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Guided by Molly

Tapas Version: Exactly what it says on the tin. To which you can add: it's guided by an art historian.

Six Course Feast Version:  William Morris said “History has remembered the kings and warriors because they destroyed.... Art has remembered the people because they created.”

Under the watchful eye of Orwell’s ‘Ministry of Truth,’ Senate House Tower looms over bohemian Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia. In the eighteenth century William Hogarth, that self-appointed champion of British Art, whose modern moral subjects took Londoners by storm, was responsible, together with his friends Rysbrack, Gainsborough, Ramsay and Reynolds for exhibiting their work, in what would be London’s first art Gallery which led later to the founding of the Royal Academy. Constable and Thomas Lawrence followed, together with William Frith, famous for his scenes of Victorian Life, who added a more coloured addition with his personal one, concluding with nineteen children!

The sisters of St. Catherine and their School of Mediaeval Embroidery is long gone but it's tempting to think that the Godfather of the Arts & Crafts movement, William Morris, took lessons from them. He rooted his famous firm Morris & Co. nearby. Jane Morris, Burne Jones, Philip Webb, and 18 others, were joined by members of the PRB, formed earlier, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Holman Hunt & John Millais, designing, blowing glass, working the kilns, making pottery, upholstering, and creating fine tapestries. Morris begun the SPAB, he and C.R. Ashbee saved the Bromley-By-Bow building now in the V & A. The Art Workers formed their Guild, founded by W. R. Lethaby, Walter Crane, and other artisans, meeting every fortnight for lectures where they would eat fish bloater paste sandwiches, drink tea, and call each other Brother.

In Fitzrovia the building for the Omega Workshop founded by Roger Fry. A Youthful Duncan Grant, and Vanessa Bell lived here. Maynard Keynes, acquired part of the Degas art collection in Paris during the war under the cover of secrecy.  Walter Sickert famous for his natural nudes produced his chilling Camden Town Murders. The Horse Hospital, a remnant from the eighteenth century is where Vivienne Westwood put on her Vive Punk in 1992. The Lover of Modigliani, Nina Hamnett drank in the Fitz, Dylan Thomas helped prop up the bar.

That Crème de Menthe sipper Lytton Strachey – once described by Cecil Beaton as a “Limp piece of asparagus” – said “That the people known then and today as the 'Blooms-berries' lived in Squares and had triangular relationships”. This was partially true, but there is so much more...

Let the glaze become transparent. ”When love and skill work together expect a masterpiece” (Ruskin).


The Bloomsbury & Fitzrovia Arts & Crafts walk takes place at 10.45 am on Sunday, July 28

Meet Molly just outside the main exit of HolbornTube


 "London's best city tours" The Telegraph

"the best in the capital" Visit London

"the unfailingly fascinating London Walks..." San Francisco Chronicle


If you can't make one of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Bloomsbury & Fitzrovia Arts & Crafts walk do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Bloomsbury & Fitzrovia Arts & Crafts walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We'll tailor it to your requirements. Ring Fiona or Noel or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at privatewalks@walks.com and we'll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they're good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing. Or indeed a fab present – be it a birthday or anniversary or get-to-know-your-new neighbourhood gift or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that's special. Memories make us rich.


It's not even close