Barbara Chandler’s Love London: A Review

Barbara Chandler During my whirlwind design trip in the fall of 2011 to cover the London Design Festival, I met a petite dynamo named Barbara Chandler. Over a few days and design events, I learned more about Barbara: that she was a long-time journalist, photographer and a font of knowledge on all things beautiful in London. 

One afternoon, after a fascinating panel discussion (she was one of the esteemed panelists) on design and the New Media at Design Junction Victoria House, we all made our way to an informal gathering on the premises. There I discovered that Barbara had penned a tiny tome, Love London. I was immediately drawn to the cover photograph. One that captured the mysterious, foggy, yet elegant allure of London. I was so excited that she was gifting her book to those of us at the after-panel event. As she autographed my copy, I spoke with her about her passion for capturing and forever preserving these everyday memories of London in Love London.  I was captivated by her charisma and the way her grin widened and her eyes sparkled as she talked about photographing London. I knew that I wanted to devour the photographic essays in the book as soon as I could.

Regrettably, as is oft the case, my personal passions on occasion get subjugated to my busy and chaotic professional schedule. So, with the best of intentions, I had planned to read Love London upon my return home. Not until February 2012 did I actually have the time to enjoy this wonderful photographic walk through London and time (The photographs span a quarter century: mid-to-late 1980s through the first decade of the new millennium.)  I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the beautiful photography that captured anonymous moments often with famous backdrops, but more so, I loved Barbara’s innate ability to partner the most appropriate and inspiring quotes about London with each photograph. I cherish my copy of ‘Love London’ and it has taken its proper place amongst the books, in my library, I treasure for their inspiration and ability to touch my heart and soul. I asked Barbara if I could share some of the photos from her book, and she graciously and generously provided me with dozens to choose from. They are all beautiful and I have selected a few of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Love London by Barbara Chandler

Love London book cover. Photograph Title: From Westminster Bridge (1987). Quote accompanying this photograph: “I know what it looks like when the sun’s setting behind Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament and…in the winter with snow and fog. When I saw this painting I felt how much I love London.” – Letter to his brother Theo, 1875. Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), Dutch painter.

spr 1 Trafalgar Square 1992 Photograph Title: Trafalgar Square (1992). Quote accompanying this photograph: “Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. London is a teenager, an urchin, and, in this, hasn’t changed since the time of Dickens.” – The Guardian, 1987, John Berger (1926-), British writer and critic.

spr 7 Alexander McQueen tribute window Photograph Title: Liberty’s Alexander McQueen tribute window (back cover of book). Quote accompanying this photograph: “I love the English. They have the most rigid code of immorality in the world.” – Eating People is Wrong, 1959, Malcom Bradbury (1932-2000), British author and academic.

spr 6 Abbey Road 1992 Photograph Title: Abbey Road (1992). Quote accompanying this photograph: “Well I’ve never been to England, but I kind of like the Beatles.”Never Been to Spain,(1971), Hoyt Axton (1938-1999), American country music singer and songwriter.spr 4 South Bank 2002Photograph Title: From the London Eye (2002). Quote accompanying this photograph: “ I send, I send here my supremest kiss, To thee, my silver-footed Thamasis.” – His Tears to Thamasis, Robert Herrick (1591-1674), English poet.  imagePhotograph Title: Piccadilly Circus (1986). Quote accompanying this photograph: “[London’s] extraordinary people …are too eclectic to pigeonhole…entrepreneurs, eccentrics, sports heroes and moneymen, poets and rock stars.” – London Evening Standard, November 2010, Geordie Greig (1960-), British newspaper editor.

Barbara has recently launched a venture that brings London home to you. One of my favorite home decor pieces is the upholstery and cushion fabric from the Love London collection on this mid-20th century sofa.  Homes & Garden magazine loves it too – writing: “Is this the coolest couch of the season?”. I say yes! Love it.

Ercol Love London studio couch

Ercole’s Love London fabric upholstered Studio couch.

love london  police helmet cushion

Love London decorative pillows with “Police Helmet” photograph.

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At the Decorating Diva, we believe that creating beautiful home interiors, that resonate on a very personal level, is heavily influenced and shaped by our experiences and exposure to a multitude of inspirations from travel to art to architecture to fashion to beauty to interior design and to those everyday moments that give us pause and takes our breath away.Our mission is to share those beautiful inspirations from the worlds of design, lifestyle, everyday life and travel with you – to share those diverse sparks of creative inspiration and perspective that will undoubtedly ignite, fuel and continuously nurture your inner decorating diva as you embark on creating the home of your dreams – either with the help of a professional interior designer or on your own.