London Sketchbook

Graham Byfield, Author, Marcus Binney, Author, Marcus Binney, Text by (Art/Photo Books)
Graham Byfield, Author, Marcus Binney, Author, Marcus Binney, Text by (Art/Photo Books) St. Martin's Press $30 (96p) ISBN 978-0-312-30821-6
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""London may have lost its position as the world's most populous city,"" writes Binney,""but today it can lay a new claim, to be as diverse and cosmopolitan as any city on earth, perhaps more so."" So begins this pretty book of watercolors that will enchant Anglophiles and initiate those unfamiliar with the city's charms. Along with renditions of the major buildings, Byfield (Singapore Sketchbook) recreates less famous structures--power stations, pubs, warehouses and even escalators in underground stations--to give a sense of London's varied faces. Detailed depictions of elements such as doorways, signs, tile work and rooflines shed light on many subtler design influences in the city's architecture. Binney, who founded the organization Save Britain's Heritage, provides a pithy overview of the entire city and of its various neighborhoods; additionally, his notes, penciled alongside each illustration, offer specific information on the structure or element. The volume is large and elegant, and the carefully chosen views and detailed notes give it the feel of a collected set of painted postcards.
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