Rumpus in Kingston

Nude beginnings: Riverside Kingston development to pay tribute to Kingston photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge

5:00am Friday 24th January 2014 in News By Ross Logan, Chief Reporter []

Images taken by Eadweard Muybridge could soon be a familiar site along Kingston riverside.


The Riverside Kingston development this week. Muybridge’s images will be seen on the large white panel to the right of the picture

Artistic images of women posing nude for legendary photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge could soon become a familiar sight along Kingston’s riverside.

The company behind the new Riverside Kingston restaurant development, next to Kingston Bridge, has announced bold plans to commemorate one of the town’s most famous sons by emblazoning its building with stills from his Human Figures in Motion project, carried out in the mid 1880s.

The oversized black and white photographs would greet visitors coming into town from Richmond over Kingston Bridge, as well as those travelling along the Thames.


Developers Canadian and Portland Estates hope that in time, the projection will become as recognisable a landmark as David Mach’s Out Of Order phone box sculpture in Old London Road.

Kingston-born Eadweard Muybridge broke new ground in photography

Greg Miles, head of promotions and animation at Canadian and Portland Estates, said: “Eadweard Muybridge was born and died in Kingston and became a pioneer of photography and the moving image.

“His work is internationally recognised and contributed hugely towards the development of film, which has a vast influence over our lives.

“Kingston owns one of the world’s largest collections of Muybridge’s images and we believe this is something Kingston should celebrate and we wanted to honour the beauty and importance of his work on our building.”

Phase one of Riverside Kingston is due to open in April, bringing five popular restaurant chains to the town for the first time – Cote, Busaba Eathai, CAU, Comptoir Libanais and Bill’s.

Muybridge is credited with revolutionising still photography through his famous motion sequence technique, which paved the way for motion pictures.

Despite the cultural nod to Kingston’s heritage, Kingston Society chairman Jennifer Butterworth was not impressed by the proposal to beam his work across the Thames.

She said: “What is being proposed will only make bad worse.

“It doesn’t matter if the ladies are nude or not.

“We objected to the Riverside sign [on top of the building] and we object to anything more making this site look like a cinema show.”

[end of article]

** So, several years after a major retrospective of Muybridge’s images graced the walls of the Tate Britain art gallery, his photographs are still objected to on the grounds that they represent a “cinema show”. Not only are we still fighting the prejudices against film as art, we’re back to the 1970s struggle to have photography recognized as art. It might not be appropriate to have these pictures on the site suggested, but the objectors will need to come up with some better reasons for rejecting the internationally renowned work of Kingston’s famous son.

Stephen Herbert

Iconic Kingston mosaic needs help

Linder Rothery and Ania Zawisza. Photo: Surrey Comet

News today from the Surrey Comet

Help needed to restore iconic Kingston mosaic
10:30am Monday 5th December 2011
 by Claire Buchanan

An iconic mosaic inspired by the work of photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge is being repaired by volunteers – but they need your help to finish the job. More than 15 volunteers have started work on the Castle Street mosaic, which fell into disrepair when tiles dropped off earlier this year due to the expansion and contraction of the wooden backboard. The helpers at Save the World Club, who designed and produced the piece, are now laying down tiles on mesh to recreate the mosaic by Kingston-born Muybridge, which they hope to make even better. Mosaic artist Kim Porrelli said: “It’s become a heritage thing in the town centre and it’s such a shame and we want to put it back. “We want Kingston to look as fantastic as it can, particularly before the Olympics.”

The mosaic, which consists of seven 8ft by 4ft sections, is expected to take 280 hours of work to complete and a further 10 days to mount it. Secretary of Save the World Club Mary Graham said the work could cost up to £3,000, due to the specialist skills needed for the instillation. She said: “We do not have that amount of money spare in our funds – we need help urgently to raise this money.”
Kingstonfirst has helped install the original mosaic and have donated money towards its repair. Town centre manager Ros Morgan said: “The mosaic reflects a key element of Kingston’s heritage, on a major pedestrian route into the town, and we would urge people to support its restoration so that it can be speedily reinstalled.”

Ania Zawisza, Kim Porrelli, Linder Rothery and Mary Graham. Surrey Comet

St Luke’s School pupil Ellie Felicien, 11, won a competition to make a Muybridge-style design for the mural, which was unveiled in 2004. Muybridge was the pioneer of moving photography, inventing his famous machine called a zoopraxiscope.
The club is looking for donations and for volunteers to help rebuild the artwork.
To donate text MUYM11 £ (amount) to 70070.
To get involved email

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Central America albums online

Volcano of Agua. A view of clouds. (Boston Athenaeum)

The Boston Athenaeum has put all 202 photographs from its 2-album set of Muybridge’s views of Guatemala and Panama, online. Many of these images have never been republished in printed form, so this is a very welcome development.

Central America album. (Boston Athenaeum)

Eadweard Muybridge • Central America • 1876

Eadweard Muybridge Photograph Album of Central America, Vols. I and II
Eadweard Muybridge (Kingston, England 1830 – 1904 Kingston, England)
Central America. Illustrated by Muybridge, 1876
San Francisco, California: Eadweard Muybridge, 1876
Boston Athenæum purchase, Appleton Fund, 1878

From the website:

“In February 1875, Eadweard Muybridge boarded a Pacific Mail Steamship Company vessel in San Francisco bound for Central America, where he would photograph the localities served by the company’s freight and passenger business. It was expected that Muybridge’s photographs, when distributed and shown at international exhibitions, would encourage tourism and investment. He traveled for nine months to Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador. His final stop was Guatemala, where he spent six months documenting its principal towns and coffee plantations.

