November 14, 2013

$142 million dollars for some Bacon and the oldest football club in London

It is now week six of classes here at Goldsmiths University and the clock continues to tick.  This past Tuesday we Lafayette students went on a particularly interesting set of tours.  (Quick aside – I have to thank both Lafayette and the professor with us in London, Chris Ruebeck, for treating us to tours nearly every week. These experiences have truly enriched the abroad experience.) So, this Tuesday we visited two famous sites in London: The Christie Auction House and The Craven Cottage.

Christie’s is a fine art auction house with its largest branches in New York, Hong Kong, and London.  Walking into this building was a bit of a shock.  As the Brits say, we were in a rather “posh” neighborhood – New Bond Street in London, that is where you will find your Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Tiffany & Co, etc.  The foyer of the auction house was well adorned with various sculptures and paintings.  There was a large center staircase leading into the main auction room on the second floor.  The room was set up like a museum.  However, the room was not only adorned with sculptures and paintings, but rare one-of-a-kind sets of furniture, 500-year-old desks in peak condition, an ancient tea set, gorgeous mirrors, and other one-of-a-kind trinkets.  It feels like standing in a gallery, rather than a “store.”

A record was set at the Christie auction the evening that our class attended our tour.  A painting by Francis Bacon of Lucian Freud sold for £89 million (GBP)…that is approximately $142 million (USD). That is the most expensive piece of artwork ever sold at an auction. Here is the link to the BBC News original article if you are interested in reading up about it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24922106.

The second half of our day was spent at the Craven Cottage.  This is the home stadium for Fulham Football Club.  It has a history dating back over 300 years and the stadium is still in its original state when its construction was completed in 1905.  Well, a few extra seats and certain modern amenities have been added, but, the original state of the stadium is very clear when walking the ground.  Our class was taken around the pitch (the football, ahem – excuse me…soccer field) at ground level. It was quite impressive to see the field from the same point of view that famous players such as Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Bent, and Maarten Stekelenburg see it.  Here is the view:

Fulham Pitch (soccer field) in England

There is also a walkway around the stadium that banks the river Thames: River Thames view from Craven Cottage at dusk

And here is the original Craven Cottage where the players families sit during the matches, the seats are the original wooden ones from the turn of the last century: The Original Craven Cottage

The most impressive piece of the stadium though would have to be the original brickwork. This is what Craven Cottage looks like from street level in 2013 (it is also what it looked like in 1905): The outside, brick structure of Craven Cottage, home of Fulham Football Club in England

That is all I’ve got for this week, I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them!

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