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About This Image:
For someone from the states, this piece of classic London architecture seems impossibly old and by proxy of great importance. And yet this little shop on Portsmouth Street is primarily considered of interest only because of its literary connection to Charles Dickens. Dickens is of course the great English author of the 19th century.
Predictably, I first laid eyes on The Old Curiosity Shop years ago on a classic London walking tour. I don’t remember what was said about the landmark, but I’ll never forget how it as dwarfed by the larger, newer, brick buildings that surrounded it. It felt like a little island of classic London marooned in the midst of a sea of the modern. That made as much of an impression on me as the possible connection to Charles Dickens.
You only realize where this little shop really rates in the pantheon of ancient architecture in Britain when you start trying to discover something as simple as what architectural style it represents. My first guess was that the simple timber framed building was probably medieval in style even though it was built somewhat after that period of history. Of course, with epochs, there are typically no concrete dividing lines. And for something as simple as this little shop, it was probably not afforded cutting edge architecture. So, I’m sticking with my assumption it falls in line with the medieval period in style unless someone can offer a stronger argument.
In fact, this classic London landmark did start out life rather humbly. It was built circa 1567 from re-used timbers of old sailing ships and. It functioned as a dairy and was a gift from King Charles II to one of his mistresses. The story may be interesting but at the end of the day, it was never a palace. And the people who saw it newly built in the 16th century probably never envisioned this little building would still be standing in the 21st century, did they?
There’s some question whether or not Charles Dickens really envisioned this particular shop as the antique shop central in his novel, The Old Curiosity Shop. Soon after the novel was published, however, the owner of the shop proclaimed it was in fact the Old Curiosity Shop and it has been regarded as such for well over a century now. Whether true or not, it is one of the buildings that stood in Dickens’ time. In fact, this little shop has stood through the Great Fire of London in 1666, the blitz of World War II, and through the contemporary redevelopment of Westminster and Holborn. I think that certainly rates it now as a landmark piece of Classic London if nothing else does!
When I was working on this particular classic London artwork, I wanted an element that conveyed some sense of the passing years, not just the contrast of the old and new architecture but something else central to the identity of London. And for me, that character is the weather itself. I have always regarded the rain as a part of London. Granted usually my day to investigate galleries and museums, but when I think of walking in the rain in London, it’s like I’m there again. And how many, many times must the rain have fallen on the Old Curiosity Shop in the centuries that this piece of classic London has stood?
Does this remind you of a classic day spent in London? Or maybe it speaks to the side of you that loves Dickens and classic English literature? I would love for you to take a moment to share what speaks to you most in this London art print?
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…thanks to Facebook and finding Mark E Tisdale, a special print will become a memory in my parents’ home this Christmas…
Received the print today! It’s gorgeous! I really can’t thank you enough.
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I just dropped it off at the framing shop on Friday and had a look at it…. it’s absolutely beautiful. I purchased it to replace a painting of Paris and to be honest the way that you have captured Dublin on the river at night makes it look more beautiful than Paris. Beautiful photo, you are very talented.
Just wanted to let you know, for Christmas, my sister got me a GIANT photo from you of the mountains and sheep in Connemara (Ireland).
It is really beautiful and I love it. Gotta have it matted and framed next.
The Lighting in this print is stunning! Thank you!
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Nice surprise for her finishing her first year and doing amazing!
Yes! I got my tractor print in the mail today, and I love it! It is beautiful. It is vibrant and ….perfect… and I am going to frame it and hang it asap! I love it. Thank you Mark! You are an amazing photographer.
Love it… the print arrived today and looks awesome!!
Now I just need to get a suitable frame and get it up where it can be enjoyed.
I treated myself last year to two of your lovely works of art. The telephone box & the Scottish cottage on a country lane. Love them!
DeAnn just called me so very excited, she received the picture. She thinks it’s just beautiful.
Thank you so much and I’m sure you will be hearing from her too.
I framed the picture of our house and put it under the tree for Sid.
He loved it!
I ordered a framed print of the Macon County Clinic and Nurses house . My mother… worked there from 1956 until the clinic closed. Now 80 and retired for many years , she often talks about the many people she remembers from those days, My brother and myself were all born and treated there by Dr. Fred and Dr. Tom. We thought the framed picture would be something she would get great joy from and probably stir a few memories. It is a beautiful artwork and looking forward to seeing her face when she gets this gift on Christmas. Thanks for the Great GIFT!!
Originally I purchased these cards to give for Easter, but they are so beautiful I decided to frame and keep them for myself.
Mark Tisdale’s work is excellent.
The cards are very high quality. Images are sharp and colors are vibrant!
I got my print today, thank-you so much.
I love it!
Got my print today – Beautiful! Thanks! : )
Can’t wait to get it framed and on the wall.
It’s simply beautiful! The colors are so vibrant and powerful.
It was my father’s birthday present. Thank you Mark. It brought back wonderful memories for him.
My daughter sent me this print as an early Mother’s Day gift. It arrived today and I love, love love it!
Received my red phone box cards today. Thank you – they are lovely. Look forward to purchasing from you in the future.
I love my “Toomers Drugstore” and “Auburn Supper Club” prints from Mark. He does an amazing job and every painting has detail and awesome colors. His Auburn prints are a must have for fans that love Auburn as much as I do!
I took the photograph of the house to be framed and the young lady who helped me choose the mats and frame was so taken with the photography that she asked for your name so she could see more on the web.
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I’m Mark Tisdale, a Georgia artist whose journey started with a love of travel and a desire to capture the beautiful places I saw. It’s a path that has changed my life in ways I never would have imagined. I feel quite fortunate to spend my days doing something I love. I have been working as an artist for over a decade and I have supported myself as a full time artist for eight years and counting.
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