For this Photographing Public Art Challenge, which is hosted by Marsha, I thought I would go with some Italian design. Not Ferrari’s and not clothes from Milan, although that city will be part of the post. We’re going to look at railway design and architecture šŸ™‚

I was trying to think of how to sequence the images in a meaningful way. In the end, I’m going to work backwards in time, so lets start with the Pendolino. Pendolino’s are tilting trains built by Fiat Ferroviaria using technology that was first pioneered in the UK with the Advanced Passenger Train. The idea is to use the tilting technology to allow faster speeds on lines that cannot be made more straight due to terrain. Here are two RABe 503 trains operated by Cisalpino from Zurich and Geneva to Milano, seen in Milano Centrale station…

…These trains entered service from 2008.

A somewhat older example of Italian design were the Settebello trains. These luxury high speed electric units featured observation lounges at both ends of the train. They were built for the Milano to Roma services with stops at Bologna and Firenze. They entered service in 1953 and were finally phased out in 1984. I was lucky to photograph the sole preserved example in Santa Maria Novella station, Firenze, back in 2009…

…Its 1950’s elegance contrasting with the angular modern unit on the left.

Santa Maria Novella station in Firenze is a classic example of Italian Modernism, designed by the Gruppo Toscano. After approval from Benito Mussolini, construction began in 1932 and the station opened in 1934. Here is a view of the main concourse…

Returning to Milano Centrale – the foundation block of this station was laid in 1906 but full construction rights were not awarded to architect Ulisse Stacchini until 1912! – his design resembling Washington Union Station. The Italian financial crisis during the First World War combined with many design changes stalled its construction. Work recommenced in 1925 and the station officially opened in 1931. Here is a shot of the concourse…

…In the modern world, it now seems cramped with the volume of passengers using the station and it’s interesting to compare with open spaces of Firenze S.M.N completed just 3 years later!

Cee is in charge of this week’s Photographing Public Art Challenge and there is a nice selection of subjects in her post šŸ™‚

This week I’m going inside for a visit to Bath Abbey. Lets start with a couple of oft overlooked items. Here is the carved detail on the end of a choir pew…

…It’s wood darkened by centuries of caresses by choristers fingers šŸ™‚

Sometimes made of wood but more commonly of gilded metal, the Lectern…

…often resembles an Eagle – its spread wings carrying the word of God. I sometimes wonder if a Dove might be a more appropriate symbol?

There are many memorials mounted around the walls of the Abbey. Here is a detail of one dedicated to Sir Richard Bickerton…

…The design recalling his lifetime as a Naval Officer. One incident from his career that may be of interest – In October 1776 he took command of the 74-gun third rate ship Terrible; while aboard that vessel he captured the American privateer Rising States on 15 April 1777 while cruising off Ushant.

There are many stained-glass windows around the Abbey. This one, installed in 1949, recalls the crowning of Eadgar – 1st King of all England – in the Saxon monastery on the site of the Abbey…

…Although he became King in 959, the coronation did not take place until 973. It was planned by Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury and advisor to the King. The format has become the basis of our current coronation ceremonies.

Hope you enjoyed my selection šŸ™‚

This week the Public Art Challenge is hosted by Marsha – I should have been posting this yesterday but I’m playing catch-up. Still, hopefully I’ll be back on my Monday schedule for next week šŸ™‚

Lets start with a piece of mystery art – I found this posted on a bridge close to home…

…Made of 25 individual sheets of A4 paper forming a mosaic of an image of people shouting, or screaming maybe? Who it’s by or the why behind it, I have no idea but it makes a change from the usual grafitti šŸ™‚

A more official art piece in the form of the Middlesex County crest which once adorned the brickwork in the centre of the bridge before the North Circular Road was widened…

…Now it is mounted at one end of the concrete wall and the one from the other side of the road is fitted to the opposite end of the wall (The path on the other side disappeared as part of the road widening). It should be natural bronze but grafitti lends it some colour.

I showed one of Sean Henry’s works a couple of weeks back and promised I would show another one. Simply titled Seated Man, 2011…

…Human interaction gives some scale to the figure.

Here’s another seated man…

…A sculpture of ‘Spike’ Milligan – Actor, Comedian and Author (and probably a lot more besides!). Crafted by local sculptor John Somerville and installed in the gardens of Stephens House by The Finchley Society. The work is titled ‘A Conversation with Spike’ – you are encouraged to “Take a seat for a quiet chat with our local comic genius.”