Champerico. Hauling a Launch on shore. (Boston Athenaeum)

Back in San Francisco, Muybridge enhanced the photographs, adding cloudscapes and moonlight to images already featuring towering volcanoes, tropical vegetation, Spanish-colonial architecture, and indigenous populations. Muybridge made a number of albums for presentation to the appropriate people. The Boston Athenæum’s two bound volumes contain a total of 202 photographs, some are signed Muybridge on the negative and are the most complete record of Muybridge’s Central American journey.”

The time-frozen waves in this photograph indicate that short exposures, already experimented with in 1872 or 73, were coming within Muybridge’s technical reach.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Fish Tank Tuesday

This video on YouTube, Fish Tank Tuesday, captures  some of the recent nocturnal moving image projections in Muybridge’s birthplace, Kingston. The goldfish swimming on the front wall of the Rose Theatre are just yards from Muybridge’s childhood home (the building on the left in the top photo, now a computer shop).

On the evening that this video was taken, just across the street from what was, in the mid 19th century, the dwelling of the Muggeridge household is a giant silhouette of a running deer – a moving image produced from Muybridge’s own animated pictures.


And this animation alternates with a sequence showing the frozen successive positions of a galloping horse, advertising the current Muybridge show at Tate Britain, and a poster for the exhibitions of … Muybridge in Kingston. Strange to think of the young Edward in the 1830s and 40s, peering out of those windows at no.30 but never, in his wildest flights of fancy, imagining that in the distant future the immortal results of his own life’s work would be visible as giant, glowing, living pictures on the walls of the buildings in his own hometown High Street.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Piercy Conner: Muybridge design for 2012 Olympic Village

Piercy Conner design

‘Muybridge’ mould ready for the precast concrete to be cast

The running man pattern on Piercy Conner’s facade for the 2012 Olympic Athletes Village was developed by ‘re-animating’ Muybridge’s photographs before capturing the individual frames to form an intricate pattern. This pattern is reproduced as fine grooves in the concrete cladding panels.

linear representation of the movement

Original sequence from Animal Locomotion

Piercy Conner Architects & Designers, London.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Muybridge images to improve Kingston riverside building

News from bdonline website:

Victorian artwork takes pride of place on Kingston’s riverfront.

“Haworth Tompkins has won planning permission for a £9 million mixed-use scheme to revamp and extend a monolithic brown brick 1970s building on the banks of the Thames near Hampton Court.

Located in the middle of a flood plain, the original Bishop’s Palace House by the Raymond Spately partnership sits in the town centre of Kingston upon Thames adjacent to the grade II*
listed Kingston Bridge.

Originally designed as a supermarket, the unpopular building is on a 0.5ha site thought to have once hosted a medieval palace. It currently houses a river-level car park, offices, retail units, a nightclub and a pub.

Its new owner, Canadian & Portland Estates, commissioned Haworth Tompkins in 2008 to transform and extend the building by breaking down its mass, improving views across, around and through the site, and creating river terraces.

Project architect Jim Reed said: “Despite strong local support for the scheme, technical issues such as flooding and archaeology threatened to derail the project right up until the last moment.”

Reed’s 9,300sq m scheme mixes a variety of materials, including steel framing, curtain wall glazing, perforated metal, stone and even a planted “green” wall to express the new functions of the building.

Cafés and restaurants will replace the car park, while a rooftop pavilion offers views across the river and a large screen in the middle of the riverfront facade will show images from the work of local Victorian artist Eadweard Muybridge.

The project will be built in two phases to accommodate its current occupants. Work is due to start on site in autumn 2011.”

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Hiraki Sawa’s video ‘Migration’ on show

Automatic Cities, Joseph Cornell, and Marcel Duchamp at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Exhibition review by Kraig Cavanaugh

Contemporary Competing with History

Several major league and emerging artists from America and abroad as well as an artist collective from Cuba are presented together in this exhibit focusing on architecture as inspiration and subject for art. …

Featuring work by: Rachel Whiteread, Matthew Ritchie, Julie Mehretu, Sarah Oppenheimer, Ann Lislegaard and…….


Droll videos by Hiraki Sawa are also included in the exhibition. One entitled “Migration” (2003) features the stop-action figures that were originally photographed by Eadweard Muybridge that have been reanimated as tiny characters traveling around someone’s small apartment. A longhorn bull, a camel, and an elephant, along with nude men and women, walk and trot across the kitchen counter, along window mullions, and over the kitchen floor like trails of ants.

As proposed by the exhibition curator, a touchstone inspiration for the artists in Automatic Cities is Marcel Duchamp’s famous mini-museum in a suitcase entitled “Boîte-en-valise,” and it is on also on display in an accompanying exhibition Museums in Miniature: Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell. Duchamp’s suitcase contains sixty-eight miniature reproductions of the artist’s most famous works including “Nude Descending a Staircase” and “Fountain.” Also included in the boutique exhibit are five unique artworks by Joseph Cornell, most notable being his “Pink Chateau”(1944).

…. the majority of the [contemporary] work included makes a simple impression of being capable but not overly terrific.

Through January 31, 2010
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego 700 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA

More from Kraig Cavanaugh here.