it’s impossible to disagree with the children’s author: This really is London.
Czech author and artist Miroslav Sasek’s children’s book This is London was first published in 1959, however none of the original artwork still exists. In recreating 29 prints from the book, Tower Bridge has brought Sasek’s eye-catching illustrations and quirky prose to life, against the befitting backdrop of modern day London.
“It’s basically a large scale version of the beloved children’s book,” curator Christopher Earlie says. Alongside colourful, engaging pictures, the real talent is in Sasek’s perspective of London, he continues. “Sasek looks at London from the point of view of a visitor and although his comments are brief they’re really quirky and insightful and act as a bit of a universal travel guide.”
Though written in the ‘50s Sasek’s depiction of London is still relevant today. Among the most poignant observations are images of meticulously dressed Londoners clutching umbrellas and lining up at bus-stops in an orderly fashion, as well as illustrations of the generic London pub and the parks. “Everything that existed when Sasek wrote the book still stands today because of the subjects he chose. He shows ideas rather than just places and that’s why it’s so appealing to kids and adults.”
This is London is exhibiting in the West Walkway of Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Rd, SE1 2UP, until March 2014. Admission: adults: £8 / children: £3.40 / under 5: free. Phone: 020 7403 3761 http://www.towerbridge.org.uk