The New River Walk in Islington, London, is a man-made park along a stretch of the New River which was originally created as an aqueduct to bring water from the River Lea in Hertfordshire to Amwell Spring by Sadlers Wells.
The park follows the New River as it runs above ground between St Pauls Road and Canonbury Road in Islington is open from 8am till dusk.
It is easily missed, as it winds between residential areas. It is the scenic route from Newington Green to Essex Road and Upper Street in Islington. In summer it’s bucolic and in an icy winter it is a wonderland walk dappled with snow, frost and sun.
There are several graceful weeping willows dipping into the water and many other trees, both junior and mature. The narrow path winds intriguingly enabling the pretence you’re in the actual countryside. It's amazing to think this is a stone's throw from busy London streets.
Yesterday I walked along the river with a friend on our way to the Estorick Gallery Islington which is a collection of Modern Italian Art which opened in London in 1998.
The Estorick Gallery is in a Grade II listed Georgian building and contains six galleries, an art library, cafe and bookshop. The Collection is known internationally for its core of Futurist works, as well as figurative art and sculpture dating from 1890 to the 1950s. Currently there is a superb exhibition of black & white photos entitled The Years of La Dolce Vita: stunning photos from the 50s and 60s of actors and actresses, some of which are iconic shots.
The 1950s and 60s represent a golden era in Italian film, when directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Federico Fellini produced some of their most famous movies. John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Lauren Bacall and Liz Taylor, among other Hollywood stars, also frequented the capital as American filmmakers were lured to Rome by the comparative low cost of its Cinecittà studios, where such epic productions as Ben-Hur (1959) and Cleopatra (1963) were shot.
In the evenings, the focus of Rome’s movie culture — as well as the lenses of its paparazzi — shifted to the bars and restaurants lining the city’s exclusive Via Veneto, the presence of celebrities like Alain Delon, Kirk Douglas and Audrey Hepburn transforming Rome’s streets into ‘an open-air film set’.
The term paparazzo was taken from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960), being the name of a character inspired by a number of real-life photojournalists then active in Rome. These included Marcello Geppetti (1933-1998) from whose astonishing archive of over one million images most of the works on display in the Gallery are drawn — photos that have been seen as transcending the negative public image of this type of journalism. Geppetti has been described as ‘the most undervalued photographer in history’. Juxtaposed with these images of Rome’s real-life dolce vita are a number of behind-the-scenes shots taken during the filming of the eponymous film by its cameraman, Arturo Zavattini (b. 1930): candid photographs which capture an atmosphere of relaxed creativity on the set of Fellini’s landmark film.
Here are four of the photos in the exhibition.