An Alphabet of London

‘Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford,’ wrote Samuel Johnson in 1777.

Downing Street
Downing Street

Now Christopher Brown has written designed and illustrated An Alphabet of London, as a sort of sometimes wistful, sometimes celebratory guide to the city he loves. 

Downing Street
The Globe Theatre

Brown studied at The Royal College of Art and later assisted Edward Bawden – considered to be the leading linocut practitioner.

In this book, Brown – who is also senior lecturer in graphic arts at Liverpool School of Art – claims, ‘Apart from some extended holidays, my entire life has been spent living in the city.

St James's Palace and Jubilee fireworks
St James’s Palace and Jubilee fireworks

‘London has changed greatly since 1953 when I was born, and although that has mostly been for the better I can’t help feeling nostalgic about the city of my youth.’

An Alphabet of London then, is a merry romp around the streets of London, old and new, through the medium of linocut prints.

Downing Street
A Beefeater

As well as the playful illustrations which take us through the alphabet – see Boudicca on a Boris Bike – this is also a chance to learn a bit about linocut.

Page spread
Page spread

Brown explains cutting: ‘Using three basic tools – a Japanese knife, a fine V tool  and  U Tool – I carefully cut out and gouge the design out of the lino.

Page spread
C is for…

‘Usually I know which areas I wish to remain black, but the transferred drawing is not simply copied when being cut; the design process continues until the last piece of lino is flicked from the block.’

An Alphabet of London By Christopher Brown is published on 15 March by Merrell.

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  • Molly November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Christopher Brown’s Alphabet of London is a wonderfully personal tour through London and a way to discover the city anew. We are delighted to be featuring his book along side a selection of his prints this week on
    Best wishes,
    The Llustre team.

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