Natural History Museum

The animal and plant decoration on the museum’s exterior

I have posted before about my love for the Waterhouse Building, home of London’s Natural History Museum (The Sculpture of Nature). This time I thought that I would share a few photographs showing the outside of this beautiful and eccentric building, specifically, a few of the many, many animal and plant sculptures and reliefs that decorate its rich exterior.

A Cathedral to Science - entrance to the museum

A Cathedral to Science – entrance to the museum

The ambition of Alfred Waterhouse’s design is breathtaking in its complexity, with literally hundreds of sculptures and gargoyles adorning a façade that is already a busy excursion into the Gothic fairytale-land of the German Romanesque. Such richness of detail could easily have disintegrated into a jumbled mess, yet through careful control of scale and proportion, together with the cohesive force of the strong lines running through the design, Waterhouse never loses the overall coherence of the building.

Iconic landmark - The towers of the museum seen from South Kensington underground station

Iconic landmark – The towers of the museum seen from South Kensington underground station

Primitive reptiles and a dire-wolf? beneath on of the many windows

Primitive reptiles and a dire-wolf? beneath one of the many windows

This magnificent feline is high up, against one of the building's central towers

This magnificent feline is high up, against one of the building’s central towers

A whole menagerie of beasts and gargoyles look down on visitors

A whole menagerie of beasts and gargoyles look down on visitors

This lion, like all the other beasts, was modelled from Waterhouse's own drawings

This lion, like all the other beasts, was modelled from Waterhouse’s own drawings

The building also has more subtle decoration, such as this fox and birds over the entrance

The building also has more subtle decoration, such as this fox and birds over the entrance

Smaller creatures are represented on tiles such as these

Smaller creatures are represented on tiles such as these

Apart from the animal in the roundel, note the birds in the rooftop ironwork

Apart from the animal in the roundel, note the birds in the rooftop ironwork

The famous pterodactyl

The famous pterodactyl

I fell in love with this building on the day I first saw it and in the decades since I have only grown to appreciate it more. If you have a chance to visit London then please make a trip to the Natural History Museum one of your priorities.

(As always, thanks are due to husband Alex for helping to put my thoughts into words.)

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Crackington Haven

The rocky little cove known as Crackington Haven is the nearest spot on the North Cornwall coast to my home. Alex and I paid a visit to this delightful spot a week or so ago to watch the sun go down.

This area of the coast is notable for the dramatic twists and distortions of the rock strata. These rocks are, in fact, known to geologists as the “Crackington Formation” and were originally sediments laid down on an ancient ocean bed before being roasted, folded and overturned in the much later volcanic event that gave Cornwall its granite core. It is the erosion of these rocks that gives this coast its spectacularly rugged look.

Here are a few of our photos.

The little cove of Crackington Haven is much loved by tourists

The little cove of Crackington Haven is much loved by tourists

The cliff with its jumbled strata, lit with the evening sun

The cliff with its jumbled strata, lit with the evening sun

The twisted layers of rock are clearly visible in this shot

The twisted layers of rock are clearly visible in this shot

A sunny but very cold evening in North Cornwall

A sunny but very cold evening in North Cornwall

The eroded rocks of Crackington

The eroded rocks of Crackington

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There is a narrow band of water suitable for surfing between the bands of rock reaching into the sea

There is a narrow area of water suitable for surfing between the bands of rock reaching into the sea

Crackington-10

Lichen growing just above the high tide level

Lichen growing just above the high tide level

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After sunset

After sunset