Art Nouveau – so lovely!

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How do you create the special atmosphere that Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair is known for? Well, first you start with a stunning vintage venue. The Art Nouveau grandeur of The Old Finsbury Town Hall where we hold our fair is an inspirational space in which to shop some of the finest vintage in the UK.

It was opened in 1895 by the Prime Minister of the time, Lord Rosebury, and its iconic features like the iron canopy at the front with stain glassed sign, likened to the Tiffany lamps that were popular in the early 20th century, have earned it Grade II listed status. Many glamorous events and weddings are still held in the halls today and a number of famous punk, rock and opera stars are rumoured to have been married there.

Even after several years of coming to The Old Finsbury Town Hall, we’re still bowled over by its stunning architecture and interior. Especially the stunning angels overlooking us in the Great Hall. If you’re as smitten us, here are four other Art Nouveau buildings in London to be in awe of:

  • Harrods’ Food Hall. If you can take your eyes away from the delectable culinary delights on offer at the 180-year-old department store’s food hall you’ll find a visual feast on the ceiling. It was built in 1902 and the elaborate peacock tiles were created by Royal Doulton.
  • Whitechapel Gallery. It may now house some of the best modern art but this East End gallery was designed in 1897 by Charles Harrison Townsend, who built several of London’s Art Nouveau buildings. Grand plans for domes and mosaics on the outside were never added due to lack of funding but the inside has some lovely features such as the wrought iron stairs and decorative glass panelled door to the old children’s library.
  • The Black Friar Pub. This is not your ordinary drinking hole. An arched recessed fireplace depicts singing friars in bronze above it, another room is grandly lined with marble and alabaster and further artworks are made in mosaic. It even dismays classic pub name font signage in favour of an Art Nouveau style.
  • The Horniman Museum. Also worth a visit for the curiosities inside but this is another example of the work of Charles Harrison Townsend. Its features include a decorative clock tower with a round turret at the top and a prominent mosaic on the front of the building representing ‘humanity in the face of circumstance’.

And the rest of the magic formula for an atmosphere of vintage glamour? You’ll just have to come along to the next fair on 22nd June to find out.

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