Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The Strand Arcade, detail of stained glass window. The anemone shown here is not an Australian flower. Built in 1891 and typical of Victorian Sydney, the Strand Arcade was named after the famous street in London which was synonymous with fashionable elegant shopping. It would be another fourty years or more before Australian designers and artists realised that instead of copying British and European styles they could make a unique contribution to the world by drawing their inspiration from the local colours, flora, fauna and landscapes.


Norman said...

I react quite differently to remnants of Victorian Sydney such as this, Nathalie. Perhaps it's because in part, but only in part, it takes me back to when I was a child, and much of the best in pre-war Sydney was from "colonial" times. A great deal of that Sydney is now no more. Fortunately the glorious Queen Victoria Building was saved, but only by the skin of its teeth.

I remember feeling fortunate that we'd taken up the best of what Britain offered, and thrown out the class-riddled trappings which made Britain a less desirable nation than our own. I used to modify the old cliche, and argue we had kept the baby and thrown out the bathwater. Today, sadly, political correctness all too often seems to be Hell bent on throwing out the baby, and glorifying the bathwater.

But I'm probably being over-optimistic.

Nathalie said...

I love the idea of glorifying the bath water - don't forget that art lovers will also spend hours admiring the many subtle effects of the dirt ring around the bath tub. Cheers !